Sunday, February 27, 2011

Annals of shocking columns

Updated (5:50 p.m.) below.

The sun rose in the east today. Here's another predictable Sunday touchstone. Persichilli writes about...guess! Yeah, you got it, his regular drumbeat which doesn't even need to be articulated at this point. Dion's leadership (first link), Ignatieff's now...it's a never-ending and predictable source of material for Mr. Persichilli and today's is more of the same.

He runs down some of the factors that might predict whether or not we have an election, issues like MP pensions and polls rate a few lines. But there's nothing in here about Mr. Harper and his calculations on achieving a majority and the obvious spectacle we've seen of this government running taxpayer funded ads to the tune of millions, party funded attack ads or the public relations blitz around the country, doling out millions. If we have an election, you see, it's largely about Bob Rae and the Liberal leadership. Uh huh. But check what Persichilli writes:
One of these factors is the role Bob Rae will play in the Liberal party. I’m not saying Rae wants his party to defeat the government and force an election to accelerate the departure of his friend Michael Ignatieff. I don’t know what he wants, and that’s not even the point.
Not the point? Well, it's kind of an important point. Rather than just listening to some random strategist who is apparently a Liberal and who has whispered rather ominously and importantly in Persichilli's ear:
In fact, last week a respected Liberal strategist told me that “even if we don’t like it, we have to start looking at Bob Rae as the only person who can successfully lead the Liberal party in the near future.”
This feeling is shared by many other Liberals who have lost hope in the once-heralded prophet from the south.
Really. This is the kind of thing that probably gives a lot of people pause. Not only because supposed Liberals, who may have axes to grind, for whatever reasons, are stupidly saying things like this to willing scribes. Advertising works on all kinds I suppose.

It's also unfortunate because the readers of the Toronto Star probably don't possess much familiarity with Persichilli's record. For example, here's a Persichilli line from December 2009 after another one of his mysterious and dubious Liberal sources disclosed a - debunked - coup plot by the likes of Glen Pearson, Carolyn Bennett et al (remarkable, I know): 
"I wouldn't be surprised if Ignatieff were to reconsider his political future and go back to his beloved academic world before the end of the year." 
Well, here we are, almost March 2011 and just as that one fell flat, the same fate is likely to befall this one. It's all very old and tired. Maybe some new sources or topics might be in order.

Update (5:50 p.m.): Had to add this from Rob Silver's take on Persichilli's column as a bookend:
As an aside, once, just once, even if just for shits and giggles, can a journalist call an unnamed Liberal strategist “a douchebag Liberal strategist” or a “Liberal strategist who was clearly drunk while talking to me” or at the very least, give a descriptor like “an old white guy Liberal strategist in his 60s whose best before date was 24 years ago” Please, someone?
That would be fun. Interest in Canadian politics just might pick up.