- About those Liberal ads: If you think you’ve been seeing a lot more of them, this campaign, it’s because you have. Last time around, Stephane Dion, God bless his soul, didn’t want to plumb the advertising depths in the way that Stephen Harper had done. For ten days into the writ, his senior guys had ads ready to go – but Dion refused to give the green light. By the time the Red Leaf folks said they were going to run the ads whether the leader liked it or not, the damage was done. One of my best pals, Bob Richardson, is running Red Leaf this time – and Bob (like me) believes in strike first, strike hard, strike often. You’ll see the impact in next week’s batch of polls.
- The shift begins: As I opined in the Sun yesterday, the Michael Ignatieff depicted in the Conservative attack spots isn’t the Michael Ignatieff Joe and Jane Frontporch are seeing on their TV sets. That, plus the fact that the HARPER HEADING TO MAJORITY headlines are unsettling for lots of demographics (see below) is hurting the Cons. Thus this Nanos. The Tory lead has shrunk considerably.
- Harper’s a Meanie: Hearing this a lot, lately. At the Ontario budget speech, yesterday, a teacher approached me and said that she’s starting to experience a visceral reaction to Stephen Harper’s M.O. ”He’s so damned mean-spirited, I find it hard to believe, sometimes,” she said. ”My friends feel the same way.” That demo – female, university-educated and/or youngish – is what denied Harper a majority for the past three attempts. More here and here, from female writers. Will women deny him this time around, too?
- May’s Boring: Look, Liz, we all (me included) wanted you in the debate last time. Price of admission? Your suggestion that you would win seats. Well, you didn’t. You had your shot, you blew it. When you get invited to the big kids’ table, you have to show you belong. You didn’t. You don’t.
- What does a war room do? As I have told every youngster who falls into my clutches at the start of every campaign, OUR JOB IS NOT TO WIN THE WHOLE CAMPAIGN BY OURSELVES. Instead, I tell them, yelling entirely in caps, our job IS TO WRECK THE OTHER SIDE’S CAMPAIGN DAY, ONE DAY AT A TIME. And, if you do that for nine days out of a 36-day writ, you have eliminated the other side’s ability to tell their story for a quarter of the campaign. And that’s a campaign that cannot win. Thus, poor Sebastien Togneri. The hapless Tory aide, being probed by the RCMP, helped the Liberal war room to stomp all over Harper’s message of the day on Tuesday. That’s a win, in my books.
- …speaking of war: We are, for the second time in a short time, a nation at war. Just before the election started, the Harper Reformatories effectively declared war on Mu’ammar Qadhafi. They then proceeded to avoid saying anything – anything at all – about the war they committed us to. Where are the media? Where are the Opposition parties? I believe it is right to finally dislodge Qadhafi from power – I wrote a book about it – but do you? And do you agree we need to know more about Canada’s secret war?
- Tim Harper’s back! My chum Harper is back in the Star, and (per usual) doing good work. Tim highlights the reality of this campaign so far – apart from weird hacks like thee and me, no real people are paying any attention to this race yet. They won’t for a while yet, either. So, effectively, the race isn’t 36 days long – it’s about 16 days long for all in the race. That changes perspectives. Or should. And it explains why Harper isn’t looking rattled yet.
- Pic of the day: Look, I’m an amateur musician too (and I’m really amateur). But, having last night spied Harper’s wince-inducing spin on the ivories with that Winnipeg kid who is gaga for Lady Gaga, I think it’s time for the Tory backroom to hang up his piano. I suck, too, fellas in the Tory war room, but I try not to inflict my lack of talent on national television. Enough, already. It’s boring and, frankly, embarrassing. Pic, therefore, of the day:
[Suggest your own caption song lyrics here! - ed.]