Wednesday, March 04, 2009

How To Respond?

If the Conservatives do go negative, then the question becomes- how should the Liberals respond? Speculation, if the Conservative run ads, the Liberals will respond with ads of their own. No matter the financial circumstance, response ads are a necessity. A modest "buy" would be enough, because the free coverage and digestion after the fact would validate any expenditure and further the frame that the Liberals will no longer be bullied.

The only danger, with any response, the possible perception of a tit for tat pissing match between the two principle parties. People really wouldn't care who "started it" necessarily, so the Liberals would be wise to fashion a classy response, that strikes a tone of non-partisanship. I'm thinking the best response is to actually use the Conservative attack and shove it right back in their faces.

Just a thought, but something like a television in the background playing the Conservative attack ad, then start plastering newspaper headlines over the screen, with titles that speak to the dire economic data. The entire screen covered, then simply a question about leadership and priorities, asking Canadians if these attacks are what they expect from their government during an economic crisis.

That sort of response doesn't place the Liberals in the mud with the Conservatives. In fact it exposes their own obnoxious distractions, it actually mocks the source. The substance of any attack ad is secondary to attacking in the first place, you neuter the frame, while simultaneously appearing above the fray, almost a tsk tsk feel. I think any response by the Liberals should incorporate the attack ad, and make it more about the messenger, than the message. Then, when Canadians see or hear the Conservative campaign against Ignatieff, they are reminded of playing partisan games while the economy is crumbling. Hardly a net positive for the Conservatives, and you show the distinction.


RuralSandi said...

You know when they have the Statement of Members and the CONS do their partisan half-truth shots a Member of the Libs could get up when it's their turn and say, while the government caucus want to use taxpayer paid time to campaign while on TV, I'd like to commend (kudos to a consisuent or something)......

You know - point out that time in parliament is paid for by taxpayers and is not time that should be used for CON campaiging on the taxpayer dollars.

Each and every time the CONS try to campaign negatively while they're on TV...a Lib can keep that up.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! During the coalition "crisis" in Decemeber, we learned that Canadians are stoopid when it comes to understanding how Parliament works.

The Libs could/should run a series of ads educating the dumbass public on stuff majority vs. minority governments, the first past the post system, how HoC committees work, etc.

Keep a single message forefront: minority governments need to cooperate with the majority opposition if they are to get anything done. Canadians want our government to get things done. Keep harping on how Harper's failure to cooperate is a failure of effectiveness and a drag on the country.


Jim said...

Wouldn't your proposal kind of leave the central nonsense claims of Conservative ads unaddressed?

Isn't the main issue to ensure Conservatives don't successfully "define" Ignatieff?

We all kind of laughed off the "not a leader" label as so ridiculous (and the ads poorly done) given Dion's previous leadership on the clarity act and other issues and we even eventually responded a few months late with ads buys showing Dion's leadership at the climate conference in Montreal. But it was a little late as the media had already accepted the frame.

You rebutted the "themes" the Cons wanted to run with well the other day, why wouldn't we actuallly hit back with ads that included quick rebuttals followed by a highlight of some of Ignatieff's positives (standing above the fray, stands for national unity, etc...)?

Hitting back on talk shows isn't enough because we did that quite a bit with the anti-Dion ads and it wasn't sufficient.

If we don't directly address the attacks in ads of our own that reach people that don't watch the news then I think that carries a huge risk.

Remember Conservatives main hope as that we see Ignatieff as the Canadian John Kerry so we need to remember very well what happened to him when he didn't directly rebut the attacks against him (which were interestingly enough that he was a flip-flopper, an elitist and unpatriotic).

Steve V said...

Obviously, you respond in some capacity, but if you can undercut the premise, that's half the battle. Part of the problem in direct responses, you've put yourself on the defensive, rebutting ground the Cons have chosen to fight on.

I'm not worried about Kerry, he sat there and did nothing. The Obama campaign learned from those smears, just as I expect Ignatieff to have learned from Dion.

RuralSandi said...

I've, today, March 4th, receive the 5th ten percenter from my local Con MP.

In a bad mood, I phoned a left a message on the answering machine stating my anger about it.

Just received a call - a 613 Ottawa area code call - responding to my call.

Here's the spooky part - I did not leave a name and number. If they have call display, okay, BUT the guy asked for me by my "nickname/shorter version of my name". I'm listed in the phone book under my initials.

How the hell did he know my name when only my initials are listed - my shorter version of my name in fact.


Closing remarks, he said they will continue to send them, whereupon I said - you don't care how you spend MY taxpayer dollars and hung up.

Again, how did he know the short version of my name that friends and family call me?

Any of your readers receiving these ten percenters in rapid numbers like this?

Last time Harper did this - he called an election.

Karen said...

I've received 3 in 2 weeks Sandi. They are all from Harper.

RuralSandi said...

KNB - I'm still wondering how they knew my name - the name friends and family call me. I didn't think quick enough to ask.

Gives me the creeps.

I think Harper's readying to call an election.

Just before the last one - we got oodles of these ten percenters - remember the guys with the hoodies and all?

burlivespipe said...

While past practice was that Harper & co. got lots of mileage just out of 'unveiling' the ads for the media, now the story they are coasting on is just that 'there will be attack ads' and maybe hoping that it scares the Libs to do something pre-emptive that falls flat.
I thought Canadians could see through the last round of crapads but have been proven partly wrong... Now i'm thinking that Harper has too far painted himself as partisan with even the continued hint of 'attack ads' that it will damage his reputation and ability to offer a 'new sweater' schtick come election time. Ignatieff going out and standing firm, looking very leader like, on business channels, in the scrums, at town hall and party meetings. It's not just countering the CON ad, but also setting the tone that shows just how duplicitous Harper is, which will go to writing a good script for us.

sjw said...

How the hell did he know my name when only my..

Last month I sent an email to my newly minted Conservative MP. After receiving no reply, I telephoned his office to enquire about response times. The next day I received an email asking if I could "Kindly forward the e-mail from on or about February 6th". Apparently they had lost the original. The problem was/is they made the request to a different email account from the one I had initially used for my correspondence. When I emailed them the next day to ask how they obtained this particular address their short response was: "I asked our Ottawa office. Thank you." Now, I have never used this e-address to mail any political party, let alone the CPC. How did they get this address? I am angry about this, but have not decided what, if anything I should do about it. Anyone know how they may have obtained this address?

Karen said...

sjw and sandi, would you mind pasting your comments here?

I thought maybe we could put all this info together and not take Steve's post off it's message.

Tof KW said...

Folks, getting back onto the attack ads I’m pretty sure that everyone will agree that Harper & Co. will try to frame Ignatieff as a ‘Canadian of convenience’ or ‘not 100% Canadian’ or something along the lines of questioning his loyalty to this country. Yes I fully agree with F&W’s suggestion of shooting back with the ‘is this what we expect from our government during the worst economic crisis in a generation?’ ideas, also positive ads too of course. But a direct response to any ads making Ignatieff appear to be a less than is required.

Might I suggest turning this around to then point the finger at the Conservatives stating “If you have lived outside the country for part of your life that means the Cons do not consider you Canadian”, in essence any professional that had to move away to improve their careers are a sub-class in the ReformaTories’ eyes. This would include NHL hockey players too, meaning Wayne Gretsky or Mario Lemieux are not 100% Canadian. By this standard all soldiers serving overseas are not Canadian, All new comers to this country including the hard working ones are not Canadian, People offering research assistance overseas... not Canadian. Foreign dignitaries who spend years living away from this country... not Canadian; scientists contributing to world wide research in their fields cons don't consider them Canadian.... Canadians working for doctors without borders.... nope to conservatives you aren't Canadian either. Seriously, this response needs to be considered, it’s just too good to ignore.

Anonymous said...

I think Tof KW has a point. I mean, it would mean a pretty swift end to any outreach to immigrant communities.

Unfortunately, I think the actual attack will be a bit more vague than that, more in the elitist who jet sets kinda fashion.

But I think the Liberals should push back on the unmistakable message. Heck, if Harper and company are masters of anything, it is the extrapolation attack. If you don't support this specific Aghan policy (whatever it happens to be that day), then you "support terrorists." If you don't support a $3 Billion blank check, you "are starving the country of stimulus funds needed NOW" (disregard the bumbling political exercises we've undertaken for 10 months).

So if anything they say or produce even hints at "outside the country," slam back hard on Harper questioning the Canadian credentials of anyone who has ever ventured outside the borders - or come from beyond them - to build a great nation.

I think that as a secondary message to the primary message of "it's time for Harper and his pettiness to end" would be perfect.

Personally, I'm finding myself just tickled that Harper seems to think he can push the country into an election because he isn't be given a blank $3 billion check. Please, please, please let him be that stupid. Just this once. I just cannot imagine a better alignment for the Liberal than Harper running an election on the grounds that he "deserves" to run the country completely untethered. The multitude of ads on trust would just write themselves, bringing it all together, all those delightful shenanigans Harper and company have relished in and distracted the public from. There just aren't enough shiny objects to distract from them in an election called over "trust."

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

I think it's also important though that Michael be honest that he's changed over time and that he may have said some things in the past he regrets.

For instance, he evidently said in the early 1990s that the only thing he misses about Canada is Algonquin Park (note during the latest Maclean's interview he didn't deny saying it when confronted with the quote), but it's also known that by the late 90s he was writing about Canada and referring to himself to his colleagues at Harvard as a proud Canadian and this was before he ever thought about going back.

So just like Rae has been honest that he's changed since the early 90's so should Ignatieff. And quite frankly the stuff he's said in the early 90's is certainly no worse than what Harper was saying about Canada at that point in time.
And we tried to milk Harper's quotes for all we could in 2006 and no one cared. But that still doesn't mean that Ignatieff shouldn't address his past forthrightly. Canadians would think better of him for it.

He can certainly say he's always been proud of Canada which is something Harper certainly can't say with a straight face.

Steve V said...

Yes, the elitist who wades in every week and speaks with ordinary Canadians. As opposed to the man of the people, who has NEVER subjected himself to any interaction with the peons. You know, the guy who threatened to not appear on CBC if he had to take a question from a voter. What a hoot these Cons.