Tuesday, September 9, 2008

If I were a rich man...

I wonder if this scene from the musical Fiddler On The Roof is what Dion had in mind when he announced on Tuesday that he's not a rich man.

It does make me wonder: did the Liberals not see this campaign coming? First, they were forced to
scramble to secure a campaign plane (and ended up with a real gas guzzler). Now, they've suddenly realized that Dion's image needs a makeover and are trying to recast him as just a regular guy -- why didn't they do that a year ago?

Some other thoughts and observations on the campaign thus far:

  • You have to wonder about Ontario Liberal Premier McGuinty's decision not to endorse his federal counterparts. Apparently, he doesn't want to worsen his already abysmally poor relationship with feds. If that doesn't tell us how far ahead the Tories are in this campaign and how unlikely the Liberals are to win, I don't know what does.

  • The puffin poop Tory ad that was all over the new today blew up in the Tories' faces, as it well should have. Have they forgotten how their ad making fun of Chretien's paralysis backfired several years ago? Perhaps the Tories' punishment should fit the crime -- straight to bed with no dessert, plus grounding for one week.

  • I was somewhat surprised that May was barred from the televised debates given that the criteria for entry has always been to have a minimum of one MP, which the Greens have now met. Ironically, the Liberals, who pushed for May's inclusion, would likely have the most to fear from May's participation, as polls show it's them bleeding the most to the Greens, particularly in Ontario (confirming some comments I made previously).

  • One new EKOS poll puts the Liberals at the historically low level of 24%, only narrowly ahead of the NDP, at 19%. Similarly, a second poll (by pollster Segma Unimarketing, which I've never heard of until now) put them at 25% to the Conservatives' whopping 43%. The federal Liberals, one of the most successful political parties in the western world, have only received that low a share of vote once -- in 1867! In 1984, their next worst performance, the Liberals converted 28% of the popular vote into just 40 seats.

  • The NDP might be the only party to run a full slate of 308 candidates in this election. The Tories have bowed out of Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier to help Independent MP AndrĂ© Arthur in Quebec, while the Liberals are of course not running against Elizabeth May in Central Nova, whose party isn't fielding candidates against either Stephane Dion in Saint-Laurent-Cartierville or former Conservative Bill Casey in Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

  • On Monday, Young Liberals heckled Jack Layton for borrowing Liberal votes in the last election instead of focusing on Harper. They claim that attacking the Liberals in 2006 split the anti-Harper vote and helped elect him. Now, if they really believed that, would they not be busy heckling at Tory rallies instead?

  • With PQ leader Pauline Marois undergoing surgery, the Bloc loses an important campaign ally (Marois had planned to stump for Duceppe). That party is desperately struggling to stop the loss of support to the Conservatives and, to a lesser extent, the NDP (a just-posted Globe article suggests the Bloc may have slowed the Tory momentum in Quebec).

  • New Stephane Dion website: http://www.thisisdion.ca/. I wonder how many fans looking for this website will accidentally wind up at the Liberal leader's site.

  • Finally, there are some great online resources for political junkies who just can't get enough. Pundit's Guide is an amazing database of candidates, contests and results. Paulitics and niXtuff provide regular tracking of polls. The Globe's, Canwest's and the CBC's sites provide additional articles, polls, and punditry. Independent sites nodice.ca, Election Prediction Project are also great resources. Democratic Space will launch its election coverage on Sept. 14.

No comments: