Sunday, May 24, 2009
As a follow up to the Harper Attack ad posting, here is an excerpt from one of my favourite Globe and mail columnists, Jeffery Simpson who writes a piece following Harper’s address at a fundraiser in Montreal.
(photo from Montreal Simon)
“The formula they have used, and still use, has six fundamental elements. In no particular order, they are: cater to Quebec nationalism; demonize the leader of the Opposition; impose tight internal discipline; string out announcements across the country that flow from budgets; woo multicultural Canadians; and throw the occasional piece of red political meat to the right-wing core.
They've been deploying this strategy from the beginning and it hasn't worked, at least not in moving Conservatives to a majority. If anything, the party is now further from majority territory than the day the Conservatives were elected.
When in doubt, the Harper Conservatives reach for attack advertisements, backed by the chorus line of Conservative MPs, constituency mailings and, of course, prime ministerial speeches.
As always, these ads contain gross policy distortions and nasty personal attacks, as we saw in the ads against former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion. They reflect far more on the mentality of the makers than the portrayal of the victim.
This time, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff stands accused, among other things, of preparing massive tax increases (including a carbon tax), having lived too long outside Canada and speaking French with a French accent.
Happily, for those who care about decency in politics, these attacks are all misplaced.
Of course, Mr. Ignatieff would raise taxes as prime minister, as will every government in the Western world once the recession is over - including Mr. Harper's, unless he is being grossly irresponsible, as is possible from someone who weakened the fiscal underpinnings of Canada by cutting the goods and services tax. The huge deficits in Canada and elsewhere cannot be reduced without tax increases, the only question being which kind, how much and when.
… As for his French, well, francophones won't much care about his accent, knowing he's an anglophone, especially when they stack his accent against Mr. Harper's.
Forget the attack ads, because this set will fail. They're just part of the wider, failed strategy to move the Conservatives to a majority. The rollout of announcements; the formulaic, mind-numbing prime ministerial speeches; the failure to impress Quebec; and the government's right-wing instincts - these are the real culprits in their receding majority prospects.
Mr. Ignatieff responds (CBC)
"If you mess with me, I will mess with you until I'm done," Ignatieff said Saturday.
Ignatieff told his audience in Gander he plans a different approach as he takes on the prime minister.
"Let's be clear how we carry the attack, because I will not attack Mr. Harper's patriotism. I will not attack his character. I will not attack his family. I will attack his record, and God knows, there's enough to work on," he said.
Seems Harper may have just met his match.