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Warren Kinsella - WHITHER MR. LEVANT
 

"...[Kinsella is] a modern-day Machiavelli, the mastermind who ran war rooms for Jean Chretien and Dalton McGuinty... He's the ultimate political insider... [The War Room] has plenty of fascinating insights and is a must-read for political junkies."

- The Toronto Sun


"The top Canadian spin doctor...tells all!"

- The National Post


"Warren Kinsella’s new book is a must-read for anyone interested in political campaigning in Canada. And not just political campaigning.…I wish I’d had the chance to read The War Room before I became Stephen Harper’s campaign manager; it might have saved me from many mistakes and months of painful learning on the job."

- Tom Flanagan, The Literary Review of Canada


"The War Room is a rich, detailed, and substantive primer on how to run a winning war room - warts, pizza boxes, smelly couches and all - from a master war roomer."

- The Hill Times


"Kinsella has crafted a handy little guide for politicos and non-politicos alike. Just keep it away from the kids."

- The Winnipeg Free Press


"... a great read ... full of fascinating stories..."

- John Moore, CFRB


"...I don't want to say [he's a] genius...but there's valuable insights here..."

- John Oakley, AM640


"I just got one copy, but I plan to get more!"

- John Wright, Ipsos, CFRB


"I do recommend [The War Room] to everyone."

- Charles Adler, Adler Online


"He's Canada's James Carville...a must-read...If you really want to win, you need this book!"

- Tommy Schnurmacher, CJAD


"A fascinating book...full of great stories."

- Ken Rockburn, CPAC

WHITHER MR. LEVANT 

I am informed that someone named Ezra Levant is working in the Conservative Party war room.

Would this be the same Ezra Levant who:

• Favoured Quebec separation, and in fact wrote a column in the Calgary Sun (from which he was later fired) titled ‘Ten Reasons To Hope For a Yes Victory’?
• In the same column, called for the elimination of bilingualism and multiculturalism, and said that it would give government “fortitude” to reject First Nations and those working to protect the environment?
• Defends, and promotes, the leader of the neo-Nazi Heritage Front in his attacks on Jews, gays, immigrants and others? Who defends a pro-Nazi woman who rails against Jews and calls for “racial purity”?
• Allows publication of death threats about other lawyers on his web site?

There’s more, lots more, all on the public record.

What isn’t on the public record – yet – is whether Ezra Levant is on a leave of absence to work on the Conservative campaign.

Could the Tories be that dumb?
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DAY 5: KINSELLA'S CLEAR CANADIAN CAMPAIGN COVERAGE  



WINNER: Green party leader Elizabeth May, hands-down. Through sheer doggedness, she forced Messrs. Layton and Harper to fold like, as I put it yesterday, a cheap green suit, followed shortly thereafter by the media bosses. If the leaders of assorted fringe parties aren’t now going to take a stab at getting in on the fun, I’ll be amazed.
LOSERS: Hypocritical and dishonest broadcast executives – who, having run the debates like a personal fiefdom for years, are now attempting a whiplash-inducing volte face. Burman has always been a particularly loathsome creature, but he’s by no means alone. Watch for an avalanche of similarly self-serving op-eds by broadcast execs in coming days, as they attempt to persuade us all that they were always models of democracy and transparency.
WINNERS: Female voters. Women are smarter than men. It’s just a fact. God speaks to me, like She does Sarah Pallin, and She told me. And, as I told a Liberal caucus member yesterday, women will put the brakes on any potential Tory majority, just as they did in 2004 and 2006. There isn’t a man in Canada who believes that, but men are stupid. You’re welcome.
• Finally, no winner or loser, here – just the visual of the day. When one of my colleagues sent this shot around, I burst out laughing. I don’t know what he was thinking, but the expression is priceless.


"Puffin? What's a puffin?"

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DIPPERS AND TORIES FOLD LIKE A CHEAP GREEN SUIT 

So the boys are revising their opinions, mid-campaign. Having debated her myself, I don't see why they were so worried in the first place. After eyeballing this bit of video, even my most ardent red-necked, mouthbreather detractors were saying I won!

UPDATE: And now the media barons have folded, too:

May gets OK to join leaders debates (URGENT-FedElxn-Debate-Ba)
Source: The Canadian Press
Sep 10, 2008 16:59


OTTAWA - Green Leader Elizabeth May will get a chance to debate her fellow party leaders after all.

The TV network consortium that runs the election debates reversed course today, announcing that May can participate.

They made the change after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Jack Layton both backed down from their opposition to May's involvement.

The pair had contended that including May would be tantamount to permitting two Liberal candidates because she has repeatedly expressed her preference for Liberal Leader Stephane Dion over Harper as prime minister.

(The Canadian Press)

INDEX: ENTERTAINMENT POLITICS TELEVISION

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MORE DIONBOOK DEFECTS? 

Yesterday, puffin poop, which made international news and resulted in hundreds of media impressions, all unfavourable.

Today, someone told me I was on "Dionbook." Went to check it out. Got a message that there is too much demand.

Uh-huh. Oldest political trick there is: book a smaller room, so it's packed for your rally. Applies to the Internet too, seems.

These guys have the dough to buy oodles of bandwidth, if they wanted it. They are trying to make it look like they are controlling the agenda.

UPDATE: Interesting comment on this entry: "If the bandwidth really got overloaded, all of notaleader.ca would have gone down, not just the dionbook bit. Since the rest of notaleader.ca is still up, we know this whole thing is BS. tfl | 09.10.08 - 12:40 pm"

UPDATER:
Not that I am particularly interested in inside-the-weeb baseball - I'll leave that to the Tin Foil Hat Brigade - but now this is getting written up by the media. Day two of errors from one site? Not good.


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SO, HOW ARE THE ONTARIO CONSERVATIVES DOING, THESE DAYS? 

Ouch. It's going to be quite a caucus meeting! The once-great Ontario Conservatives. Too bad, so sad.

...


Seatless John Tory to address party unrest; MPPs fear pledge to be elected is doomed
The Ottawa Citizen
Wed 10 Sep 2008
Page: A3
Byline: Lee Greenberg

TORONTO - John Tory will attempt to quell growing unrest in his caucus when provincial Conservatives gather today in Barrie, as he is called to account for what some believe is a quickly fading pledge to be elected into the legislature by fall.

"It is the No. 1 item on the agenda, right off the top," says Conservative caucus chairman Frank Klees. "An opportunity for John to discuss his plans with caucus and to give caucus an opportunity to have that discussion with him as well.

"Mr. Tory has pledged to seek a seat in the legislature before the end of the year, ostensibly by convincing one of his 26 caucus members to step aside and allow him to run. He appeared to accelerate the time frame in June, however, raising expectations among some in his party.

"He told caucus in our last caucus meeting that he would be there in the fall," John O'Toole told the Citizen earlier this summer.

"So somebody has swallowed the bait, I think."

But a string of rumoured candidates subsequently denied they would step aside to make way for the 54-year-old father of four.

Now, as MPPs prepare to return to the legislature on Sept. 22, that fall target is increasingly unlikely (the session is scheduled to last until Dec. 16) and some MPPs are voicing their frustration.

"I've basically given up on him," said renegade MPP Bill Murdoch, stating openly what several others will only say off the record. "I don't think anybody's giving their seat up (for him)."


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DAY 4: KINSELLA'S CLEAR CANADIAN CAMPAIGN COVERAGE  


LOSERS: The Tories, obviously, for the pooping puffin, now world-famous, the bird that this morning and last night unleashed a torrent of shit-related puns. Is it a one-day wonder, or a Reptilian Kitten Eater defining moment? We shall see. But I will say…
WINNER: The Tory boss did what he had to do – he didn’t deny, he didn’t equivocate, he apologized a zillion times, and he moved on. Meanwhile, the party’s red-necked mouth-breathers thinks it’s all the media’s fault.
LOSERS: The media, for falling into the “horserace” coverage trap. There are five weeks to go in this thing. A lot can happen, like the birdie B.M. amply demonstrated (eg. What did Stephen Harper announce yesterday? Don’t know? Exactly). What’s more, the current crop of headlines are not helpful to Team Tory – they are peaking way too soon. And, in 2004 and 2006, as you may recall, those “TORY MAJORITY” headlines scared the, um, crap out of women and many urban voters. Undersell and overperform, like someone I know always said. That’s what works best.
WINNER? LOSER?: We don’t know yet – but today is the day the Liberal Party of Canada’s plane is supposed to be slipping the surly bonds of campaign-mired Canada. Will it fly? We shall see. But I’ll tell you this much: if it doesn’t, the Grits will rue the day they didn’t call someone at WestJet.
WINNER: Stephen Taylor, and my fellow TVO panelists. All of the other guys, Greg in particular, noted that web tools have made design so easy, lots of dumb stuff is getting broadcast/posted way too quickly. The poopin’ puffin was clearly an example of that.
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MY REPUTATION IS DOING JUST FINE, MISTY  

I don't recall any of this being an issue when they recruited me to write for the Citizen or the National Post. Hmmm.

"Clangers?" Gee, I recall a certain Asper telling me it was the funniest thing he ever saw. Before he became a Tory and all that, that is.



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W@AL: TORIES BLAME PUFFIN-GATE ON A STAFFER 

Media contacts are telling me (anonymously) that Tory spinners are - shades of Stockwell Day on that Niagara Falls thing, circa 2000 - blaming puffin-gate on an overzealous web person. They are saying, on the record, that the dumb Tory staffer's computer "mouse" was over Dion's shoulder, so senior campaign people didn't see the crap, it's not our fault, etc. etc.

I am not making this up.

So, we decided to conduct an experiment, seen below. You can do it too! See if your mouse's "arrow" is big enough to cover the offending stuff. You'll find it can't be done.

Bottom line: they saw it, they put it up, they did it. Puffin-gate.

Man, this is Reptilian Kitten-Eater for the new era - and all from the same folks, too!




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HOW TO DUMP ON YOUR OWN CAMPAIGN, IN ONE EASY STEP 



Anyone else seen this? I haven't.

Not the Face Ad, per se, but still unbelievably dumb.

...


FedElxn Tories Droppings
Source: The Canadian Press
Sep 9, 2008 10:29

OTTAWA - It seems the Tories may have stepped in it when they released an advertisement on their website showing an animated puffin defecating on Liberal Leader Stephane Dion's shoulder.

The puffin is flying by as an announcer says Stephane Dion is not a leader and not worth the risk.

The offending fly-by-deposit was later edited out of the commercial but not before it was aired on national TV networks.

When asked about the advertisement today, Dion told reporters it says more about Prime Minister Stephen Harper than it says about him.

Dion says most Conservative voters will disagree with the ad and it could change their vote.

A Liberal party statement says the personal smear will backfire on Harper.

(The Canadian Press)


UPDATE: Harper has apologized.





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DAY 3: KINSELLA'S CLEAR CANADIAN CAMPAIGN COVERAGE  


LOSERS: The Conservative war room’s 6:00 a.m. – that’s right, SIX AYEM – press conference thing. Who cooked up this idiotic tactic? Newsflash, Tory war roomers: we know you want to get a jump on the news cycle and all that, but we are also wondering if you are all also insane. I mean, at that hour, the only reporters showing up are Seriously Pissed Off that (a) you dragged them out of bed to (b) travel many kilometres to your super-duper war room, located somewhere in New Brunswick, to (c) tell them something they already knew. The Tories got zero positive coverage out of this stunt. I predict it’ll be quietly, ahem, deep-sixed sometime soon.
WINNER: Stéphane Dion, for staying out of this creepy “family man” dialogue that was happening on Day Two. Dion stayed above the fray, and looked better for it. His pithy rejoinder: “I'm a family man. I love my mother, I love my wife. I love my daughter and my brothers, even my brothers.” Having brothers, and having a relationship with them that is like the brothers Gallagher (sans the Toronto fan assaults), I found that last part funny. It’s true.
LOSER: In a rare bit of same-day universe-balancing, Stéphane Dion, for calling Harper a “liar,” repeatedly. It looked awful, and it turned people (Liberal people) off in droves. Two irrefutable facts: one, voters think all politicians are liars, to some degree – so throwing around the “liar” tag, as John Tory did in the 2007 Ontario campaign, isn’t going to advance your interests. Two, Dion has said many times that he wouldn’t go neg – and now, 48 hours into the contest, he’s calling his opponent one of the nastiest of the nasty names. What’s left in the adjectival arsenal? Calling him a “criminal?” That one doesn’t work, either, by the way.
LOSERS: Journalists who joke, á la Seinfeld, that this is “an election about nothing." And Mr. Fulford isn’t the only one who has done it, either. It’s journalistic laziness, to me. It also ain’t particularly helpful to one’s readers – because, in Election Year 2008, it’s manifestly false. Canada losing nearly 100 young lives in Afghanistan; an economy teetering on the brink; the Arctic ice shelf disappearing, and the air getting worse every Summer; dozens of people being killed by the food they eat; the list goes on. None of it is “nothing.” Do your job, reporter. You always say people want to hear about issues – so write about them.
WINNERS: The Libs, Tories, Dippers and others who have abandoned the pretence of a real life, and joined a war room for the next few weeks. They’ll endure bad food, bad coverage, and get little sleep – and it’ll be some of the most memorable days they will have ever have. My hat’s off to you, fellow lunatics!

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W@AL: LEADERS' DEBATE MODERATOR STEVE PAIKIN COMES CLEAN! 

Steve Paikin: the broadcasting legend who moderates the federal leaders' debate, and who (just a few minutes ago) has been confirmed as the moderator of this campaign's debate, too! Up-close on Warren At Arm's Length! And with a shocking revelation, no less!

The excitement is too great! I love exclamation points!



Oh, and I am on Steve's show tonight on TVO. Not sure what time, but you get what you pay for.


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UP-TO-THE-MINUTE SEAT PROJECTION: NO MAJORITY YET 

...by Prof. Barry Kay, from Wilfrid Laurier U., and done with Global TV, model shows:

137 Conservatives (which is picking up 4 additional seats in Ontario, 8 in Quebec)
106 Liberals
38 Bloc Quebecois
27 NDP


This is as of September 5, and is based on no less than eight recent publicly released polls.

What does it mean? It means this one ain't over yet, Virginia.



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VISUAL OF THE DAY, SPOT OF THE DAY 

...belong to the Tories and the Grits, respectively. Pictures are about emotions, and emotions move campaigns.



This Globe front page photo is a winner for three reasons. One, it's on the cover of the Globe, and is therefore being seen pretty much everywhere in Canada. Two, both the Prime Minister and his wife look great; she, in particular, looks radiant. Three, it's a plane. As in, the Tories have one.

The Libs, meanwhile, win with this spot (embed deleted because it kept running every single time someone opened this web site, and it was irritating).

It works because it's upbeat, the pictures are solid, and because it provides voters with a plausible explanation of the Green Shift. That shot of Dion in front of the United Nations logo also impliedly suggests he runs the world, which isn't a bad start.

A tie!


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DAY 2: KINSELLA'S CLEAR CANADIAN CAMPAIGN COVERAGE  

WINNER: Most of the Canadian news media – who have already started going to great lengths to allow average folks to express their opinions about the campaign. It ain’t entirely altruistic, of course – the mainstream guys have lost a fair amount of market share to the citizen media in recent years. But the likes of Cruickshank mean it when they say they want to hear from you, I think, and they deserve credit for reaching out.
LOSERS: The Tories, for trying to have it both ways. You can’t spend three years spitballing Stéphane Dion, Team Tory, and then kick off the campaign by carping about how the poor guy is “demonizing” you. Good reality check catch by Joan Bryden.
WINNERS: Rob Silver and Tim Powers. I know both guys well, and like ‘em both. They’re scrappy, they’re smart, and the Globe will be fun to read when those two are contributing. Now if only Patrick Martin or Natasha Hassan will respond to the emails of lesser mortals, comme moi!
WINNER: Doug Bell, also blogging for the Glib and Frail. Doug’s a gifted Toronto writer who can be counted to swim against the Ottawa gallery tide – and, most impressively, was slapped in the mug recently by the Star’s Rosie DiManno (cf. the latest Frank mag) and lived to laugh about it. Also a metalhead, but not all of us are perfect.
WINNER: Stephen Harper, for embracing Barack Obama like Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton and 30 million Canadians have done. But, if the Tory leader wins re-election, what will a possible Republican White House think about Harper’s fortune-telling?
WINNER: The Tory war room – but not for anything they have done, yet. Simply getting the line story on front in the Toronto Star on Sunday – that wasn’t just an accomplishment, it was historic. Is the Star getting a little less gritty?

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DIONISTAS REACH OUT TO CHRETIENITES 

You are "has beens." Quote unquote.

It's in the seventh graf or thereabouts. Certain folks around Jean Chretien are "has beens," say certain folks around Stephane Dion. It's not with them we are going to win, say courageously anonymous Dion deep thinkers, etc. etc. How nice!

So, for those of you wondering why Chretien types aren't taking leaves of absences, quitting jobs, and so on, to jump onto the Liberal campaign plane - well, now you know. (The chronically-obtuse still won't get it, however.)

One of my fellow has-beens suggested to me yesterday we get some buttons made up. They would read: "HAS-BEEN WINNER."

Heh.



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