Musings —09.20.2011 08:55 AM—
Worth a read. Quote:
Mr. McGuinty is campaigning on a platform that the Liberals call “a serious plan for serious times” – which, they’re eager to point out, makes fewer expensive promises than those of their provincial competitors. And rather than trying to show passion, every event is aimed at displaying a sort of sturdy professionalism. Mr. McGuinty has spent most of the campaign so far touring factories or construction sites or hospitals and delivering slightly somber lectures on how well the province is moving forward.
Even at rallies, he’s keeping any emotions well in check. In his home riding of Ottawa South last week, a few hundred supporters were boisterous as they waited for Mr. McGuinty to make his entrance. But when he took to the microphone, rather than feed off the energy in the room, he brought it down a notch – making a relaxed and even-keel pitch for continuity in which he declined even to build to a big finish.
As much as it may be kryptonite for adrenalin junkies, it’s an understandable approach for incumbents who care less about being loved than about keeping their jobs. Just as Mr. Harper aimed to strike a contrast with a blustery Michael Ignatieff – and, ultimately a bigger challenge, with Jack Layton – Mr. McGuinty is trying to look like an adult next to the two rookie leaders he’s up against. Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak, in particular, seems to have played into that strategy by coming off intermittently glib and angry, pulling out props at some events and raising his voice about Mr. McGuinty’s failings at others.
In at least one regard, Mr. McGuinty is actually better suited to delivering the steady-as-she goes message than was Mr. Harper. Inoffensive and non-confrontational, he is not as personally polarizing as the Prime Minister. With his advisers spouting the mantra of “never too high, never too low,” he is a veritable comfort blanket of a politician.