Musings —03.31.2011 06:46 AM—
- Holy canoly, was that a wacky day or what? NDP candidates become Liberal supporters. Former Liberal candidates become Conservatives. Conservatives continue to break the rules they put in place. Debate threats issued on Twitter, just like in junior high. Like Mayor Lastman would say: it’s craaaaaazy! Anyway – it was a nutty campaign day, yesterday. But one thing I am hearing all over: Ignatieff and his Liberals are doing better than expected. And Harper and his Reformatories are doing worse than expected.
- Liberals surging! Swear to God, hook me up to a lie detector, I wrote the above bullet before someone in the Lib war room tipped me to the new Nanos numbers – Conservatives 39, Liberals 32, NDP 15. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a race! Why’s it happening? Four reasons, previously canvassed exhaustively in this space in recent weeks: (a) the Conservative ads went too far, and lowered expectations about Ignatieff – and he’s exceeding those expectations, now that he’s got and ad-and-news-coverage parity; (b) Iggy is turning in pretty good campaign effort; (c) Harper is phoning it in – he’s looking washed out and listless (for instance, he looked awful at that in-the-round, no-podium rally yesterday, like a chartered accountant in the middle of an airport line-up), and he clearly had started to believe his own propaganda about his main opponent; (d) Jenni Byrne ain’t Doug Finlay. Big time. It’s still early, early days – but the Libs feel like they have the winning campaign. And they do.
- The Bermuda Triangle of Politicos: The Dippers lose one to the Grits, and the Grits lose one to the Reformatories, here – while the Reformatories lose staffers to scandal on a daily basis, here. I can say that in the case of Genco, he was in my office just a couple of weeks ago, asking my advice about what to do. I asked him if OLO wanted him back. He said Pat Sorbara did, but Peter Donolo didn’t. Donolo won the debate, I guess, and Genco lost the nomination. Genco thereupon threw a hissy fit, and decided to hurt the party that has helped him out so many times. What do I think? Like Rocco Rossi, I think Tony looks like a bloody fool. Liberals – without whom he wouldn’t have had bus fare – will go out of their way to hurt him; principled Conservatives will never fully trust him. He, like Rossi, have become one of the political undead.
- Worst writing of the campaign so far: Earl McRae – who, seven years ago, mocked my father’s death to make a political point, and which I will never forgive – is someone who should have retired long ago. His latest column about Ignatieff, which I won’t even link to, is a damned disgrace. We may ultimately write for the same company, but I won’t hesitate to say when I think a writer has embarrassed himself. This is one of those times.
- Elizabeth May, Professional Complainer: As I opined yesterday, and as others seemingly agree, she has no place in the debates. If the broadcast consortium flip-flops like they did in 2008, I hope lawyers for the Marijuana Party, the Marxists-Leninists and the Yogic Flyers all start suing for a place at the table, too. None of them have seats in Parliament, like May, and all of them get votes right across the country, like May. If she gets in, they should too.
- Lobbyists and campaigns: Speaking as someone who is proud to lobby on behalf of those who fight for the environment, small business, animal protection, the poor, farmers and a tobacco-free Canada, I think this “no lobbyists on campaigns” rule is stupid. STUPID. Advocating on behalf of others is part of democracy – and who else is going to be most enthusiastically involved in democratic contests, but those selfsame advocates? This whiter-than-white piety is just going to push people underground, and make voters more cynical about political parties. It’s idiotic.
- Masticate about fate of debate: Look, if Messrs. Harper and Ignatieff really want to have a one-on-one debate, I have no authority whatsoever from Sun TV to offer them a platform. But I rather suspect Kory and Luc will think it’s a great way to kick off the network’s debut, a couple weeks from now. Meanwhile, as I twittered last night from the Raps-Bucks game (we lost, again), inflatable Raptor – who is a big crowd favourite, with thousands of fans, me included – doesn’t have a seat in Parliament, either. On his behalf, I hereby demand a spot in the debates! Seriously, though, the debate is a big deal – and a possibility for a real game-changer for Ignatieff. Moreover, the timing of the debates gives Harper precious little time to recover from a winning Grit performance. Tune in!
- Pic of the day: Well, it isn’t actually a pic – it’sa vid, and it captures Harper neatly summarizing the kind of campaign he’s been having so far: one “miscue” after another.