I'm sure you've all read the article penned by Tom Flanagan in today's G&M.
Like other articles he's written, he begins from a false premise. In this case, he is speaking about negative political advertising in such a way that we are to believe that it has always been thus.
Election campaigns have always been, and always will be, both positive and negative.
True, but the negative campaigns we are seeing from the Harper crew is not like the majority of previous negative campaigns conducted in this country. To begin with, we're not, (supposedly), in campaign mode.
The article seems to want to reinforce this myth, in the same fashion that the Conservatives reinforce all their other false messaging. In other words, if Flanagan and other Conservatives repeat this falsehood enough, Canadians will buy the fact that the Liberals are over-reacting.
He misses the fact that most Canadians, not just Liberals, find the ads insulting. But his position is another truism re' contemporary Conservatives in this country. They believe that the majority share their world view, or will if they spew it enough, in spite of all evidence pointing to the contrary.
He then goes on to do the now classic 'but they did it too!' bit, but the comparisons are laughable.
In 1988, they ran ads almost accusing Brian Mulroney of treason, of selling out Canada to the United States through the free-trade agreement.
Note the almost in that sentence. The difference of course being that today's Con's would have used the term treason, without compunction, or at least that seems to be what Flanagan is advocating. (For the record, Turner ran under this slogan: “This is more than an election – this is your future.”)
Sheila Copps compared Preston Manning to David Duke
Well, no, not really. She said the policies he was promoting appealed to peoples' latent fear, which are the same kind of policies that permit a David Duke.
In 2000, Warren Kinsella went on television to ridicule Stockwell Day's alleged (never demonstrated) belief in Young Earth creationism.
Yea, well, I never really understood why Kinsella took that route though, I personally think it's important to know who believes in creationism if they are going to hold a government file. Tough to argue that your opponent is taking horrible ,degrading shots at you when he's holding a plush toy though?
So, as he defends with example, he takes out of context what was done in the past, which of course buttresses his case...to take things out of context!
Anyway, the entire article is replete with contradictions. He slags the Lib's for employing tactics he's encouraging. It's bizarre, but consistent! It's that projection thing that the Conservatives seem completely oblivious to.
He further suggests that the Liberals are wimps, blah, blah, blah, (and by the way school girls are no more whiny than school boys), obviously taking his own advice and then suggests that this reaction is only aping what occurred in the US with the Democrats and Obama. (Oh, I'm gagging at just how rich that comparison is given his Rovian speak throughout the article.)
True? False? I suggest that the Liberals are tapping into what is reality amongst the voting public. The poll I referred to in my last post substantiates that and certainly we've heard many a comment from the woman and man on the street that supports that notion as well. People are fed up with the nonsense...and nonsense is what he is promoting.
And this to me is the most interesting failure of his argument. He's pushing water uphill, telling us that we should embrace negativity and spin because it's part of the 'game', at a time when it is being rejected everywhere.
Go Flanagan! You have concisely illustrated how the Conservatives in this country are a day late and a dollar short...our dollar, btw.
You know, we should be grateful for small mercies. The wave the Conservatives in this country are trying to ride, crested and crashed a long time ago, specifically in the US.
My bet is we (Canadians) won't be fooled again, but by all means Prof. Flanagan, continue to recommend strategy and talk to us in terms that better help us understand you and the Conservatives.
Canadians have had enough of the ad's...please make them realise they've had enough of your ilk too.
I leave you with this pearl of wisdom from Tom...sand and all:
It would have been a public service for the Republicans to run ads on the Wright-Obama relationship
My idea of public service and I suspect many others, doesn't include what that statement implies.