Musings —07.10.2011 05:50 AM—
So, on Super Bowl Sunday in 2007, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives launched an expensive ad campaign carefully designed to depict the then-Liberal leader as a weakling who couldn’t speak English. “Stephane Dion is not a leader,” the Super Bowl ad proclaimed.
The spot featured a clip of Dion and his leadership opponent, Michael Ignatieff, verbally sparring at a debate. Ignatieff tells Dion the previous Liberal government “didn’t get the job done” on the environment.
Dion, outraged, sputters: “This is unfair. Do you think it’s easy to set priorities?” Nowhere in the ad does Harper’s campaign team declare they were hoping to persuade one million Liberal voters to stay home.
But that in fact was their objective and they achieved it. Extensive focus group and polling research had told the Tories that while many Grits despised Harper, they also had serious misgivings about Dion’s “image” as a leader and his ability to communicate.