That's the one word that describes a successful political strategy. You come up with a strategy, based on the evidence at hand, but you keep your eyes on the future, try and stay ahead of the curve and then quickly adapt where necessary. I would describe the current economic state as an example where one has to remain nimble at all times. Today's fairly impressive retail sales figures provide further evidence that the worst may be behind us on the economic front. That doesn't mean to suggest it's still not a rough road ahead, only that we're in the stage of recovery where mixed signals will abound, replacing the daily diet of cataclysmic data. For an opposition party, the past few months have made for easy pickings, as we could constantly bombard the government with the most offensive of figures. The government had no control, simply in damage control mode, trying to ride it out and keep themselves above water. These dual dynamics no longer apply.
Looking forward, there will be plenty of evidence to bash the government with, so we still have the "wear it" factor on the recession. However, there is enough good news now to make a credible counter, not to mention a rising sense within the public that better times are around the corner. No point debating the validity of that psychology, but we should proceed with that in mind.
The new debate will most likely shift from present economic circumstance to one of future direction. The Conservatives will obviously use the "turned the corner" argument, they've taken us through the worst and we're well positioned to come out strong, particularly on the world "relative" front. We will obviously continue to attack their record, but that won't be enough I suspect. What will be required is an effective counter that resonates, something akin to a "5 year plan". The Liberals need to stake the new ground, position themselves as best able to bring us back out of deficit, best able to modernize our economy. Rather than simply beating the Conservatives over the head, we will know have to look the better alternative. "Kick the bums" out, under the pretext of falling economic fortunes isn't the winner it looked just two months ago.
The fact the government still sits tied in the polls, having come through this maelstorm isn't easily fluffed off, it gives reason for some optimism on their side. Not great optimism, problems still abound and the Liberals have plenty in our quiver as well, but much better placed than anytime this year. This reality necessitates that we bring more to the table than simply opposing. Harper isn't popular, but we're not a compelling alternative either, which might explain why we've lacked maximum capitalization. Timing is another consideration, but beyond that, I now think there is no doubt of one thing, which again speaks to a nimble approach- we have to give them a reason to turf the government, the benefit of friendly headlines no longer a given.
Future forecast calls for partly cloudly skies and near seasonable temperatures. Let's dress accordingly.