It's hard to believe it's only week one actually, so much has happened. That said, a few things stood out for me.
Other than policy issues, (which I obviously do care about), I've been struck by the mood and the tone of the election thus far. From the beginning there were notable differences.
The Ignatieff campaign started off excited, happy and from the get-go journo's travelling with the group were tweeting fun stories and background. As one friend put it, 'sunshine and puppies' were often featured. As cavalier as that perhaps sounds, you did get the sense that everyone on the Liberal team was ready and happy to be there.
As for the journalists, I'm certain it's gruelling work but they held Ignatieff's feet to the fire while not experiencing huge limitations while doing their job.
Conversely, the Harper campaign began on a sour note that quickly shifted to fear mongering and predictions of impending doom. It was the 'be afraid' campaign from the start and was jam packed with lies and fiction. There was no joy in Whoville and it showed right away.
Instead of actually, you know, participating in the election, a great deal of time was spent telling everyone who was within earshot that the election was a waste of time, shouldn't have happened, etc. Not the most inspiring way to get your supporters to listen to you. Thanks for coming. Wish you weren't here! He'd lost his grip on control and it showed.
In both cases the feelings lasted and by the end of the week more than one story had the Ignatieff team with the momentum. That in part because of how well the campaign was being run and of course in part due to the gaffes being made on the Harper team. Coalition fiction, debate dares and media control.
Now, it's only week one and we've got a long way to go, but watching both men is interesting.
Because I have met and seen Ignatieff a number of times, I'm not surprised by his ease and strong delivery, though I'm delighted to see that others are. All it took in some cases was one look at a Liberal rally to dispel the idiotic ads that have attempted to paint a man who does not exist.
No, the one who has surprised me is Harper. Think back to when he first came on to the political scene, full of ideas, whether you agreed with them or not. He held his political views fiercely and articulated them with strength. Watching him this week, I no longer see that. Oh, I still think he holds those views and has been implementing them, but he couches them in an effort not to frighten and as a result, he seems somewhat cowed.
Being nasty and trading in fear does not exhibit strength in my opinion. It simply paints a picture of a rather desperate man, prepared to do or say anything to maintain his position...but that too has me a bit puzzled. I don't see a man who really wants to be PM, save for the fact that it is the only way to implement his ideas. I think had he been able to have influence from the outside, and he tried, he would have much preferred that.
I don't think he likes much of anything to do with electioneering. Rallies, people and dealing with media don't strike me as his favourite pastime. As for the job he held pre-writ, I suspect he relishes the opportunity it provides to actualize strategy to implement his agenda. Much of what else goes with the job...the sales job? Not so much. Don't get me wrong, he still wants the job as he hasn't completed what he started, but if he had another way, could trust someone else to finish the work?...my view is that he'd take it.
It's only week one and I'm taking nothing for granted, but I'm excited to watch this play out.