First, contrast the two parties election websites, one offers vision, the other offers vitrol. Then, look at the initial ads for the respective parties. The Liberals release a positive ad, outlining their Green Shift idea, their vision. What do the Conservatives do? They attack, with the release of three negative ads, all aimed at Dion and the Liberals. All is fair game in politics, so the parties are free to do what they wish. However, the contrast is striking and it speaks to a theme we can capitalize on.
The Globe and Mail had a piece on the "pre dawn attack" on the Liberals, and I found the last line telling:
However the party did not announce any plans of its own during the press conference.
Yesterday, during an interview on CTV, Harper said that, given the present circumstance, now is not the time for big ideas. In other words, don't expect much from the Conservatives, the ship has sailed, it's all about choosing the captain. What we have here, and the last line of the Globe piece highlight this fact, the Conservatives have no ideas, so they will spend their time attacking others. A bankrupt party, who's main goal is to put the spotlight on others, while simultaneously absent on their own vision.
The Conservatives can attack the Green Shift, but at some point, and I suspect it will come, media and voters will ask the question- what about your plan? It is pretty brazen to unleash all this invective towards another party's plan, when you own plan scores an F, nobody supports it, nobody thinks it credible, even if you allow that it is, it does the exact same thing you attack others for. The colossal hypocrisy, the off the charts goofy logic, the sheer gall, deserves to be exposed.
One party offers a path for the future, the other simply tears down ideas, but does little to fill the void. The campaign will be "nasty" because father of the year Harper is a NASTY piece of work, employing Rovian tactics to distract from his thin agenda. It's a classic contrast, negativism vs a positive vision.
Do Canadians want ideas, or do Canadians want vitrol? I have a sneaking suspicion that the Conservatives may see a blowback, when people wonder why it is, that they continually take the low road, why they seem entirely at ease in the muck? This election is more and more a referendum on whether or not Canadians lack the sophistication to see beyond gutter politics. It only works, if people let it.