Thursday, September 25, 2008

We Get What We Deserve

We whine about wanting a campaign based on ideas, and yet we see a seismic voting shift after a few touchy, feely sweater ads. We continually say we hate negative campaigning, and yet we buy into the frame those attacks suggest. We say we want transparency and openness, and yet we seem to be rewarding the campaign which is decidedly detached from the people, secretive, aloof and manufactured. We say we are sophisticated, too cynical and wise to be fooled by slick politicians, and yet we lap up the superficial, anything beyond a soundbite too complicated for our feeble minds. We have a media class that constantly laments our political discourse, and yet they treat substance like a novelty. We get what we deserve.

Kudos to the Conservatives, they've correctly figured out that voters have the attention span of tadpoles, the entire concept predicated on voter apathy. The Conservatives have manipulated, or better yet accurately read, a lazy media, demonstrating a full understanding of the news cycle, understanding that past deeds are irrelevant, the trick is distraction and you only have to do it for a few weeks. You can't blame Harper for offering nothing new, the most idea bereft campaign in Canadian history, after all the focus groups show it doesn't really matter. The Conservatives have "gamed" the system, because they have figured out the players, a fickle media and a distracted electorate.

What worries me, isn't so much the fortunes of my party, but beyond that, the prospects for the future. The Harper "template" will become standard practice for political campaigns moving forward, tight control on local campaigns, pretty photo-ops, limited media availability, ideas as secondary to presentation. Get this, you can delay release of your environmental plan and still be on the offensive, you can usurp the court process and nobody notices, you can stifle the Heritage Department, you can hide candidates, you can ignore the media, you can ignore expert opinion on an array of issues, you can do all this and it's considered a competent campaign.

I've always known that superficiality trumps substance, and that explains why I hesitated with Dion for so long. I understand the game, but then I bought into a bold policy, and thought we might see something new. I've always believed in a carbon tax, it was at that moment that I moved from semi-detached observer to invested partisan. Who cares if the English is slightly off, who cares if the messenger lacks charisma, the common touch, the ideas are beyond the shallow perceptions, all we need to do is engage and there is potential. I knew better, but I saw this election as a referendum on substance, a chance to understand competing visions, a real dialogue. After all, isn't that what voters say they crave, isn't that we the talking heads demand OVER and OVER, so critical of the "game", so deep, wanting more.

Whatever happens, certain things are clear. Attacks do work, we eat it up, but claim it tastes bad. The media is easily manipulated, so pathetic they arrogantly comment as though detached, when really they've been co-opted (played like a cheap fiddle). Ideas are merely a tool to target key demographics, in this campaign the less offered the better, the less shown the more advantageous. What's the point?

43 comments:

catherine said...

What you say is true about the media and the polls. However, I still see something different among people. I continue to talk to people who are changing their votes to the Liberals - even yesterday and today. Some for the environment, some for fear of Harper and planning to vote strategically. All based on a lot more than sweaters. None of this matches up with the polls. However, the people I interact with restore my faith and I guess we will see whether the polls and the media narratives have it right.

MississaugaPeter said...

The point you ask, is:

If you truly believe in your guy, which almost all of us Liberals do, is make sure your guy during the election spin cycle, has the best War Room available and the best chairs to run the provincial campaigns.

Our Stephane may find out too late what many in the blogosphere know:

We do not have the best War Room and we do not have the best chairs.

Liberal.ca NEWSROOM reveals that the War Room DOES their research very well. It also reveals, since we have heard of very few of the items in the NEWSROOM in the MSM, that the War Room DOES NOT adequately get its message out.

An Example of a Significant War Room Mistake:

During the Leadership Campaign, bloggers had an incredible influence over the final outcome. Those same bloggers should have been used to disperse the information on the Liberal.ca NEWSROOM. Conservative bloggers are often cited on NationalNewsWatch and Bourque. Liberals bloggers, next to never are cited.

Reg said...

The Conservative's numbers haven't really moved at all. They've been bouncing around 33-38 for the last two years. It's the NDP and Greens that are eating the Liberals lunch. So to put the blame on the voter, the media or the Conservatives is truly missing the point. Left leaning votes are going elsewhere because they see better representation elsewhere. In other words, the Liberals are simply now realizing what everybody else knew the minute Dion was elected leader - they're screwed.

Mark Francis said...

Steve is quite correct. Harper knows that he needs few votes beyond his base (his base is about 28% of votes) to win. His entire strategy is to divide 60% of voters between the other parties, while concentrating his campaign in select swing ridings.

The Liberal policies I've been seeing are fine, but that's not what this election is about. Harper has spent millions framing the election around perceptions concerning leadership. I have been very much reminded of the Ontario election of 1998, where Harris successfully pegged McGuinty as being "not up to the job."

You know, if the public were as perceptive as we'd like to think, Harris...er... harper wouldn't dare to campaign claiming that the Liberals are poor fiscal managers. The Liberals balanced the books, left a huge surplus, ran 8 consecutive balanced budgets, all to make up for the Mulroney Conservatives' huge fiscal blunders. We know that Harper and Flaherty are spending like drunks, and are taking us to the edge (if not over) of running a deficit, you would think the public would cry foul...

The truth is, if you repeat the same lie over and over again, history can be changed. All it takes is the right message and money.

Anonymous said...

Reg: I couldn't agree more. Progressive voters want to vote for a party that delivers on progressive commitments. The FIRST opportunity Layton had to make a federal budget (NDP budget amendment) it included child care, affordable housing and transit. Things that the Liberal Party had promised for years and never delivered. Layton put forward real climate change legislation (c377) before Dion did and he was the Enviro Minister. There is one real progressive alternative to Harper and that is the NDP. OK liberal activists have at 'er...

Anonymous said...

The Cons and the media have framed the message and the Libs haven't been able to change the basic thrust. As a Dion supporter, I can still acknowledge that Layton is a better campaigner and gets his message across. Perhaps a coalition is the only way to stop Harper.

Jim said...

Some of us do have attention spans longer than tadpoles and are in fact listening very closely.

Then your leader says things like this...

Asked if Mr. LeDrew's remarks could undermine party morale he replied, "No, because I know how much our party is convinced that we need to win that for our country. It's not like it was only a battle for who will have the power to enjoy the power. It's the philosophies and approach. It's the kind of Canada we want."

Anybody care to explain what the hell Dion is saying!

And you wonder why the Libs are not only losing, but stand to be decimated in this election.

Sheesh!

Susan said...

I totally agree with you Steve and really well said, but I don't want to give up. Most Canadians BY FAR do not want Harper, 63% are against him when he's at his highest. People are looking for innovative ways to address the divided ABC vote, like vote swapping (which can't really work because you'll never know how anyone voted). People desperately want a different voting system but can't seem to get it. I think the NDP candidate in Saanich, BC stepped down after the deadline so that the Liberal Briony Penn had a better chance at winning aganst Lunn. The ABC there have been trying to work together to get Lunn out for over a year.

It's not the Canadian people, it's the media and we have to do everything we can not to be brought down by them. I was hoping Williams' ABC campaign would provide its own news outlet but they didn't get organized in time. Michel Rivard's anti Harper youtube on cuts to the arts got 500,000 hits and press coverage in several papers. There are ways to render the media irrelevant or to force them to cover the story from a different angle but 63% of Canadians need new media outlets and if the current situation continues we will get them but not in time for the election.

ann d said...

This will not be over for me when the election ends, regardless of how the election turns out. If a progressive party is elected, I will be elated, but I have a laundry list of democracy fixes I intend to pursue. This election has only served to highlight how badly the system is broken and to what extent it can be abused by a person with the pursuit of power as the key item on his election agenda.

The Mound of Sound said...

Dion is good at policy and lousy at politics. Harper has taken full advantage of that. He's crafted an election in which he's allowed to run on no issues, no platform and without having to address his miserable record. Dion allowed that to happen.

We agreed to extend the Kandahar mission to 2009 without any meaningful debate. Dion promised that the Libs would hold the government to the 2009 date. Then, again without any meaningful debate, he folded and agreed to an extension to 2011.

Had Dion's Libs had the cojones to bring Harper down over Afghanistan, they would have been able to frame the election and force a serious discussion of issues.

We might have lost an Afghan-referendum election but Harper would have been saddled with another weak minority at best.

There's a reason Harper has lost his bravado on Afghanistan lately. Imagine if he now had to defend his Afghanistan policy in a second election? He'd be done.

It's the price we pay for neglecting the political battle and hoping we can somehow lure votes on policy alone.

Anonymous said...

Rhe Conservative have the same vote they had in the last election right now...The people who vote conservative do not change...they are not the undecided...the undecided are either liberals ...ndp.green ...Yesterday the Decima guy (whom I never believe) said look at the womens vote....the only party to go up in the womens vote is the liberals.....Cons..ndp..green were straight no upward turn....Yes over at eh Globe and Mail this morning the story running is just the opposite...so how can any of these quacks be on the mark...including Nanos...he is on CPAC every nite and not once when he was giving the numbers for best Pm.vision etc...did he say...the conservatives are telling lies in their ads about the liberals...is this the best vision for Canada. I told him to start a new category.....the best liar in Canada.....any idea who would get best marks.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Elizabeth May NOW says that she "won't be able to live with herself" if it turns out that she did anything that contributed to Harper winning the election.

I guess we better put her on suicide watch.

I know that the idea was for her to cut into the NDP vote and help the Liberals win back seats from the NDP - but that plan has clearly backfired.

Anonymous said...

Check out this new online group, www.voteforenvironment.ca helpful to voters who want to limit Conservative seats. Riding by riding seat projections for strategic voting...all parties gain seats but the Cons.
Jacqui

Demosthenes said...

That voteforenvironment.ca site is definitely interesting; I'm wondering whether strategic voting might become a factor here.

Anyway. Steve, what you're seeing is something that people have known about for a while: voting is as much a social phenomenon as a political one. (Which, I suppose, means that politics is social; no surprise there.)

People aren't necessarily going to choose a candidate based on the best policies. In fact, they rarely if ever do that. They vote based on whether or not the candidate and his or her policies signal that there is a connection between them; their values, their beliefs, their struggles, what have you.

The thing is, the media is the gatekeeper here. They're the ones that should be screaming to the high heavens about Harper's low availability and the inaccessibility of his cabinet and caucus. In America, they're definitely yelling about the same tactic being used to keep Sarah Palin away from them.

But Canadians have a media environment dominated by a few major corporations, most of whom (Sun media and Canwest/Global) are completely in the tank for the Conservatives. So they aren't saying a thing, and are instead feasting on the easy stories of Liberal disunity.

And that disunity? Well, Liberals are having a spot of trouble with that concept of shared identity and struggles themselves. Loyalty to your faction, instead of your party, is the inevitable result of an ideology-free Party of Power losing power. Liberals need to believe in more than "we hate ideology and love the center, whatever the hell that is".

The Green Shift is a good policy. And I think it could be used to signal shared values and concerns and identity. But that requires abandoning the warm comfort of a vacuous "mushy middle". And that's something that Dion hasn't been able to make them do.

AM said...

Steve, I couldn't agree more with what you said. Anti-intellectualism and the dumbing down of the general public is central to the neo-con agenda.

Demosthenes said...

Oh, and this is all about fundraising. The Tories didn't build their current strength during this election. They've done nothing of significance during this election. They built it during the previous two and a half years: during the long and bitter leadership battle, and during the period afterwards.

They were ABLE to build it because they can fundraise from small donors. The Liberals can't. And the reason, again, is that nobody ever gets passionate and activist about the Mushy Middle. So they don't donate.

(Plus, having no real donation infrastructure online doesn't help, either.)

Anonymous said...

Carbon tax - Right policy, wrong person to sell it. Ive been saying it all along.

I hate to sound like a bitter broken record (being a former Iggy supporter), but I can’t stop thinking "We told you so".

Anyways, we still have 2 weeks and that’s a lifetime. I’m doing my part and donating to local campaigns. But the mood is worsening, with alot of people hoping the debates produce a breakthrough (something I doubt). Never say never though.

The main thing Im taking away from this election is that there is a real leadership vacuum in our federal politics, and the first party to plug it will blow away the competition in future elections.

-ITC

P.S The last time any election was fought over real policy was 1988 Free Trade. So this election cycle in terms of the media, voter apathy is really no different from the elections of the 90's.

Anonymous said...

Such campaigning isn't anything new, nor something that is part of any sort of neo-con agenda. Back when they were in government the Liberals ran all sorts of negative adds and did their best to frame the positions of the right wing parties negatively. The Conservatives are pretty much just doing what the Liberals did to win elections in the 90s.

People can say that they want open campaigning all they want, but no one ever acts on that. I guarantee that when the Liberals are in power again and its their turn to run campaigns like this again all the Liberals currently complaining will forget all that. In fact they'll probably back it all up, because that is how the electorate works.

Wayward son said...

lycan stark - "Wow, SOMEONE is a sore loser. You sound EXACTLY as the divided right did in this country for the past 15years for EXACTLY the same reasons."

Anon - "Lycan Stark...that was so well said you deserve a free beer!! You guys sound exactly like the whiney right 10 years ago."

I don't know if it is worth my time to point out to these delusional cons that in the three "divided right" elections of 1993, 1997 and 2000 the PCs and Reform (or CA) put together did not have as many votes as the Liberals alone. So even if they had merged they still would not have been in power.

Electoral reform is needed to ensure that 38% of the votes do not have 100% if the power. Perhaps after a Harper majority (if they happen to "win" one) destroys the country the Liberals will have enough sense to change the electoral system the next time they are in power.

liberazzi said...

Steve:

I agree with your summation of the campaign so far. The Harper's have made so many gaffes and a very poor record, which would have been a killer in most elections, but nothing sticks. It is a fact, not just retoric, that the Cons in two years have taken a 13b surplus and whittled it down to nothing. How are they getting away with it? The MSM had made their minds up about who was going to win a week before the election and have been on a Dion death-watch ever since. The polling in this election has been bizarre to say the least. The MSM want to keep promoting that the Dips have a shot at second. Please.

I am still saying this is a status quo election give or take. However, the Libs had a very good chance of winning a minority (its not over yet, but the fat lady is tuning up as WK says). What's gone wrong so far? The Libs have not run a bad campaign, but its not getting much traction. Even though I have seen the Lib ads on Youtube, I have never once seen them on TV. Yet, I see the Cons ones constantly? I am not a huge fan of Dion, but I do not think he has performed badly? Do the Libs need to play the retail politics game and save the big ideas for when they are in govt? Harper was promoting his consumer protection plan today...nickle and dime stuff, but it will resonate. The Libs are promoting big ideas, but it gets them nowhere. Like WK states today, it is a weird election. An election that should have been about something is really about nothing.

On a side note, should someone send out a search party for Van Loan?

liberazzi said...

Ughhh! Nanos:

Cons - 40
Libs - 25
Dips - 19
Bloc - 9
Green - 8

I'm confused...

Steve V said...

I didn't vote for the Martin government, because they too ran on nothing, completely devoid of policy, basically on fumes. To say this is simply a reaction to the Cons doesn't describe my opinion, but that doesn't mean this isn't the WORST example in history. In fact, Martin's biggest boner was allowing the Gomery inquiry, Harper would have just said no, comforted in the fact that three days later the media would have forgotten.

It's been a steady decline, but this is bottom, unless their is a level below the gutter I haven't seen.

Demosthenes said...

Steve: Harper is basically a Republican.

So, yes, it gets worse.

liberazzi said...

NNW has a story about the May/Mackay fight. However, the Dips only lost by 4000 votes, so if they take a majority of the lost Lib votes, the Dips might have a chance of winning. I do not particularily like the Dips, but it would be sweet for Mackay to lose.

Joe Calgary said...

Steve, I guess being in business for 24 years, taking two companies public, having 3 degree's, and sharing the sentiments of 67% of Albertan's, not to mention 40% (according to Nanos today), living in a city which in which 57% of Calgarian's have at least 1 year of university, should mean nothing to Liberals, and Canadians in general.

Why is it that Conservative are the "bad guy".

It was Trudeau who started this nation down the road to deficit. It was bad Brian who did the painful work of creating the GST and NAFTA that gave your boys Chretien and Martin the wherewithal to begin paying down the debt and the deficit.

It was the Liberals who hacked up Health care, wasted over $15 billion in doing nothing achieve nothing projects and ministries, and yet people who vote conservatives are stupid, and gullible.

Yep. Nice to know that Canada is inclusive as long as your a liberal.

liberazzi said...

Ok, I dont want to jump on the doom and gloom bandwagon, but lets say we are in a save the furniture campaign now. If that is the case, then it looks like the Libs need to concentrate on Northern Ontario and the maritimes. Dryden it looks like, is already concentrating on Northern Ontario, but no one is really concentrating on the maritimes. Dion is doing a event with Kennedy tomorrow, so they need to continue to concentrate on these tight ridings with their high profile members. Plus, Mississauga is looking ominous, so the Libs need to spend more time their as well. Although, Bonnie Crombie is looking good. If she wins, I believe she will be a very high profile member of the new team.

Steve V said...

joe

You are the worst. Get another degree, one that involves moving beyond your little tribal world you live in. Nice stat on Calgarians education, or what you've done, WHATEVER, you just sound insecure. Pat, pat.

BTW, who cares what support a Con has in Alberta, it's a one party state, thoughtless, repetitive endorsements. You guys idolized a drunken moron, but then again he was a Con, so.... At least Lougheed was a statesman, unlike these low rent guys you back now unconditionally.

liberazzi said...

Is this the new game the Cons want to play now? The Cons are responsible for creating the surplus, but going into deficit is not a bad thing? Pathetic.

With regards to "gutting" health care. This is what Martin implemented:

Paul Martin called for increased federal-provincial co-operation in a national effort to revitalize health care.

His plan includes the following offers of funding to the provinces:

$3 billion over two years.
$4 billion for a national fund to reduce waiting times
$2 billion for a national home-care program.
$2 billion over five years for specific priorities like intensive care and mental illness.

The Liberals would also create up to 1,000 new places for students in medical schools and push for faster recognition of foreign medical qualifications

Where is Harper's grand plan to reduce waiting times?

Yes, Trudeau Libs created a deficit of 25b annually. Mulroney promised to reign in the deficit, but in fact almost doubled it while he was in power. In Trudeau's reign, deficit financing was a western phenomenom and certainly not just a liberal phenomenom. Do you want me to start going into the Harris record, of which Clement, Baird and Flaherty were a part of of?

liberazzi said...

You finally got your boy in Ottawa and you are still crying it up.

We are Liberals, because we are socially progressive, but financially prudent. Liberal govt have not been perfect and have had their share of bad apples, but Liberal policies have brought this country forward. Conservative govts claim to be financially prudent, but usually fall short and of course are not socially progressive. Even today a candidate in Calgary states "crimes in Canada aren’t committed by people that “grew up next door,” but newcomers to the country". These types of comments, this type of atitude has been prevelant in this campaign and within the CPC for years, but it is being completely washed over by the MSM. Yet, Harper continues to get away with his lies and distortions. He has muzzled his entire team, because he knows these types of views are rampant within his party. Instead, the MSM would rather focus on Dion's poor English. We wanted this campaign to be about the environment and about the economy, but it has been about the Dion deathwatch, even when he has not had one major stumble in this campaign. This is why we are frustrated, this is why we are angry.

Anonymous said...

Libs can make the case that Harper is wrong for the economy. This should be the main campaign issue going forward. Canadians aren't done interviewing candidates for the PM position. The guy in the office who looked like the safe bet could start looking pretty shabby when his (mis)management of a $12 billion surplus is brought into focus.

liberazzi said...

Anon:

So you dont want this election to be about substance?

Your comments regarding Dryden are offensive.

liberazzi said...

Which grapevine are you referring to, as there is not one story about the possibility of Dryden quitting?

Steve V said...

lib

Ignore the riff raff :)

liberazzi said...

While we complain about Dion's English Rome burns:

And yes I know Canada only contributes 2%...but it cannot be a leader if it is not taking the lead.

SouthernOntarioan said...

Here's my thoughts on why you guys are losing. And I mean this in all sincerity, as much as you guys loathe folks like me (social conservatives) I don't like one-party states any more than the next guy.

1) You don't connect with centrist values. Believe it or not there are social conservative people in this country, and they make up 30-40% of the population at least. So the 'center' isn't where you think it is. In the Chretien days, the Liberals gobbled up a sizeable portion of this vote because the so cons are easily pacified. Most don't like abortion, but don't rub it in our faces. Most don't like SSM, but were content to allow it.

Instead, the Liberal party decided to declare some sort of 'holy' war on us, pretending as if we were a threat to the security of the nation. Insulting our nationalism by telling us to 'go home to America'. Etc..

Every campaign in the last decade by the Liberals has featured some form of fear mongering that those evil so-cons will take over Canada and destroy everything you love and cherish. *rolls eyes*

Naturally, we didn't take too kindly to this and parked our votes with the Tories (who so far treat us almost like lepers at times but at least take care not to attack us). So while the left wing parties scrambled over the ~60% of the other votes, the Tories were alone to pick up the so-con vote. Notice how the Tories have kept increasing their vote share every election?

2) You *were* the party of fiscal conservatives.

Under Chretien fiscal conservatives found a home. The budget was balanced (on the backs of the provinces but still), spending was minimized and targeted. By and large everyone could agree that Martin and Chretien had done good for the country financially.

Then came the HR scandal, and other minor financial scandals that culminated in the Sponsorship scandal. When the Income Trust thing hit Goodale's department it was simply the straw that broke the camels back.

I mean, even look at the promises made by the campaigns. The Tories have promised a pitiful $5 billion over 4 years. The Liberals have promised far more, over ten times more. Even when the Liberals promise to raise/lower taxes or cut spending the optics just look bad. Fiscal conservatives may not love the Tories, but they seem like a better choice than the Grits.

3) You lost the moral high ground long ago.

Believe it or not, Canadians *do* have a long memory. They remember how for the last 2 years the Grits have declared that Harper is all but the devil himself and never gathered the gumption to defeat the government and bring on an election.

So they don't take Liberal criticisms seriously, because if the Liberals were serious about their own criticisms, they would have done something sooner.

Moreover, many remember your previous elections campaigns and how dirty you guys were in running them. So accusations that the Tories are 'bullies' fall flat.

4) Your attacks are over the top.

If Harper wins will the world end? No. So stop pretending that it will.

Harper's social policy isn't to throw poor kids in jail. So don't pretend that it is. If your criticisms are valid you don't need to use hyperbole to prove your point.

Harper is not 'soft on crime'. To insist he is (as Dion has done) is laughable. To accuse Harper of being complicit in the deaths of Canadians is also over the top and to try to link him to Walkerton is just unbelievable.

And that's the key. The attacks are unbelievable, so no one believes them.

That's my two cents, you can return to deriding me as some American-loving, Canada-hating, evil, heartless moron if you want.

Anonymous said...

Harper wants deficits so he can reduce social spending on health, education, housing, child care. Even things like infrastructure spending, which also creates jobs, will be given crumbs instead of the full spending it needs. There will be little investment in green economy jobs. The younger generation will be at a distinct disadvantage - the quality of life in Canada will definitely worsen.

Mentarch said...

Steve: you just wrote what I've been writing/warning about all along ...

But then - who pays attention to little old moi?

;-)

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with everything Steve has said (as is so often the case.

Besides that, I think the comment by southernontarian is worthy of notice. I strongly disagree with his/her views but I respect them for the lack of trolliness. It is an insightful view as to how an intelligent person might find their way to voting for Harper. It flies in the face of the stereotype I have of how a socon thinks. As progressives, we might find a few lessons to defeat Harper and his ilk.

This speaks to a willingness by southernontarian to reach out to people that he/she disagrees with. I despair about the future of the country I love so much. We will need people of all stripes who are able to talk to each other in a civil fashion to repair the damage I fear that any further Harper governing will bring down on us.

James Bow said...

Hey, Joe in Calgary: the suggestion that Trudeau's Liberals alone were responsible for Canada's deficit is a myth. See more here.

Tomm said...

Steve,

Good post. Even enjoyed the Pity party you've hosted here.

Southernontarioan is bang on.

It's why there is so little resonance by such a broad range of people with the Dion "logic".

The LPC is dangerously close to having to fold its tent. It has lost the centre, is losing the mushy left to the Green's and the NDP. Who would have thought that the LPC leadership vacuum would make Layton look Prime Ministerial?

The LPC has to end the last two weeks by holding town hall meetings, listening to the people that show up, ignoring the polls and expect 5 years in the wilderness.

The last two years have seen a squandered opportunity by the LPC to re-create its base. Instead it decided it was maintaining the high ground by shear audacity and insufferable arrogance. They were wrong. It was obvious if that had bothered to step back and honestly appraise their circumstance.

Good night.

Steve V said...

southern

Unfortunately, it really isn't that complicated. It has nothing to do with abortion, or fiscal management, it has to do with bad English and a weak leader. People don't like Harper, but he looks relatively strong, because Dion isn't credible. It's completely superficial, and if you think I'm off, just look at the pre-writ polls and then compare them to the post-sweater polls, hardly a statement on philosophical choice. And, if you look, you will see Harper isn't doing any better than 2006, it's just that the Libs have bled to other parties.

If Dion were connecting with voters, if we didn't have this pre-conception of him as weak and ineffective, if the coverage was fair and substantive, it would be a different reality. You can say what you want about over the top, and all this other stuff, but it's all tertiary observations, if there is one thing this election isn't it's sophisticated.


Tomm

Pity party? Hey, I'll prove it. Why don't you tour BT (I can't), go through the last couple weeks, and see how many posts you see on the "left wing" media. I guarantee you'll find nothing, because even these deluded souls can't go to that inaccurate crutch now, the coverage so entirely glowing, one might blush. The coverage is what it is, and I guarantee any quantative measure will demonstrate the complete lack of balance. You can dismiss it all as partisan, that's fine, but I'm quite comfortable in saying it's been an objective disgrace (which doesn't imply stellar coverage in the past). Period.

SouthernOntarioan said...

Steve:

Fair observation, I'm not arguing that Dion's weak leadership isn't a factor. But even a strong leader saying the same thing as Dion wouldn't be able to knock the Tories off their 36% support.

The pre-writ polls showed Harper around 36% on average. Nanos and Decima started with them at 33 +-3% in late August but in early September (even before the Sweater Ads) other polls showed them up at 36%. They haven't ducked below that line ever since.

Maybe you could beat them with more, but the Tories are pretty well locked with their mid-30s support level for the reasons I gave.

Chretien won his elections not by trying to beat the NDP into the ground but by winning the middle and by winning rural Ontario (which is full of those evil so-cons). So what I'm trying to say is .. if you really want to win government you need to win folks like me over to your side.

Oh and anonymous its 'southernontarioan' I mispelled it to play on the image of so-cons being knuckle dragging morons. I'm glad I've impressed you, but really I'm more of a christian socialist than a true blue conservative. =)

Steve V said...

southern

But, those two polls also showed the Libs tied or ahead, and if you did the regional breakdowns, our vote was more efficient, a tie more likely to give us a minority. I would argue, that it really said something that the Cons were only in the mid-30's, despite having a weak opposition leader. You will remember, when we had similar numbers for Martin vs Harper, the Libs were up double digits. Maybe it just hasn't manifested itself until the election, but I always argued that leadership would bite us once the two were more out front of the debate.