- You can always tell when things are tightening up in a campaign: stuff that party war rooms/partisans had been holding back starts to seep out, like primordial ooze. With the first debate being held today, too, partisans have more reason to get out material that throws the other side off their message for the day. It’s an important day, after all.
- Thus, the email I got in the middle of the night, from a real person: “I ended up with a close [redacted] advisor in my house two weeks ago for a night. When I invited her I didn’t know but when she arrived she brought with her a quantity of what she insisted was “freebase” – but was to all intents and purposes crack. She smoked this 6 or 7 times in my presence.”
- I’ve redacted the name of the party leader, and asked the correspondent for the full name of the staffer, which I now have. I’m checking it out. Suffice to say, however, such a revelation in Week One would be damaging, to say the least.
- Another example is found with this photo of Justin Trudeau a topless female. It was sent to me last night. I was immediately suspicious about the photo, given that it was posted by a fierce critic of Trudeau. In my Twitter feed, photographers weighed in, saying they too thought it might be fake.
- Apparently it wasn’t. It was shot at a Pride parade last year. It’s real, and I have been informed by a senior editor that Sun News Network even showed it on-air last year. (Sigh.) Is the issue, then, that a young woman was topless? Of course not. That’s been legal and proper for two decades. Is the issue, instead, Justin Trudeau’s judgment – that a guy seeking the post of Prime Minister needs to be thinking twice about placing himself in situations that suggests to voters that he’s “not ready?” Of course it is.
- More evidence of that came over the midnight transom was another photo, from this year’s Pride. To me, the photo is completely innocent, and no big deal. But the objective in leaking this kind of stuff isn’t ever to get into the heads of guys like me – it’s (a) to get into the heads of some older, more-traditional voters who may be leaning Liberal, but aren’t quite sure yet, and (b) to generate some social-then-mainstream media heat, and thereby throw Trudeau off his big day.
- The irony in all of this? Trudeau’s team have probably been hurt already – by themselves. After weeks of skillfully lowering expectations for the debate, they this morning have reversed whatever they achieved with the boxing room stunt – and now look cocky and arrogant (and juvenile) in the bargain. As one senior Liberal ministerial staffer told me on Facebook: “Wow!! Not sure I can verbalize more than that…visions of Stock Day on his jet ski are flashing before me!!!”
- Exactly. Thus, the irony: all of these leaks of pictures with topless women, and tales about crack-smoking staffers, aren’t as damaging to the candidates as what the candidates do to themselves. Self-inflicted wounds in politics, I always say, are always the ones that cause the most damage.
UPDATE: Aaaand…it worked. Congrats, anonymous war room.
UPDATER: The woman in the photo at World Pride is no supporter of Trudeau, apparently, and seemingly posted it herself to do him some damage. Which should have persuaded Trudeau’s staff never to let the photo happen in the first place.