Lawrence Martin of the Globe and Mail asks in today's column, do nice guys finish last?
He goes on to make a pretty damning case for it in his article:
“There's an old rule in politics. Don't bet on the nice guys. Robert Stanfield was the princely example. Lost three in a row. Lester Pearson was too soft to ever win big. Joe Clark was characterized as wimpish, Stéphane Dion the same. The American Democrats had nice-guy Michael Dukakis, nice-guy Walter Mondale, nice-guy George McGovern and another skirt-wearer, nice-guy Al Gore. They all went down.
Ignatieff responds - too nice?
Liberal MP Ujall Dosanjh had this to say -
“With these ads, the Conservatives are showing a streak of anti-intellectualism and xenophobia that goes back to their Reform roots. It needs to be confronted.” The implicit suggestion, says Mr. Dosanjh, a Punjabi, is that if you've spent a lot of time outside the country - like he and Mr. Ignatieff have - you're less of a Canadian.”
These ads, unfortunately are affective; they are created because they work. And in the face of no real counter campaign from the Liberals, I’m afraid they will hurt Ignatieff’s chances of building enough support to mount an effective election campaign.
The Tories have the bucks and they’re spending them like drunken sailors in a whorehouse. One can only hope that they will have used up considerable resources by the time the upcoming election is called. Unfortunately, they do have friends in low places and Alberta is awash in blue money.
This campaign has been greatly helped by the free coverage the media have given it. Not only did I have to listen to this tripe while watching American Idol (ok, it was in good company), but there is almost daily reference to it in the print, electronic and web medias.
The sad truth is that it will push buttons and will convince a large number of Canadians that Harper is Mr. Canuck. He can wear a sweater, a cowboy hat, a flak jacket or a lab coat when he absolutely has to (and he also plays piano for all you cynical special interest artists out there).
The liberals have to do something soon to counter this campaign. Being cosmopolitan, intelligent, creative and “a true patriot” are not inhibitors to leadership. Nor is drinking espresso instead of Tim Hortons. That Harper targets these attributes as "scary stuff" puts him more on the side of Pol Pot than John A.
For an interesting discussion of this, listen to the Globe and Mail Roundtable Podcast:
And for an enlightened chuckle, nothing beats Rick's Rants: