Friday, September 12, 2008

"Not A Leader"- "Not A Helpin"

Nothing says "backfire" like pulling down content, admitting that you want a "fresh look". The Conservatives confirm that "not a leader" has turned into an optics albatross:
The Conservatives have removed especially incendiary elements from their slick attack website targeting Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.

CTV Parliamentary Correspondent Graham Richardson reported Friday that the Tory war room confirmed taking a fresh look at the site and making changes.

An option to make your own Dion "inaction figure," a "street-debate" feature, an excuse generator, policy slot machine and an option to create your own Dion ad, have all been removed.

"It has become the first week story, the surprise. This much vaunted machine is becoming a bit of a story here. So they've adjusted the website, taken down some of the attacks on Stephane Dion and I suspect you're going to see less outrageous or hardline attacks on Stephane Dion since it has backfired."

Seems all the Conservatives have done this week is backtrack. The war room is looking more like romper room.


bigcitylib said...

Top story on CTV. Funny how the media has finally discovered a new narrative.

sassy said...

The Conservatives are not giving their albatross a makeover because they see it as being in bad taste - they are doing it because it has finally occured to them that it might not get them all the votes they so desperately crave.

It's called doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

Harper set the attack tone LOUD AND CLEAR a long time ago and it all comes back to him, not his mindless minions.

Red Tory said...

Big deal.

They've removed the most egregious element of a site that's still otherwise jam-packed with defamatory slime.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should think about the fact that this site has been up and running since January 2007 and that it is "well-branded" with Canadians because of Harper's relentless attacks on Dion since Dion became Liberal party leader. They've been promoting their attack ads on Dion since that time. I don't think Canadians are going to forget about that. A lot of the TV stuff is on YouTube -- as is this brilliant counterpoint by Rick Mercer (in which a kid asks his dad my the PM is suing Stephane Dion -- and the kid ends up getting sued by the PM, too)

Steve V said...


The fact they've been forced to alter provides poor optics. Leaving the rest on is another plus, because that site is now forever tied to low road smears. That site never helps the Cons now, they just haven't taken it off completely, because it would admit the failure.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Great headline. :-)

I get frustrated by so many bad headlines in the blogosphere (I mean, how enlightening is "Huh?"). Also posts without original commentary and including one intro line to a blockquote or, even worse, a two-word link such as Go. Read. - (that's a dud).

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this isn't as big a lead as one might hope.

The real headlines today are the fact that the conservatives appear to be gaining in tracking polls, in part because they responded to the gaffes in a way that show Harper as moderating his government. Oh, and the NDP vowing to fight for consumers.

Dion and the liberals are the third or fourth story down, something about the professor heading to BC to talk about his Green Shift plan.

Yeah, that's right. That's the story going into the weekend. Because why run a campaign when you have grocery shopping to do.


Yes, I am a little irritated.

The Liberals are running the most boring campaign in recent history. The agenda today is no different than the one 4 weeks ago when no one was paying attention.

But now that people might actually be listening, and might want to actually hear something. When they might be receptive to reading about the scandals swirling about the conservatives, might be receptive to their cuts to the arts, might be receptive to their muzzling of candidates on serious issues, might want to hear some outrage about the dozens or hundreds of campaign signs vandalized in Ontario (bet most of you didn't even hear abou that but then how would you have?), the Liberals have nothing to say on any of their topics.

They have a schedule. And it says Dion goes to BC, talks about Green Shift. There, all done, time for a nice leisurely weekend. As long as they are just going about their business, one meeting at a time, why worry.

Repeat refrain in all caps above.

Bottom line - The conservatives ought to be on their heels but why should they be when someone keeps handing them free passes.

I guess we can all just "hope" they keep making gaffes because the liberals sure aren't taking the fight to them.

Steve V said...


I actually think Dion has been pretty feisty, but it's simple not getting much play. Speculating of course, but I get the sense that the campaign is holding back until voters are more engaged. Someone did a study in the last Ontario election, and after a full week of the campaign, only 20% knew about the election. Now, mind you, I'm sure it's higher here, but we seem to have the view that we don't waste all our advertising budget now, we don't release a full platform until people are listening. I don't agree, especially with Harper dominating the airwaves, but they seem to have the "its only the first quarter" mentality.

Steve V said...


I'm not sure I follow.

burlivespipe said...

Dion's "While PM Harper was talking about firewalls in the west, I was fighting for my country" did get some good play yesterday, along with the glare from the Harper keystone kops' bungling. Can he build on it, tho? It's already been shown that Dion doesn't like to repeat his message, that once he's put it out there, he's moving on to the next topic. I'm hoping he stays with this charge for a few days because it fights back at the CON-forced image of the guy.
Unfortunately, the Harper gag law will likely eliminate the gaffes at some point.

Anonymous said...


Thanks the reassuring commments - seriously.

I lived in the US for most of my life so maybe I'm still adjusting to the Canadian way ; ).

As Canadians well know, races their draw out for years - inexplicably if you ask me. I think my dog could have predicted a "close race" now 18 months ago.

So I do tend to see this as a week lost. I still think it would have been better to come out punching on week one - particularly given the "liberals aren't ready" "liberal party is week" mem. Then, if they wanted, let the next couple of weeks flow a bit more "naturally."

My main issue is I see no "idea" no "vision" presented by the Liberals or Dion about what this election is about and why this election matters.

There is no theme, that I can surmise. And if there is one, it is something along the lines of "Dion will reassure people about the Green Shift and they'll come around."


But I will continue to hope and pray that will resolve itself shortly.

I fear otherwise that any later moves will just be seen as "desperate" and "weak" - descriptors that would be harder to apply if the party were seen as aggressively countering the conservatives from day one.

Steve V said...


I honestly think we should have done a ad blitz this week, simply because Harper had the airwaves to himself prior to the writ. It's fine to have a gameplan, but you have to be nimble too, and these polls reflect the face time gap.

Today's announcement was great, but it's also involved, so you're right we don't have the soundbite theme that we might need. That said, you have Harper saying anything to get votes, while Dion is offering a clear vision for the future. I thought what he said today, that in 10 years these gas prices will look like the good ole days, is a good wakeup call. This is reality folks, now who is going to do something about it?

Steve V said...


If Harper gags now, and goes into hiding, it will reaffirm the earlier view, the sweater will disappear.

Dame said...

I badly miss the PUNCHES too.
Are we still "holding back" or what?

I am angry