Monday, October 13, 2008

Best Of Election 2008

Just for fun:


Partisan opinion aside, the NDP have ran the best campaign of the principles. Focused from the start, the language targeted and consistent, the NDP strategists were clearly ready for this election, and they've ran strong from start to finish. I also thought the NDP had some of the more effective ads, edgy and modern, quite different from the cookie cutter approach of others. Having ample funds helped, but Layton did a very good job of keeping the NDP in the headlines, the nonsensical "running for PM" line created some buzz, so in the final analysis it was a solid move.


From the "what were they thinking" department, Harper's criticisms of artists, more specifically the galas, will be remembered by historians as the turning point in this election. Others, might also highlight the youth crime policy, but really it was this tin ear attack on the cultural community that turned the Quebec race, Duceppe and other seized on the moment, and the Conservatives never recovered. A colossal error.


Taking both debates in totality, Stephane Dion performed the best. I was simply amazed to watch Gilles Duceppe constantly refer to Dion when speaking in the French debate, it was there that I knew he was projecting an air of authority, he had taken control. Let's not forget, the Liberals were in freefall in Quebec, had Dion done anything less, the Liberal prospects quite dim. Dion didn't do as well in the English debate, but he had some excellent moments, and I think he helped his case.


It's a superficial point, but then again it's a shallow pool election. Layton's sweater crack in the English debate was a winner, even if it was a cheap shot. As soon as I heard, I looked over to my wife and said, "there's your debate soundbite". I say it was the best moment, because it also highlighted how badly Harper performed, it was the beginning of the out of touch sentiment, and it also kept the NDP in the conversation.


Nobody could have predicted that the economic meltdown would occur in the midst of the campaign. Effectively, the election was divided into two, and Harper really suffered for a few days, while the Liberals enjoyed a bounce. It was very interesting to see how the various parties reacted on their feet, without the advantage of carefully crafted, predictable talking points. I actually think the Liberals out flanked the Conservatives on the economy, which was amazing, when you consider it was the supposed strength, but once again the Conservatives demonstrated their lack of pragmatism, an inability to roll with the punches. However, the Liberal strategy pettered out as the stock market decent proceeded, too timid for my liking, which allowed the Conservatives to regain the advantage.


While it didn't seem to do much for our campaign, Dion's speech at the Economic Club in Toronto was the highlight. Don't take my word for it, rare praise given to Dion by the press, he hit all the right notes and everybody was forced to recognize. That the speech was in English, makes it all the more impressive, given the mindless criticisms of second language proficiency.


The best part about this election concluding, I won't have to listen to Harper say "friends" during a campaign rally. Like he was channeling McCain, Harper used the word ad nauseum, it was so hollow and repetitive, only a koolaid drinking partisan could stand it. A honorable mention for "the kitchen table", while probably effective messaging, Layton's usage got tiring fast. Ditto for Dion's "a richer, fairer, greener" Canada, I've heard this for months and it's always struck me as an empty generalization that never connects.


The hands down winner, CPAC. Not because they did anything extraordinary, only because they showed unedited coverage of all speeches and press conferences. It allowed voters a chance to make up their own minds, rather than the subjective soundbite routine of the other networks. Less is more, when it comes to talking heads.


Wow, this is a hard one. If there is anything more pathetic than Mike Duffy announcing the Dion interview tape as though the Zapruder film let me know. To other's credit, both Duceppe and Layton came to Dion's defence, and some media outlets rightfully questioned the ethics of releasing the tape in the first place. A really shameful episode, that frankly hurt the Liberals, at the worst possible time. After the election, I would encourage all potential Liberals guests to boycott O'Reilly's, I mean Duffy's show.


Listening to Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke try and spin the Cadman tape expert analysis as validation of the Conservatives position. I don't think I've ever seen a man swallow that hard, as though the lie was a cement block running down a straw. It was so sad, it actually made me laugh, poor guy.


The only time I've seen widespread passion in the public this election, when May was initially excluded from the debate. The reaction was forceful, and quite surprising, people were almost uniformally pissed. It really was a pleasant surprise, the apathetic public rose out of it's slumber and effectively forced May into the debates, despite the best laid plans of others.


Anonymous said...

On first reading, you sound pretty reasonable, and very non-partisan Steve. Except that it's the Zapruder film, with a "p". A fact which undercuts your whole analysis. You obviously have no idea what you're talking about. :)

Francesco said...

Hey Steve
you are most correct on the conservatives outflanking us on the economy...we identified the issue first with canadians i.e. during the french debate but after two or three days the tories ran with the was easy to for dion to say i have a plan but once that is said you need dion to state what the plan and offer concrete specifics that shows leadership, and it shows you both understand as well as empathize with the voters concerns...harper can't empathize b/c his personality is such but that does not mean he doesnot understand and cannot ennuciate (sp?) what measures can and will be taken...

Jerry Prager said...

Dion couldn't do any better with the economic issue simply because it was a moment for those with actual power to act. Harper always comes late to a party because he is essentially a reactionary, and the reality is, just as he was wrong about Iraq, Harper was wrong about the financial concerns of Canadians, but once he'd been shamed into facing the truth, only he was in a position to actually act. If Harper wins, then our ability to head off environmental disaster will be delayed which we cost all of us, including the children of those who voted for Harper, and they will eventually wake up as ashamed of themselves as were those Ontarions who aided and abetted Mike Harris's war on the poor and on natives. When the wheel turns again as if surely must, Tory lack of action and honesty on the environment will lead to an eventual repudiation of the Conservative brand for another generation, forty years in the wilderness is my guess before they are allowed near power again. Harper will have failed at his central hope, establishing Conservatives as the natural governing party of Canada, just as his good friend George W. Bush will go down in history as the greatest failure in American politics.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Good choices on the whole. As for best campaign, I would say a close tie between the NDP and Bloc Quebecois. I agree Harper's comments on the arts is what killed his prospects of a majority. The crime bill may have hurt him in Quebec, but it was popular in the 905 belt and Lower Mainland suburbs so this essentially cancelled out any damage in Quebec from it. On the other hand, the arts comment only helped the Tories in their current strongholds and hurt them badly in Quebec, otherwise a big loss as winning by a larger percentage in Western Canada and Rural Ontario won't mean any new seats.

Steve V said...

Tough crowd on the typo.

JimmE said...

Perhaps you should add:

"Biggest Egocentric Blog (there's a redundancy 8 D) - in an election or; in the whole entire universe"


Whazhisname - Mr K.

Anonymous said...

Some of the con fan club is now saying that the drop in the polls in Quebec following the art comment was illusory. Essentially coming from people who didn't want to admit that they were voting conservative and will switch back in the privacy of the voting booth.

I don't know those in Quebec well enough to know.. is this true? Are they that strong in their arts support that that single thing could have turned so many people away from Harper? I mean, I hope so, but the election is nearly upon us, and I'm a pessimist.

Anonymous said...

re: Anon

I can't speak for 'Quebec' per say, but I do know that the French community where I am from, the arts and cultures are revered as the end all and be all.

It's basically the only point that 'defines' them and protects them from the ever looming shadow of English Canadian Culture. Without those 'artsy' types, they wouldn't have any Quebec TV shows to call their own, music, drama ( the list goes on ). They hold on very dearly to what they do have, and any attack against ' the french Culture ', especially by an Anglophone from Alberta who clearly doesn't 'get it' , is not well perceived!

They pretty much see it as an attack against their society or way of life even!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:25 a.m. - there may be a bounce back for the Conservatives in Quebec but that just means they might hold on to the seats they have, that's all.

I think the ATV interview was an awful way to end the campaign, because the campaign ended for all intents and purposes on Saturday and that was still in the news 48 hours after the the interview.

If the Liberals do worse than 26-7 per cent, this may be the reason, same thing if the Cons do better than 34-5.