Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 21 & 22: There's justice after all folks!

: National Post columnist Janathan Kay and NB blogger Micheal Spinks for bringing the issue of Heather Mallick's column to light. Let's just say, their efforts prompted thousands of Canadians taxpayers to issue complaints to the CBC regarding Mallick's "hateful" and "shameful" attacks on Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin. I know both gentlemen above to be strong advocates of free speech, however, in the case of Mallick's column, I suspect they were more appalled by the fact that such a barrage of vitriol took place on a “government-owned” website, and felt that her views had no place on an outlet funded by the public. I agree, and I'm glad to see CBC ombudsman Vince Carlin agrees as well. Although, I see Kay is still damanding the column be pulled from their website.

Winner: Dion strategists for finally realizing that their boss is an anglophone nightmare when he's in front of a teleprompter. Will this change be enough? Well, it better be for the Grits sake, b/c he [Dion] has put himself and his party in a huge hole after just two weeks. So much so, it really is difficult to imagine him digging his way out of it.

Local loser: The sleuth section of the Times & Transcript for trying their darnedest to cast a well run, positive campaign in a bad light. As someone who has run a few campaigns in his day, I will tell you, when all is said and done, win or lose the Daniel Allain campaign will be one that many will look back on as a model for the future. Not only have they used technology (Twitter, Youtube and Facebook) to their advantage, they have organized a strong mix of both youthful and experienced campaign workers who are hungry for change. Change, in a province that desperately needs to forget the past and focus on the future.

Loser: Former Paul Martin strategist Scott Reid for offering up advice to a well run Tory campaign. Honestly folks, that's like me, as a male, offering up advice to a pregnant lady on the dos and don'ts of child birth. Although, in his defense, I'm sure he's a pro on what doesn't actually work in a general election campaign. Much like his colleague David Herle.

Losing argument: Stéphane Dion for taking the advice of former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien (who criticized the Tories as poor fiscal managers). Since the release of his party's platform this past week, Mr. Dion has been stumping in many towns and cities across the country on the argument that the Harper Conservatives shouldn't be trusted as fiscal managers because they have squandered the surplus. Now that the numbers show otherwise, I wonder where Mr. Dion will go from here? Back to the drawing board I suppose.

Best line: Says the anarchist at a Dion media scrum: "This meeting is being hijacked by people!!" That's hilarious. I love it. [H/T Le Politico]

Day 22: Sunday Update & Quick Hitters

Jack Layton for getting way too far ahead of himself. There's no question yours truly has been very impressed with the dippers campaign thus far (even giving them a few hat tips in the first half of the campaign). However, yesterday was definitely the exception to the rule as Jack declared he and his party "the saviour of the Canadian family
." Clearly, if these guys want to replace the Liberals as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, they've got to stick to the game plan as acting like a bunch of swelled headed left-wingers will get them right back where they started. Although, in Jackos defense, his rally was held at the Commodore club in downtown Vancouver, so maybe a few drinks were had after discussing the polls and before hitting the stage. Ooops, wrong guy in the link, but you get the drift.

Winner: Stephen Harper for attending his high school reunion. As someone who has never been to a single one of my high school reunions, I can only imagine the awkwardness he had to go through. lol But give Stephen credit, he not only had to drag the press gallery around all night, he had to own up to losing in the first round of the game show Reach for the Top. A true humbling experience for the PM.

Which leads me to this...

Best line: Harper: "I guess you are wondering what happened to me after high school. Look, things have turned out pretty well. I just thought I'd have a permanent job by now."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 20: A few quick afternoon observations

Losers: Voters looking for a clear choice on the left. Last night I was at a political event and overheard a guy (who I suspect was a Liberal) say that "it doesn't matter who gets elected. We'll still end up with the same government." It sounds to me like voters are torn on the left (and have given up hope of forming government). To be honest, I think their choice will boil down to who they believe to be the least negative alternative: who's worst, who's second worst, who's left?

Winner: Electoral [gender] equity. It would seem all five major parties have made strides since the last election in getting more female candidates involved in the process as the number of women running has reached a record high of 438. Although, I'm not sure what the end result will be (how many will end up getting elected to the commons?) as it would seem a majority of females are parking their influential votes with the non-traditional parties.

Losers: Anonymous Liberal sources for airing their dirty laundry to the press. I see it all came to a head yesterday for the Grits as a named source is now telling the unnamed sources to "shut up!" You go Iggy!

Winner: The people in the riding of Kildonan--St. Paul for no longer having an anti-Zionist candidate as a possible choice on the 14th. Things have a way of working themselves out. Now, if only Layton will do the same with problematic candidate, Samira Laouni, in the Montreal riding of Bourassa?

Policy winner: Stephen Harper's message regarding the economy. Not only were the Tories successful in casting Dion as a risk in unstable times, they are now sending out a clever message in an attempt to convince Canadians that Harper's leadership, coupled with a strong electoral mandate, is the only plan for the country's economy. And they're doing it without using the word "majority" folks! Full marks to whoever came up with that.

Losers: Grits and dippers who were hoping yesterday's Nanos poll was an anomaly.

Local Winners: New Brunswick Tory campaigns. Specifically ones looking to break through like in Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, Fredericton, Saint John, Madawaska-Restigouche and the Miramichi. They all have to be very pleased with the manner in which the numbers moved nationally yesterday in their favour, especially if the 14th turns into a referendum on the carbon tax and Dion's leadership. On the flip side, that poll must have sent a few shockwaves through Liberal campaign headquarters.

Best line: Stephen Harper: "I should have told the media that when I called this general election, I did it to give Garth Turner that byelection he promised."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hey, I don't blame them....

...I'd drink too after reading this poll. Bottoms up boys!!

Day 19: The passing Liberal parade

: Liberal bandwagoners [pseudo infighters] who shoot errant rounds into the campaign of their leader. Anyway, despite the high-toned, haughty advice of some, the road to political recovery is not through a rough "near-death experience" or "a serious electoral drubbing." To rediscover their identity as a national party, the Liberals need to decide who their constituents are, for whom they speak, and what they represent. Hey, I should know, I first joined the Tory party in Ottawa smack dab in the middle of a civil war. Not even I would wish that nonsense on the best of folks.

Loser: Leaders of fringe political parties who suggest strategic voting as manner in which to defeat (or at least slow down) a party surging towards government. It's a losing strategy. And May should know this all too well since she was one of the architects of the Think Twice Coalition, a 2006 campaign led by a group of left-wing representatives concerned with the possibility of a Harper gov't. Do I even have to tell you how that worked out.

Policy loser: Retired local Grits who reminisce about old, non-implemented policies. Nothing drives me up the wall more then a whiny (feeling sorry for himself) politician who blames the other guys for his party's political shortcomings. Well, almost nothing. Let's just say, leaders who resurrect old, dusty policies to boost their sputtering campaign come in a close second.

Winner: Conservative leader Stephen Harper for reassuring nervous Canadians about the prospects of the economy in the wake of a possible recession south of the border. In a media world fixated by the new accents of continentalism and internationalism, and region states dominated by volatile world markets, there is an urgent need for a distinctly Canadian voice and defined Canadian interest. Harper seems to be emerging as that voice.

Losers: Apathetic intellectuals who only seem to enter the Canadian public domain (and discussion) for selfish, self-centered reasons. Although, just the same, it's good to see that Ms. Atwood is, at least, a bit interested in the process. Maybe we'll see some inspiration prose of the non-fictional kind from her in the future? Something along the lines of being proud of your country perhaps?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 18: More quick hitters, and still lots of losers

: Current politicos that used to blog. Most of them aren't all that old and the technology they use hasn't been in the political arena all that long. So in their defense, I guess you could say, they don't quite understand, yet, how damaging some of this blogging stuff can be to their future careers as politicians. It's funny, b/c a lot of bloggers (when they get involved heavily in a campaign or even run) think that by shutting down their blog, or setting it to "invited readers only mode”, they can erase anything they ever said - good or bad. Not the case, younger staffers at media and political organizations are blog friendly too, and they can dig up this stuff, via google cache, and pass it along to their superiors in minutes. I think it's safe to say that TJ "THE BLOGGER GENERAL" Burke is proof of that.

Policy Loser: The conservative party's decision to cut funding to the arts. I'll have more on this later, but for now, all I can say is if Gordon Pinset drags himself out of bed to comment on this, you'd better start getting worried.

Winner: Tory credibility when it comes to keeping campaign commitments. A Nanos Research-Sun Media poll released earlier this morning showed that 30.4 per cent of Canadians surveyed think the conservatives will keep their promises - more than double the 14.5 per cent who believe the Libs will deliver and 14.1 per cent who put their trust in the New Democrats. With just twenty days left in this campaign for the opposition, all I can say to them is "Houston, we definitely have a problem!"

Loser: I'm a little late on this, but Jack Layton for his bonehead musings about being open to a post-election political coalition with the Liberals. I'm sure he thought it would nullify the argument that a vote for the NDP is a vote for the conservatives, but in reality, all it truly accomplished was to motivate the Tory base to get out and vote in droves on the 14th of October. Nice work Layte!

Local losers: Nova Scotia Tories for the alleged accounting irregularities by former Halifax Conservative candidate Rosamond Luke, which resulted in her losing her job and the organization where she was executive director shutting down. Even if the irregularities are proven not to be linked to her, the specter of all this smack dab in the middle of a general election is not good. I even see Peter Mackay was being dragged into this. Not good.

Video ad loser: I don't find myself too often being in sync with Norman Spector and his opinions, but in the case of the anonymous
producers of the YouTube video below (who make fun of conservatives for their cuts to culture) , I have to agree, it borders on bigotry. Anyway, here's the video, you be the judge (are they deserved of loser status?):

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 17: It's now or never, but never say never

: Stéphane Dion and the Liberals for trying their darnedest to change the channel on his "short-term pain for long-term gain" carbon tax and not have it as the focal point mid-campaign. It's ironic, in a sense, that he's even in this situation (apologizing for policies) since we often hear the parliamentary press gallery accusing the opposition (and many of its MPs) for being too negative, always criticizing the government but never saying what they believe in. I guess when you think about most democratic countries, government's most often defeat themselves as rarely is there ever an opposition party that is voted in on the basis of strong policy. It's a damn shame nobody told Stéphane this eight months ago.

Let's just say, the press' actions in this campaign have surely shed a new light (for me) on Kim Campbell's statement that elections were not the time to develop policies and programs!

Policy loser: The Tories' plan to allow youth convicted of violent crimes to be named publicly. Tough on crime legislation always sounds very persuasive (especially to the conservative base), but the ideas being touted here are about as practical as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I mean honestly, saying in one breath you will treat 14 years olds like adult criminals, but in another, you see them as incapable of making an adult decision. Come on.

Losers: Harper and his conservative strategists for going overboard in their attempt to reach out to Quebec nationalist. Like a couple of conservative leaders before him, specifically Sir Robert Borden and Brian Mulroney, Harper has decided to groom the path for a political alliance with the nationalist in Quebec. Yes, there's no question it will likely lead to electoral success in La Belle province, unfortunately, like others that have attempted such a coalition in the past, the end result is only a few years of success leading to certain failure. If Harper really wants to promote conservatism and federalism in Quebec, he certainly won't get there by attempting to cement a short-term relationship with disenchanted nationalist. The bottom line is, he has to start rewarding federalist.

Loser: Green party leader Elizabeth May for campaigning whistle-stop style. Let's just say, this is all quite ironic since this style of campaigning went out in the 50s with Dief "the chief", and just yesterday, a certain press gallery member suggested that May's policies were just as archaic. I think her exact words were "not harnessing modernity" and "taking us back to life before electricity and the combustion engine." Ouch.

Anyway, if this kind of stuff does happen to interest you, here's Macleans Nancy Macdonald's blog covering the daily accounts of the whistle-stop tour. It's kinda like the blog version of a very bad episode of the Global soap opera, Train 48. Who knows, now that the show is canceled, maybe they'll turn May's run into a reality show giving Sheila Copps and Carolyn Parrish another shot at an acting career. God help us all!

(You just gotta know spinks loves the apron)

Local losers: People who think it's a joke to vandalize election signs. Not cool.

Monday, September 22, 2008

NBers Paint the Political Picture Caption Contest Semaine Deux&trade

Almost forgot the weekly installment of our caption contest. Here's this week's photos, couldn't narrow it down to just one. Anyway, ready, set, go to town.

* Week 1 winner: Le Politico

Day 16: Quick hitters with some relevance

Local Winner
: Former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna. He's a two-time winner here at Paint the Political Picture and deservedly so. This time McKenna has used his contacts as a diplomat (i.e. friends in high places) to secure former US president Bill Clinton as a guest speaker on global economic issues (at the Moncton Coliseum on Nov. 25). Should make for some heavy security in downtown Moncton when Billy goes out for some eats and a drink.

Loser: NDP leader Jack Layton for the manner in which he dealt with the pot-wing of his party. Let's just say, he probably knew what was going on.

Which leads me to my second winner...

Winner: Liberal party strategist for beating down the NDP (who are inching closer to the Grits in the polls) with allegations that Layton had a secret deal with “Prince of Pot,” Marc Emery and his British Columbia Marijuana party. Up until then, the NDP were on message and talking about issues. Now they've been reduced to a left-wing explanatory party.

Partial policy winner: Liberal party strategist for attempting to make the campaign about the management of the economy. This morning, Mr. Dion unveiled the party's platform which "trumpets the party's track record of sound fiscal management" and vows to balance the budget (which btw, Tim Powers has a few questions regarding the validity of the latter).

However, as you may have noticed, I used the words "partial winner". Why? Because not only are there some holes in the costing of the platform, I don't think the deliverer of the message, Dion, has the ability to sell it. In other words, it may be the winning formula, but it won't win if there is not a winner selling it. Maybe the Libs should seriously consider retiring Dion and his carbon tax formula and bring back tit Jean straight out of retirement.

Loser: MP Garth Turner for being a complete disaster for the Liberals on the campaign trail. First the CPAC door knocking incident and now this. It would seem our good friend Garth has seriously crossed-the-line with this "death watch" ad. Although, I'm sure he'll try to flip, squirm and lie his way out of it like he always does. Full marks to Le Politico and Dan Cook (not to be mistaken for Dane Cook) for exposing the real Garth Turner once again.