Monday, April 06, 2009

When To Go?

Today's Hill Times piece on the looming Conservative attack ads also includes some discussion about election timing. The attack ads are slated to begin this summer, as the Conservatives pour over Ignatieff's past (as an aside, do the Cons really want to rehash old opinions, given the buffet of quotes from Harper, wherein he's pretty much bashed everything about this country, not to mention adding weight to the "hidden agenda" meme?). A surprise to know one, and the timing is really the perfect opportunity for the Conservatives to try and "define" Harper.

I suspect the Liberals will fight back, but given the mood of the country, I'm not sure a pissing match serves anybody's interests, so we must be careful in our response. I would argue, any retort merely highlights the Conservatives pre-occupation with partisan nonsense during a economic meltdown, rather than the typical negative ad counter. In that way, we present a negative frame, focus attention to the misguided priorities, without rolling in the muck. Any response must undercut the Conservatives attacks, while simultaneously maintaining the high ground, a sense that the Liberals have their priorities in order.

The article also debates the merits of a June election call versus the fall. I was a supporter of a an early election, but more and more I appreciate the merits of waiting. When one adds up the pros and cons, each period entertained brings a conflicted ledger. More time allows the Liberals to achieve optimal readiness on a host of fronts, but we don't operate in isolation and these looming attack ads are one example of the counter. Plug in the uncertainty, relating to where the economy is headed, whether Harper can argue the "worst is behind us" come fall, and it's an even more complex decision.

I'm curious where people fall on election timing, whether we should wait or ramp up now for a quick call after the convention. I thought I'd put up a poll and welcome feedback, because I don't think it's an simple calculation:


Woman at Mile 0 said...

I knew they would run them in the summer cause they are chicken s***. Notice its planned for after they get out of the house but are still in government.

Mark Francis said...

Election timing doesn't matter Steve, as I doubt it matters much who ends up in power.

Going negative almost always works. People more readily believe negative things than hopeful things.

Sadly, Iggy isn't saying much that I consider hopeful.

Hows this for an election slogan:

"This election, vote for the real Stephen Harper"

RuralSandi said...

Hmmm....Dion put out his policies and was totally trashed last summer - so Sir Francis, why in hell would Ignatieff do the same thing.

Was is Ronald Reagan who said "not that again"...good line - the Liberals should use it.

Steve V said...


We have plenty in the negative arsenal, should we need a tit for tat. These guys have given us tons of fodder, so the defeatist attitude might be more a statement of personal disappointment, than real world application.


I figured summer too, and really it makes the most sense for the Conservatives.

Woman at Mile 0 said...

Gotta figure in the expense of ads when the Cons go on theirs. The trade off is longer we wait, the more we spend

Anonymous said...

There is another wildcard in the works that needs to be considered with regards to the election call.

The Bloc.

The Hill Times article said that the NDP will vote "no", but the Bloc is wavering.

If the Grits defeat the government sometime before the summer, should we at least try to make an attempt for a coalition? One that would be for a short period which would allow Ignatieff to appear prime ministerial?

Just a far fetch idea. We know that Harper will be using the coalition as his strongest card, so taking him on directly may not be a bad idea after all.

Steve V said...

I wonder what the Bloc would do? If the Liberals try and bring down the government, I'm quite comfortable with the Bloc "propping" them up, that works for us in the grand scheme. I would never utter the word coalition again :)