Monday, May 18, 2009

False equivalency

The Conservatives, experiencing blow back from a wide variety of media opinion against their latest salvo of negative ads against a Liberal leader, appear to be on the defensive. In their effort to justify their ads, one of their advocates is offering up a few Liberal ads to justify their ongoing campaign. Both Liberal ads they offer, however, were run during the confines of the 2004 and 2006 election campaigns, respectively. They're even twittering today about the Libertarian Party attacking them!

If we must state the point, once more...

The Conservatives, as we all know, have taken the art of the negative campaign to unprecedented levels in Canadian politics. They do virtual perma-campaigns of character assassination. In each of the two recent Liberal leaders' cases, the ads have started up almost immediately upon assumption of the leadership. The campaign against Mr. Dion lasted the length of his tenure as leader. And now we're being subjected to the same shtick once again. There is no comparison between the sheer weight of such campaigns and ads run during the confines of an election campaign. The difference lies in the quantity and frequency, to state the very obvious point. But since they persist in equating the efforts, there it is.

The "we all do it" thing is frequently peddled but on this topic, it's tough to find the realistic comparison. Speaking of which, maybe our early childhood learning can help us all out here...

Update (10:00 p.m.): Email:
The first thing that struck me when I looked at the 2004 election ad is that it is less of an attack ad than an informational one. Consider: yes, Harper would have sent Canadian troops to Iraq; he has spend billions on military equipment (but not aircraft carriers); he's done everything to undermine Kyoto just short of scrapping it; so far health care is alright but we have had tax cuts which might just create the financial problems needed to say health care needs to be rethought; so far a woman's right to choose is safe but if he had a big majority .....; and he did work with that proverbial whipping dog, the Bloc. And given what Harper's been able to do with just a minority, if he's there for much longer we, and the international community, might not recognize Canada anymore.