Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tactical Aptitude

The Harper government is generally acknowledged as pretty shrewd, tactically proficient, the media tends to fawn over their supposed "chess" play, sometimes attaching much more than is really there, but that comes with reputation. I've never really bought into that characterization, there are volumes of examples to suggest otherwise, plenty of empirical evidence to show little in the way of actual results, apart from the bluster. Capable sure, but hardly the stuff of grandmasters, hardly something to fear, as many gifts given as deft manoeuvers.

What is quietly going unnoticed here, in amongst all the controversy, the Liberals are demonstrating their own tactical prowess at the moment. Prior to Question Period today, news linked to reporters that the Liberals would re-focus on Cadman, when really it was the same emphasis as every other day. Dryden asks his question, gets no response, but it lingers and it connects nicely with the other scandals, the other themes in committee. In presenting a false new focus, it generated some discussion with the media, it allowed them to put it into context.

That was sharp, but what was really shrewd, having Rae come out of nowhere and demand Bernier resign. Bernier actually resigning is meaningless, but the broadside received attention, put some oxygen into the theme that this government is failing on foreign policy. Rae, positioned as the worldy sage, operates the B stage, another line of attack, while the RCMP raid swirls. Easy to forget everything else, and solely focus on the big story for the week, surely enough politically. However, interesting to watch the Liberals multi-task, driving the news, using different lines.

Good stuff.


A similar view.


burlivespipe said...

What I'm waiting for them to do is pull out Harper's already out-of-court experience with the unhappy ex-CON candidate. While there is a side agreement where the parties refuse to comment, all the talking points reveal our so-called PM as a liar and someone completely enamoured with skirting the ethical roadway to get what he wants. Why isn't this being fed as an appetizer on a daily basis? Get Garth to head into a scrum with that point, followed by Dominic on In-and-Out, Ken on Cadman, Bob on Bernier, Brison on Chalk River, Ignatieff on Nafta-gate, etc. Another month of sessions (please lord no!) and we'll have an assignment for all 98 liberals.

Anonymous said...

When Chantal Hebert recommends that Dion wait, through the summer, for an election you can be sure that we should be going as soon as possible.

clh said...

Burlivespipe, you must be referring to Riddell. I was amazed at how little attention that got, but the libel suit against Harper was settled out of court on a weekend and with an absolute silency agreement.

The Riddell case made it clear that Harper cut financial deals to get the candidates he wants, he swears them to absolute secrecy and then if they talk he lies and says there was no deal and if that fails he insists they broke the secrecy agreement and so the deal is invalid.

btw, the mailouts are getting a bit of attention too. It seems that that the Conservatives did exceed the 10% rule in at least one case, perhaps more. Again, it is the pile-up effect of multiple examples of them pushing the rules to suit their purposes.

As to election timing, one thing I wonder about is with the in-and-out affair still hanging, could the Conserveratives use it in the next election or not? If so, they could spend $25M or more on national advertising by maxing the scheme. Since they won't pay attention to Elections Canada, who else in Canada could quickly rule that such in-and-out schemes are absolutely not allowed if the writ is dropped soon?

Steve V said...

Here's a story on the mailouts, which Turner is pushing. They caused quite a stir in my riding, there was even an editorial on them, after many people complained. Wasting the taxpayer money was one aspect, but it was also because the leaflets were so tacky.

Chantal has our best interests at heart ;)