As we near the second and final debate tonight, I've been thinking about some of what has been written and uttered about last night. There seems to be a need by many to identify who won and who lost.
So what are people saying? Well many seem to 'feel' that Harper won because he stayed calm, didn't get angry, kept his cool and was able to deflect issues by saying that's not true or bizarrely, "I don't accept the truth of those facts".
I don't know about you, but that seems faint praise indeed.
I thought Ignatieff was strongest when speaking to the 'democracy and parliament' issue, though he more than held his own throughout. That particular issue though is one that he is clearly passionate about and one that resonates with people. Oh, not the nitty gritty detail of parliamentary procedure etc., (though some of us do love that!), the more fundamental case that he puts forward outlining Harper's style of governing and lack of respect for our democractic institutions.
When faced with these issues, Harper cheerfully (actually sullenly) obliges by arrogantly dismissing any such claims, then goes on to say things like: 'What worries me about having a minority is my fear that we'll have a 5th election, then a 6th election....' (paraphrased). That is an astonishing statement. He also, once again brushed of the contempt finding and referred to it and other such issues as 'bickering'. I think Ignatieff landed a great line at that point, 'Mr. Harper, that is not bickering, it's democracy'. (also paraphrased)
So, I look forward to tonight's debate, not really to see who wins, but rather to see who best demonstrates the sensibilities that I look for in a Prime Minister.