Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Going negative

Michael Harris writes in the Ottawa Sun about the coming Liberal "big smack" against Stephen Harper:

The campaign is about to enter the Air War phase. Unlike the Tories, the Liberals have been storing up their ordinance for an all-out blitz in these last three weeks. Their primary target will not be the new and reconstructed Stephen Harper, who has so far managed not to present as a cross between Jimmy Swaggart and Dr. Strangelove, but a more familiar fellow: The man who said so many stupid things as an executive of the National Citizens Coalition and leader of the former Canadian Alliance that he might as well have been Stockwell Day.

Harris gives some examples of Harperisms that the Liberals will probably try to resurrect.

The question is whether the electorate will be influenced by this or if they will recognise it for the panic tactic that it is. It certainly worked last time around, but this time the Conservatives are waging a much tighter and more effective campaign. Plus this time the Liberals are reeling from multiple scandals, so it will be much more obvious that this will be an attempt to distract from their own corruption problems.

If Harper responds correctly and coolly, with a certain amount of humility, before turning the spotlight back onto the Liberals, the negative campaign against him will probably be blunted and mostly ineffective.


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