When someone really sets out to smear you, it's difficult not to get smeared. When they have millions of dollars and a great PR firm and put all their efforts behind discrediting you, it's almost impossible.
It's not at all surprising that viewers thought Stephane Dion won last night's debate. They got to see the real guy, rather than the caricature invented by the Conservatives.
I don't think we Liberals should blame Dion too much for his low standing in the polls. While Harper is Conservative leader, whoever is Liberal leader is going to be the target of a relentless, vicious smear campaign.
The Conservatives aren't relenting one iota in their attacks on Dion. I got a glossy pamphlet from my local Conservative candidate today that contains two big photos of Dion. The flyer includes two vague tag lines about the Conservatives but no platform information. The entire Conservative campaign appears to be based on a smear of their main competitor.
I'm surprised that there's not more of an outcry, especially in Quebec, about the photo the Conservatives use over and over and over (this flyer I'm looking at uses it twice). We've all seen it a million times by now - it shows Dion shrugging with his arms out. It's a very Gallic gesture - it might look funny to Anglophones, but it seems a typically Francophone stance.
But I guess it's not surprising that the Conservatives would make fun of Francophone characteristics. After all, a party that boasts about interfering in another party's leadership selection process has no shame.
But when I say party, I mean party leaders. I don't believe that Conservative party members are as unprincipled as the top dogs in Ottawa. The party got taken over by some bad apples, and unfortunately those bad apples are successful so they get to stay. A rot that started in the Reform party with the ouster of Preston Manning spread to the Conservative party. It is now spreading across Canada and seems destined to grow even more after October 14.