I think you can make a convincing case that Toews personal life in this instance was relevant, given assertions he was making, the record contradicted the disingenuous optics. That said, the whole Vikileaks account was bad form, despite an early follow, I declined to reciprocate, it was irrelevant to the matter at hand and above all it was entirely mean spirited. My instant instinct- which I shared with a couple of people- was that the formal nature of the accounting reeked of professional research and I "bet" it was an opposition party. Sadly, now that the dust settles it turns out it was a Liberal staffer in our research department, which meansour donations were effectively fueling this person's activities, it was done on our time so to speak.
There are some real important lessons learned here, the particular timing sadly perfect in terms of clarity. Here we are, on a day when Parliament returns with a maelstrom circling, and one Liberal has managed to distract attention, throw ourselves into the unseemly soup, rather than Conservatives drowning, a certain shame from our quarter and a general sense that we're all the same. A caveat, by NO means am I elevating this to the level of "robocalls", only an acknowledgement that it's a bit hard to take the high road when you yourself are on the defensive. This day took a shocking turn, and in so doing, took some heat off where it should be and left us scrambling, unnecessarily.
Again, I don't like hard and fast rules, Toews personal life was relevant because of his assertions, like any public account, I feel there is an obligation to assert discrepancies, personal or not. I'd also add I don't feel that is some tortured "rationalization", due to political bent, that conveniently cheapens a legitimate argument. However, the idea that some person in our research bureau was spending his day pumping out sordid details- in reaction to an issue completely detached from the subject matter- it was low brow, it was dirty and it should never be sanctioned by a party or its subordinates.
What we have to realize here, the public doesn't go over all the nuance, that is the realm of the small geekdom class, who forever have trouble realizing the difference. Today, I'm sure many a casual observer is saying "oh, they're all the same", the two matters melt into a indictment of our political masters, we are all sullied. And, this stark reality is why it is very hard for any political party to claim true moral high ground, they are constantly met with hypocritical instance and selective outrages. Today, only adds to the confusion, and unfortunately a mountain meets a molehill and you're left with a murky picture.
I suspect Liberal staffer is a one day affair, this "robocall" issue simply dwarfs in so many ways, fundamentally the two issues aren't even in the same conversation, obviously. However, the real lesson here is, tonight, right now, a lot of people can't tell the difference.