Monday, December 28, 2009

The Harper PMO: In with the old

The Prime Minister's Office, dutifully doing the pressing business of the nation: "PMO mocks Ignatieff in internal email." Seems they've latched on to one answer given by Ignatieff during the many, many year end news interviews that Ignatieff gave to multiple media outlets. The many interviews that Ignatieff volunteered up were in contrast to the Prime Minister's controlled effort where he gave one puff interview to an English outlet, one interview to a French outlet.

So, their foe having provided miles of videotape, the PMO's video watching minions have apparently uncovered their latest "gotcha" moment. One response from Ignatieff on becoming PM that was less than to the PMO's exacting standards. You can see how laughable this is, coming from a PMO that refused to engage in similar media access by the PM. And that they're picking over the details, it's quite a telling story about how they spend their time. Attack politics, that's what they do.

It's also laughable given the PM's less than memorable year. He survived near defeat this past January. He doled out stimulus funds in a skewed partisan manner inordinately to Conservative ridings. He played the piano. He snuffed out debate on the Afghan detainee issue by defying a Parliamentary order for documents, by shutting down the Military Police Complaints Commission. He sat on his hands, for the fourth year now, on environmental action. What does he do as PM, that's the better question. How does he conduct himself. He's hanging on, in minority territory, what a year.

It's funny, the PM was touting the "Olympic spirit" that's about to sweep the nation in his year end Christmas message, speaking of winning Olympians becoming symbols of what the country represents. He really could stand to learn a thing or two from them, as alien as fair play and winning on merit seem as concepts. Instead, the ongoing negative attack preoccupation is what we get from his PMO. They're the dopers of the political world.

Then there's the whole issue of how this missive from the PMO warrants a news item in the national newspaper of record. No formal attack ads necessary, just print up the talking points, all linked up and let the media run with it. I mean, why bother paying anymore?

You're tempted to say that Liberals should be doing this style of media engagement too, some media are obviously willing recipients of such attacks and will promulgate them nation-wide for free. The question of what to do, how to deal with such attacks is an ongoing one. Should the Liberals be doing it themselves or just let such attacks sit, knowing that they just cement the negative image of the Prime Minister, hardening his base?

It's a larger question that needs to be addressed, the Conservatives are not relenting on such tactics and these attacks resonate with some, they wouldn't be doing it if it didn't.

Update (8:50 p.m.): And this too.

Update (10:45 p.m.): Greg has some advice.