Didn't the Conservatives run a similar hide the candidate campaign in the London byelection with the former mayor? And she lost badly if I remember correctly. Came 3rd behind Pearson and May. People notice this stuff.
If you read Taber today, she calls it the classic frontrunner strategy. Completely misses the point, because as you note, no matter the positioning, this is standard for Conservative candidates. It's the same deal in Winnipeg North and she has no chance of winning.Let's hope Vaughan is the watershed reaction for these type of campaigns...
Fantino, considering his past positions as Police Chief (not a good record there and head of the OPP (not a terribly good record there) should have no problem speaking to the public - it was, afterall, part of his former jobs.There is no excuse.Why does Harper want to many police in his caucus?
Isn't that the saddest part of all, this is the guy who was the FACE for the police.
Steve V said..."If you read Taber today, she calls it the classic frontrunner strategy. Completely misses the point ... Let's hope Vaughan is the watershed reaction for these type of campaigns"A simple solution. All Liberal and NDP candidates should just stop going to these debates as well. THEN maybe our friggin' gutless media will notice & put up a stink.
Don't count on the media. Regional news media is spread thin and one less candidate debate to cover is good news in short-staffed newsrooms.Cons put a lot more effort and stock into GOTV campaigns. They're good at it and experience tells them it can more than make up for not appearing at a debate. Sad, yes. True, yes.By-elections usually attract less than 40% of eligible voters. Effectively getting out the vote can be even more decisive in a by election than in a general election.
Maybe Harper will try this tactic in the next election campaign and no matter what date is set for the leaders' debate, he will claim he has a prior commitment and can't make it. Then we can have a leaders debate between Ignatieff, Layton and Duceppe (must we endure Elizabeth may again??) and an empty chair marked PM Harper.I think that from a tactical POV it might make sense for Tories to avoid any debates - but at some point when their avoidance of the public and of any questions starts to become a story - it can and eventually will backfire. In the New Westminster-Coquitlam byelection last year - there started to be a flood of media stories about how the Tory know-nothing candidate was avoiding all debates and refusing to talk to the media. Its started to become a damaging story and she was crushed in the byelection.
I'm sure you realize DL that this is in fact a campaign strategy of the CPC. Plenty of their candidates never bothered to show up for local debates in both the 2006 and 2008 elections, let alone the various by-elections. I can only hope that what happened in New Westminster-Coquitlam ends up biting them in the ass in the other 307 ridings the next time around.
Stephen Taylor confirms that this is CPC policy.http://www.stephentaylor.ca/2010/11/peek-a-boo-politics/Excerpt:************************All candidates debates, while they sound great on paper, have very little value to the candidates themselves, especially if they represent mainline parties. If you’ve ever been to one of these events you know that each candidate brings their staff and volunteers and cheers and jeers and “engagement” with the “voting public” comes in the form of planted question after planted question. All-candidates debates sound good on paper, but in practice they’ve become farcical. All-candidates debates are more accurately described as “all-decided”.In fact, when we used to train campaign managers (of all stripes) at the Manning Centre, we advised that all-candidates debates should actually be avoided if possible. Why? Because more accessible (leaning or undecided) voters are met at the door or on the telephone. A candidate’s time is much better invested knocking on doors or by doing telephone canvassing. All-candidates debates turn into a competition for fevered applause versus exaggerated boos for all candidates. The media is disappointed when a candidate does not show, of course, because these “debates” are a lazier opportunity for “getting the pulse” of the “electorate”. In fact, we used to advise candidates show to as few as possible in order to check the box for the media.************************
I can understand Stephen Taylor's point that candidate's should not feel that they have to go to all-candidates debates every day of the campaign etc...but I think its important to attend at least one or two - it may be true that the live audience is all partisan decided voters - but many times these debates get covered in the news media and particularly in a byelection where there is no national race to focus on there may be live coverage on the news and youtube snippets made available and accounts in the newspapers and on blogs. These will be seen by many, many people. I think that as a matter of principle - if you run for office you should have to face your opponents and field questions at least ONCE.
Stephen Taylor is right to a point. All candidates meetings usually do not impart any useful information to those voters who are attending as the candidates usually just regurgitate party talking points.However, avoiding these meetings can cause a narrative that a candidate is afraid to face the voters to develop, as we have seen in this case and as we have seen in several others.If that narrative gets cemented into the consciousness of voters then the candidate could be in big trouble as we have also seen in some cases.JimBobby pointed out that the Conservatives are probably counting on their GOTV efforts but a prerequisite for the success of that effort is to identify enough supporters that it will win you the election when you pull them on e-day. That is harder to do if a negative narrative about your campaign takes hold.
Fantino's apparent disdain for enforcing the law in Caledonia (of course, under McGuinty's direction) would make him unelectable in my eyes, were I in his riding.However, the "hide away and avoid controversy" campaign was used in the last two elections by my MP, the current Speaker of the House. It's typical of front-runners.
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