Just for fun:
Partisan opinion aside, the NDP have ran the best campaign of the principles. Focused from the start, the language targeted and consistent, the NDP strategists were clearly ready for this election, and they've ran strong from start to finish. I also thought the NDP had some of the more effective ads, edgy and modern, quite different from the cookie cutter approach of others. Having ample funds helped, but Layton did a very good job of keeping the NDP in the headlines, the nonsensical "running for PM" line created some buzz, so in the final analysis it was a solid move.
WORST CAMPAIGN MOVE
From the "what were they thinking" department, Harper's criticisms of artists, more specifically the galas, will be remembered by historians as the turning point in this election. Others, might also highlight the youth crime policy, but really it was this tin ear attack on the cultural community that turned the Quebec race, Duceppe and other seized on the moment, and the Conservatives never recovered. A colossal error.
Taking both debates in totality, Stephane Dion performed the best. I was simply amazed to watch Gilles Duceppe constantly refer to Dion when speaking in the French debate, it was there that I knew he was projecting an air of authority, he had taken control. Let's not forget, the Liberals were in freefall in Quebec, had Dion done anything less, the Liberal prospects quite dim. Dion didn't do as well in the English debate, but he had some excellent moments, and I think he helped his case.
It's a superficial point, but then again it's a shallow pool election. Layton's sweater crack in the English debate was a winner, even if it was a cheap shot. As soon as I heard, I looked over to my wife and said, "there's your debate soundbite". I say it was the best moment, because it also highlighted how badly Harper performed, it was the beginning of the out of touch sentiment, and it also kept the NDP in the conversation.
Nobody could have predicted that the economic meltdown would occur in the midst of the campaign. Effectively, the election was divided into two, and Harper really suffered for a few days, while the Liberals enjoyed a bounce. It was very interesting to see how the various parties reacted on their feet, without the advantage of carefully crafted, predictable talking points. I actually think the Liberals out flanked the Conservatives on the economy, which was amazing, when you consider it was the supposed strength, but once again the Conservatives demonstrated their lack of pragmatism, an inability to roll with the punches. However, the Liberal strategy pettered out as the stock market decent proceeded, too timid for my liking, which allowed the Conservatives to regain the advantage.
While it didn't seem to do much for our campaign, Dion's speech at the Economic Club in Toronto was the highlight. Don't take my word for it, rare praise given to Dion by the press, he hit all the right notes and everybody was forced to recognize. That the speech was in English, makes it all the more impressive, given the mindless criticisms of second language proficiency.
MOST ANNOYING WORD OR PHRASE
The best part about this election concluding, I won't have to listen to Harper say "friends" during a campaign rally. Like he was channeling McCain, Harper used the word ad nauseum, it was so hollow and repetitive, only a koolaid drinking partisan could stand it. A honorable mention for "the kitchen table", while probably effective messaging, Layton's usage got tiring fast. Ditto for Dion's "a richer, fairer, greener" Canada, I've heard this for months and it's always struck me as an empty generalization that never connects.
BEST ELECTION COVERAGE
The hands down winner, CPAC. Not because they did anything extraordinary, only because they showed unedited coverage of all speeches and press conferences. It allowed voters a chance to make up their own minds, rather than the subjective soundbite routine of the other networks. Less is more, when it comes to talking heads.
MOST EMBARRASSING COVERAGE
Wow, this is a hard one. If there is anything more pathetic than Mike Duffy announcing the Dion interview tape as though the Zapruder film let me know. To other's credit, both Duceppe and Layton came to Dion's defence, and some media outlets rightfully questioned the ethics of releasing the tape in the first place. A really shameful episode, that frankly hurt the Liberals, at the worst possible time. After the election, I would encourage all potential Liberals guests to boycott O'Reilly's, I mean Duffy's show.
Listening to Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke try and spin the Cadman tape expert analysis as validation of the Conservatives position. I don't think I've ever seen a man swallow that hard, as though the lie was a cement block running down a straw. It was so sad, it actually made me laugh, poor guy.
BEST VOTER MOMENT
The only time I've seen widespread passion in the public this election, when May was initially excluded from the debate. The reaction was forceful, and quite surprising, people were almost uniformally pissed. It really was a pleasant surprise, the apathetic public rose out of it's slumber and effectively forced May into the debates, despite the best laid plans of others.