Igs has a good plan. He's been leader about nine months. He spent the first 8 months raising money and learning the ropes. As soon as parliament reconvened in the fall, he announced he would no longer prop up the government. This has two main benefits: it forces Layton into the propping-up hot-seat and it puts Ignatieff in the limelight. It has one drawback, hopefully short-term: Canadians don't want an election and are letting him know via their answers to pollsters. (But not to worry: polls mean virtually nothing between elections.)
Media pundits are going wild. Here are a few of the hysterical outpourings in the Globe:
- Women no longer like Igs! According to Michael Valphy, in six short months Ignatieff's support among women over 50 has dropped from 46% to 26%. What a fickle group we old ladies are! Worse, according to Valpy our main concern is whether a male politician is "sexy" or "a crumpet" - and while Ignatieff was a heart-throb in the 1990s he is now, well, just another old guy in a grey suit.
- Bruce Anderson is very concerned about Ignatieff's strategy. He believes that Igs has been "hiding his light under a bushel" and needs to "make his pitch." Nice point; unfortunate that Bruce has missed the fact that that's exactly what he's doing.
- Igs is down in the polls. Today, the Globe has trumpeted that with an article called Liberal Support in Perilous Slide. When this article was first posted in top position on the Globe home page, it was called "Harper in Majority Territory" - despite the fact that a poll this far before an election does not mean much, and they know it. Two months before she lost nearly all Conservative seats, Kim Campbell was miles ahead of Jean Chretien.
Some Globe columnists think Ignatieff is doing quite well, but the Globe isn't letting that slow them up in making it seem there's a landslide of criticism of him:
- Greg Fergus actually thinks that Ignatieff might be the next PM, because (1) of his bold step announcing he will no longer support the government, (2) Ignatieff's vast international experience give him fresh, impressive ideas and make him uniquely qualified to run the country, and (3) under all the spin, Harper is doing a terrible job. Despite the content of the article, the Globe in its wisdom decided to make it look like another doom and gloom missive with the headline "It's Deep Breath Time for the Liberals".
- Judith Timson wrote a positive article about Igs, with lines like, "Iggy marched into the House of Commons last week and delivered a highly focused speech about why his party wanted to bring down the government, which showed a man getting back in touch with his vision and sense of purpose" but the Globe slapped the headline on it, "Iffy Iggy: This is your 'real character moment'".
Heck, I know the print media is hurting and this is their way to sell papers. But in the long run this sort of crappy analysis is not going to help their reputation.