Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Election Readiness

There is no question, that the lack of election readiness in 2008 really cost the Liberals. Clearly caught flat footed out the gate, the first days, not to mention the preamble were squandered, which set a very negative tone that haunted. That's why, timing aside, it's nice to hear a quiet confidence coming from Liberal ranks that we will be ready this time:
Michael Ignatieff's Liberals are stepping up their election readiness, preparing attack ads against the Harper Conservatives...

The Liberal Leader has already posed for campaign pictures at his official residence, Stornoway. And as many as 40 candidates out of a possible 75 in Quebec will be nominated by Labour Day.

Senator David Smith, one of the co-chairs of the national campaign, says the Liberals are in “good shape” in the rest of Canada as well with the bulk of the 233 other candidates ready to go by mid-September.

But Albina Guarnieri, a senior Ontario Liberal MP who chairs Mr. Ignatieff's early-morning strategy group when the House is sitting, says the summer really isn't the time to do that. No one is really paying attention.

She says Mr. Ignatieff will begin soon to “showcase his ideas and he'll make his case.”

Of course, the now typical "where's he been" from Rona, I mean Jane, but the rest of the piece actually suggests what he's been up to- getting a platform together and preparing for an election. With the summer lull ending, all this lazy criticism will fade if the Liberals appear confident and capable. Appearing "ready" is clear part of the psychological equation, because we know well how any hint of weakness will be seized upon.

We're starting to get a sense of messaging, by all accounts a great deal of work is going into this platform, in many ways were poised to finally create a compelling narrative. Let's put it this day, you'd much rather have the media beating up on during the summer, than when it really counts come fall. "We've got our shit together", coffers full, ads already in the hopper, a thick red book, ready on the ground, you give the appearance of a credible government in waiting. If anyone doubts this, just look at the opposite situation last year, how the perceived "shaky" prepardness fed itself into a not ready for prime time narrative.

A small part of the puzzle, but maybe not when you consider the importance of optics.


Anonymous said...

I hope you're right about the election preparedness.

√Čric said...

I hope there's an election this fall, simply because I love them. It's like the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, and Christmas all in one. Nothing beats election night coverage. Maps, graphs, stats, political parties...gives me chills!

Anonymous said...

as much as i would like to believe all our hype about being ready for the election i would like to see some real proof. As a campaign manager for the last three campaigns and the manager of record for the next one in a GTA riding I find it strange that there has been NO communication from LPC or LPCO at any level. Do we still have field workers? The campaign database software is "a work in progress" that has yet to be field tested. I can see all the OLO kiddie corp lining up to work in the war room but not much else happening. The Ontario campaign co chairs have been completely invisible.

DL said...

The Liberals may or may not be ready for an election - but I don't take Sen. David Smith's word for it. He said that the party was so well prepared before the last election too. Its part of his job to create spin that the Liberals are well-organized - whether they are or not.

penlan said...

There's no candidate in my riding, Perth-Wellington, & no nominee race yet. Not a peep anywhere. I've emailed the Assoc., written on 2 of their sites they have on Facebook & no answer. One Facebook site hasn't had a comment since 2008.

That does not look ready to me. It's frustrating that I don't even get responses to emails. We are already dead in the water here.

Steve V said...

Compare where we are in Quebec right now, preparded wise, to last year at this time. There's no comparison. I would look at this in totality, rather than individual beefs or ridings. Doesn't look like hype to me, we look a lot more prepared than in the past, OVERALL.

Just to add, part of the equation is the optics of looking prepared, giving a sense that you're ready. Don't underestimate that factor, because it keeps the vultures away.

Calgary Junkie said...

I don't wanna scare you guys, but here is the gist of what Paul Adams of Ekos told Rutherford this morning:

"When Iggy threatened an election [in June] the Liberals TANKED OVERNIGHT ... Canadians woke up the next day and heard this election talk ...he took a BIG HIT in the polls"

Iggy has got to finesse the narrative leading up to the non-confidence vote so that HE is not seen as the guy triggering it. Can he do it ?

If not, and if the "why are we having an election" talk continues for too long, then you guys
wrong footed again.

sjw said...

There's no candidate in my riding, Perth-Wellington, & no nominee race yet. Not a peep anywhere. I've emailed the Assoc., written on 2 of their sites they have on Facebook & no answer.

Ditto here in West Nova. Although it should be noted that former MP Robert Thibault was among the throng to meet and great Ignatieff at the Yarmouth airport the other week. I think there is likely a comeback try in the works. Twice I emailed the local riding association to offer volunteer services and never heard a word back. Well, good luck to them.

Steve V said...


I don't dispute that. However, part of the change in the polls was that we came off as weak, making all these demands then backtracking. I remember those polls, and they really changed as soon as we came off as the losers in that showdown. Here's the pdf (http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/0779-Full%20report%20_June%2018(5).pdf) and you'll not the numbers dove June 16, which was the day of all the negative coverage that we'd backed down. The day Ignatieff threatened an election we polled at 37%. If you look at the next week's poll, you see our support lagging, Cons up all of sudden- I attribute that to the narrative that Harper got the best of Ignatieff, we fumbled.

Again, I hear you on the worrying part, but only when we "lost" the faceoff did the polls turn, which tells me it was more about the dynamics rather than merely threatening.

Jerry Prager said...

And just to restate one of my bug bears, the trending of the polls on the Thanksgiving weekend last year saw Dion and co on an uptick that was only kyboshed by - wait for it - CTV's release of the lousy question tape, by the Duffyized universe beforte he got rewarded to the Senate, go fat man go.

penlan said...

sjw wrote:
"Twice I emailed the local riding association to offer volunteer services and never heard a word back. Well, good luck to them."

That's exactly how I feel sjw. If they can't be bothered with regular, grassroots party members then don't ask me to volunteer again like last time. We are so unprepared for an election which could happen in early Nov.

Same thing in the last election. Our riding was a complete mess, disorganized, etc. Didn't even get the campaign lit. until 4 days before the vote. Pathetic.

Steve, I understand what you're saying - about perception of readiness, but NOT being ready is no good. My riding isn't the only one that has nothing happening & no candidate, etc.

Steve V said...


Are you involved in your riding? It's hardly a winnable one at the moment, we lost 2 to 1 last time out. I hear you, but I'm more concerned that we have candidates in potential pickups, that's the first priority at the moment. Oh, and a plane :)


It probably cost us 15-20 seats at a minimum, so outrageous when you think about it. Even if we didn't win, a stronger showing and Dion might have been able to make the coalition fly.

CanadianSense said...

Steve V.

I am also looking forward to reading the "ambitious" policies and platform.

I hope voter turnout does increase by at least 3%.


rockfish said...

Any guest on Rutherford's show knows not to preach to the converted. As to finessing the narrative, i guess the precedent is the 'I don't want an election' master Harper himself. He cranked that one up last year, even broke his own law... looks like he did okay (except for almost breaking up Canada thing afterwards)...

penlan said...

I'm involved in my riding if there was something to be involved in here. There has been zero going on & as I said no response to emails with my offers of help in any area & absolutely nothing going on for a long, long time.