Friday, September 17, 2010

The Embarrassing Past of a Kettle and Pot

The ever-astute Elizabeth May has a theory. She thinks Harper is going to call an election this fall, even though he's down in the polls. She believes that Harper is focused on voter turnout rather than ratings, and that his strategy has been to reduce voter participation outside his base.
In the 2008 election campaign, she maintained, Mr. Harper purposely drove down voter participation in several ways. He called a snap election, he had the minimum numbers of days for a campaign, he had election day right after the long Thanksgiving weekend, he had changes in the Elections Act that meant people couldn’t vote without additional ID, and his attack ads had increased cynicism toward politics. The result was that every party’s total vote number went down, except the Green Party’s. The Liberals’ dropped the most and Mr. Harper was able to increase his minority.

. . .

Everybody thinks Mr. Harper’s right-wing manoeuvring, like his move on the census, has been disastrous, Ms. May said. "I bet he doesn’t think so. For his base, which is essentially the tea party of Canada, these are good messages."

May predicts that Harper's got a bunch of devastating attack ads to use against Michael Ignatieff, and that he'll unveil them during the campaign. They will include footage of Ignatieff before becoming Liberal party leader.
An example, she said, is some incredible statements the Liberal Leader made on torture when he appeared once on the Charlie Rose show. "The Conservatives must have a video archive of him saying things that Harper believes will make him unelectable." The Prime Minister is saving them for the campaign because "he wants the shock value."

This tactic could work if Harper gets the timing right and prevents Ignatieff from having time to respond or recover. In the 2006 election a fake scandal invented by the NDP sewered Paul Martin; Martin was bouncing back from it, but he didn't have time before the election to recover enough, and it wasn't until months after the election that the scandal was fully debunked.

Or is it possible? Harper himself has recovered from revelations of his saying far worse things than Igantieff ever said. Harper, after all, denounced Canada as a "Northern welfare state in the worst sense of the term." In that speech he also spat on universal health care, women’s rights, the unemployed, francophone Canadians and all Canadian political parties, including his own.



Anonymous said...

This is why I think the Liberals should run on the slogan "Dare to Care, Vote! in the next election. Make it clear in ad after ad that Harper is counting on voter apathy.

Bert said...

Stephen Harper is up 8% in the latest Angus Ried poll:

Conservatives: 34%
Liberals: 26%
NDP: 18%
Green Party: 11%
Bloc Québécois: 10%

But who ever paid attention to anything Elizabeth May ever said ?.