Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How To Respond?

We have evidence of what will be the official response from the Liberal war room.

Contrasting the attack ad focus with the economic circumstance seems a no brainer on many levels. One, you highlight the Conservatives misplaced priorities, during a serious economic downturn. The concurrent theme is that the Liberals have their focus where it should be, in line with Canadians concerns. While the PMO strategizes on how best to smear Ignatieff, the Liberals are worried about jobs and hardship. The economy is THE issue, really the only one at present, so exploiting the folly of partisan attacks within this environment is a smart and obvious counter. The only unknown, just how forceful the Liberals will be in providing the contrast. Will we run counter ads that merely speak to the economic management of the Conservatives, or will that be woven within the disconnect between good government and the distraction of partisan games? Whatever, I think everyone agrees that the really important point, the response must be persistent, prolific and pervasive.

There is one possible danger in merely doing a contrast on focus. While you highlight negative aspects of the Conservatives smear campaign, you don't address the substance of the ads directly. It's a tricky proposition, because if you start "defending", then you are really fighting on ground chosen by your opponent. Some would argue that the battle is half lost if you are operating within that dynamic. The Conservatives have concluded that they would like to have a conversation about Ignatieff's past, his patriotism and all the "questions" around his history. If Liberals present a counter that takes on directly, then you have ceded the thrust of the issue. However, if you ignore the thesis of the attacks, there is risk that eventually the frame takes hold.

I would side on Ignatieff directly addressing the substance of the attacks. I don't think you run counter ads on this score, the economy vs crap presentation is probably more effective. But, having listened to Ignatieff extensively now, he's actually at his best when he speaks about country and his perceptions of where we are, where we need to be, what unites us. When I say at his best, I mean my perception is that of a genuine desire, a intimate understanding, a true passion, which is articulated in such a way that Ignatieff renders the "out of touch" with Canada argument useless. If this presentation was forced, you might want to avoid it, but I honestly think Ignatieff comes across well when he speaks of country. There is a way to use the residency question, because it gives Ignatieff a forum to demonstrate why those attacks are baseless, it plays to a strength he's already demonstrated. If these attacks lead to a discussion about understanding the country and it's best interests, about US not HIM, Ignatieff can actually come across in a positive light, particularly when he's compared with Harper.

As far as mainstream ads and talking points, what Kinsella put out today is probably the best course. But, in terms of what Ignatieff puts forward, maybe a bit of both, the economy vs partisan pre-occupation contrast and a direct/indirect rebuttal of the Conservative attacks.


foottothefire said...

I'd suggest Liberals gather on the lawns of parliament and hold a prayer session. That or gather on a bus in Montreal and collectively pass gas.
Either way, some noise, any noise would be helpful just to let Canada know they're still alive.
Everyday Harper sends out the kids to play and the press is just full of one asinine moron or the other collegiately gathering attention, making sure that Conservative is mentioned again and again, everyday.
As for Kinsella; he's as warm as yesterday's toast - sue me.

RuralSandi said...


Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Was Gandhi a carpet-bagger?
In response to the sickening attack ads recently published by the Conservatives, I offer this small tidbit of information. Mohandas K. Gandhi left Indian in 1888 to study law in London after which he lived in South Africa for twenty-one years. During his time in South Africa Gandhi moved the nation and contributed significantly to the cause of the oppressed. When Gandhi returned to India after approximately 26 years he was greeted as a hero for the work he had done in the cause of justice. Even the poor and uneducated of India in the early years of the 20th century were able to look beyond their boarders and recognize that a contribution to the world by one of their own enriched all of them. Of course, as we all know, Gandhi went on to contribute incalculably to the nation of India both culturally and politically. Who were dare call this man a carpet-bagger?

H/T - kirbycairo (progressive bloggers)

Steve V said...

A lofty comparison, but it makes the point.