Musings —09.01.2015 08:11 AM—
- It’s September. It’s day 30 (by my count, anyway). And that means all of the parties are going to get really edgy, starting today. As the departed Rod Love once said to me: “When the water starts to drying up, all the animals start looking at each other funny.”
- In a national political campaign, certain things are ubiquitous. You have a leader. You have a campaign manager and campaign staff. You have fundraisers. You have advertising. You have a war room. You have policy. You have a tour team. You have speech writers. You have security and tech types and loads of other stuff. But the one thing you don’t have is this: unlimited time.
- As of today, time is becoming much more precious. As of today, staffers can say: “The vote is taking place next month.” As of today, staffers will peer up at that big campaign calendar on the war room wall, the one with 30 days X’d out, and shake their sleep-deprived heads, knowing that things are about to get really bumpy.
- The campaign grid is shrinking, baby. In any winning campaign I’ve worked on – under Jean Chretien/John Rae in Ottawa, or Dalton McGuinty/Don Guy in Toronto – we have had a campaign grid on the wall, indicating when we are having a health care announcement, or a jobs roundtable, or a big rally somewhere, or the launch of our policy book, or whatever. In a winning campaign, what you are doing (and when, and where, and with whom) is always on the grid. (And, naturally, the principal job of any of the war rooms I led for Messrs. Chretien, Rae, McGuinty, Guy was to find out what was on the other side’s campaign grid, and then blow it up.)
- As of today, all of the campaigns have two big problems. One, they are running out of runway. They are running out of days to tell a story that will win them a majority. Two, none of them seem to have a winning story. The polls reflect that, too: the economy is the electorate’s priority, and none of the parties has yet come up with an economic narrative that is a clear winner.
- As I told one commenter yesterday, I am like most Canadians in this regard. “I’m feeling like most Canadians, to tell you the truth: usually vote Liberal, but wonder if their leader is ready; think Conservatives haven’t been as radical as some predicted, but wonder if they’ve been there too long; can’t warm up to Mulcair if I tried, but appreciate the fact that the Dippers have abandoned a lot of their past radicalism. Oh, and I think the Greens are okay, but I don’t know a lot about them.”
- So, all the politicos are going to start looking at each other differently. And – mark my words – with things this tight, and the clock running out, it is going to get vicious. Which, naturally, I (and the much-missed Rod Love) love.