Suitable Only For Dogs ...

I've been taking another gander at this website, which I mentioned in an earlier posting.

It's a good thing I don't allow my (political) mood to be based on what the pollsters are saying, because otherwise it would be up and down like a dog's stomach. The polls in October have my team anywhere from 6 (Pollara), to 13 (Strategic), to 11 (Environics), to 5 (Decima) points behind the Libs.

Now, despite the fact that I keep telling myself not to pay attention to the damn things, I follow the opinion polls at least as much as the other political junkies out there. And yes, it has to be said that even the best of them have us behind the Libs.

But the fact is - and I'm going to keep saying this till I start paying attention, even if nobody else does - these polls mean next to nothing when it comes to predicting the outcome of the next election, unless the CPC does nothing but pay attention to them. That may sound confusing, but here's what I mean:

In the worst-case scenario, the Party basically says "Aha! We went up a bit (and/or the Libs went down a bit) in the polls! It must be thanks to the David Dingwall follies. Let's do nothing but focus on that, and we're in like Flynn!" ... followed by us dropping another 10 points, when we threaten to bring down the government.

My $0.02 is this: Liberal scandal, misfeasance, malfeasance, misappropriation - call it what you will - is definitely a fair issue to raise. It demonstrates their arrogance, and it reminds Canadians why it's not a good idea to give this bunch a fifth (!) consecutive at-bat. It is perfectly in order to point out how the crowd that's currently in charge is mishandling the public trust.

But the scandals of the Libs will only open the door for us - they won't close the deal.

So, you may be asking, what will close the deal? There's no easy answer, but I honestly think Harper's on the right track with the policy announcements he has been making. The other week, he talked about how the CPC will stand up for trades. Before that, he was talking about tax credits for transit use.

We've already heard about how a CPC task force will be studying the issues of crime & justice over the next while; once that task force has done its work (which will hopefully be relatively soon), its report and recommendations should be pushed.

The above examples are just that - examples only. There are other issues which the CPC has raised before, and/or which it can raise in the future.

The thing is, Harper & Co. have to keep raising them. They can't get discouraged if they don't result in a short-term payoff. The scandals and whatnot that I mentioned above will provide the short-term opening. They'll hopefully anger Canadians to the point where they will ask "So what will the other guys/gals do?"

The most important thing for us, from a policy perspective, is to be ready with answers to that question. Look, it aint rocket science: we know the Liberals will try to define us, in a not-exactly-positive light. The more we've told Canadians what we will and will not do, the harder it will be for the Libs to get away with that nonsense.

Personally, I favoured releasing the platform early. Do what Mike Harris did in the year prior to winning the '95 election - he released the Common Sense Revolution, and went across Ontario talking about it. By the time the Libs started to realize that they were about to lose the '95 election, it was too late for them to effectively demonize Harris et al, because Harris had already defined himself.

It appears that the CPC has chosen a slightly different path, of releasing portions of the platform as we go, leading up to a release of the whole thing either just before or just after the election is called. Hey, that works for me too; as much as I think we can learn from what the Ontario PC's did in the pre-'95 period, the parallels aren't exact.

The point, however, is that Harper needs to keep on telling Canadians not only that the Libs are corrupt and/or incompetent, but that the Tories have a positive and practical plan that will help out Canadians while keeping things clean in Ottawa. It may not get us an immediate bounce in the next Environics press release - but let's remember: we're playing the "long game" here, not the two-minute drill (if you'll pardon the football analogies). And (just to keep the analogies going to the breaking point) you don't start throwing Hail Mary passes in the first quarter of the game.

Happily, I think Harper may be in the process of playing that "long game" - which means he could be well on his way to once again proving that his critics have underestimated him, and his party.

More later.


Post a Comment

<< Home