This critique is really what struck me:
This is a somewhat weird opening gambit. For one thing, it's obviously not true that Mr. Ignatieff is running against Mr. Harper.
Yes, "weird", a frontrunner acting as a frontrunner, that is just off the charts strange. Apparently, the nameless NP scribe (don't blame him/her) doesn't know the first thing about politics, that being it is the most standard of practice for a leading candidate to assume an air of inevitability, to focus past the tussle of the moment and on the bigger prize. I seem to recall Obama doing this for weeks on end during the primaries, almost ignoring Hillary, instead training his attacks on McCain, which is a shrewd way to force a contrast, it puts the theoretical matchup into the minds of people, it elevates the challenger. It's quite simply smart politics, that we see everywhere, everytime, a tried and true tactic.
I don't want to quibble about the references, but before I read this NP criticism, I already concluded that Ignatieff's team was on the ball to attack Harper straight away. It sets a tone, it envokes a Prime Minister in waiting, not arrogant, but confident, not misguided, but focused on the real battle, looking past. There is nothing to be gained in Ignatieff contrasting with his fellow candidates, that's a game for the longer shot, pure folly for the perceived frontrunner to go negative on his current opponents. As a matter of fact, the great irony of the NP piece, in attacking Harper, Ignatieff actually chooses the "high road" with respect to the leadership race. I'm not focusing on my fellow Liberals, I'm consumed with beating Stephen Harper, tearing down the real opponent. A classic strategy, but apparently one that surprises the NP, or more rightly, once again demonstrates a titantic bias and ideological blind spot. What a silly paper.