Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Go for the throat!

A pair of politically-interested university students were booted out of a Conservative rally for the heinous crime of having a Facebook picture with Michael Ignatieff.
Having young people removed from your public gathering just because they have Facebook connections with your political rival is absolute gold. This is exactly the sort of thing that can cost a candidate an election. If Iggy, assisted by Layton and Duceppe, can keep the pressure up on this issue it might actually turn the tide. The problem is that Ignatieff has traditionally (if we can speak of tradition when the man’s only been leader for 12 seconds) proven unable to turn the screws when Harper and his Conservatives make one of their classic “we hate the people we rule” sorts of gaffes. Chretien could have done it. Even when he was smacking people around, he always managed to walk away looking more a part of Canada than his opponents. Iggy, though, has a touch of the Al Gore about him: a little too intellectual, a little too Ivory Tower, a little too top-hat-and-monocle. He’s the sort of guy you can imagine laying a white cloth down on a chair before sitting.
Harper, on the other hand, would lay a whole person down before sitting. Preferably an artist of some kind.
Our beloved post-PM claims that it was his “people” that had these two young ladies ejected. He couldn’t be bothered to learn the details, so he said he couldn’t comment on specific situations. It’s a classic example of the kind of evasiveness the slippery fellow has demonstrated since day one. It’s not my fault, it’s someone I hired. Well, doesn’t one of the oldest maxims of leadership automatically make it your fault? The chain of responsibility always leads right to the top. Maybe you didn’t hire the actual guy that made the eviction decision, but you hired the guy who hired the guy who wrote the policy that directed the guy... You get the drift. The entire Conservative party structure is a reflection of the guy on top, more so with Harper than with any other PM in recent memory. He practically tells his lackeys what to say to their wives when they get up in the morning.
Any number of prospective PMs could tell you that all it takes is one mistake, properly exploited by your enemy, to cost you an election. William Lyon MacKenzie King’s famous “five-cent piece” remark. Stockwell Day’s awesome wetsuit and jet ski photo op. Scott Reid in 2006 claiming that the Conservative tax rebate would be spent by Canadians on “beer and popcorn.” Look them up. They’re all amusing, and there are many more just like them.
Only time will tell if Iggy can make the most of this golden opportunity. He really needs to, because if he allows the Liberals to drift to another Opposition standing, he’s out. Do or die, Michael. Back against the wall. Come out swinging, or don’t bother coming out at all.
Didn’t you learn anything from your time in the States? Come on, they are the masters of dirty pool politics!

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