Politics: "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Bullshit....
Hokay, so we're going to have a so-called "Christmas election". Fine. I've always thought that vitrol, spite, and baked yams should be thrown about in public instead of being the exclusive domain of family dinners. And why not? This season, let's have the red, blue and orange of political party lawn signs as well as the usual red and green of the lights mixing with the red and blue of the Domestic Calls Unit. It'll make it all the more festive!
You can just feel the warm, inner glow of hatred from here, can't you? Well, let's see who has to do what to keep (Lib), to take (Con & NDP), or to bugger off (BQ). Least relevant first:
The Bloc Quebecois aren't going to do much, and Spooky likes it that way. The Conservatives had built up some support in Quebec, then tanked it when they held their convention in Montreal, but couldn't control the, ah, let's call them the "more dedicated regionalists" from showing their utter contempt for the culture they were surrounded by. All Duceppe has to do is keep it low key, and hammer the Conservatives as being primitive yahoos who hate everything not wearing a stetson. You know, the usual Bloc tactic.
The New Democratic Party are in a tight spot, but there is a tactic that may work best for them: call themselves "Liberals, But Without The Corruption!" The '80s Porn Star earned a lot of kudos for actually getting something done in a minority government (the only time any kind of socialist agenda can get through), and he's got to push the thought that no matter who gets elected, if the NDP is strong enough to hold a balance of power, they can force concessions. I know I've mentioned this before, but Layton's got to work Quebec hard. Yes, I know the NDP got 8% there last election, and if it's ignored that number won't get any higher. The left-leaning Federalist vote is up for grabs RIGHT NOW. So why do I say they are in tough? Because the supporting party in a minority government usually gets hammered the following election, so he's got to distance himself from the Liberal corruption, but not their more leftist agenda. Not going to be easy.
The Conservatives have got to SHUT PLASTIC MAN THE HELL UP! Look, don't start talking about the Liberals having deals with "organised crime in Quebec" or anywhere else, okay? Don't rant and rave; don't drool publicly; don't talk about putting abortion to a public vote; don't even mention the evangelicals (remind the Wetsuited Wonder about that). The Liberal party is imploding, and the LAST thing Harper needs is for them to point a finger at him and shout "See? See?! He's scaaaaary... Booga booga!" If he can just get his more enthusiastic MPs muzzled, and try to think about his statements before he says them, the Conservatives should be the next government of Canada. The key here is (you can say it with me now) Quebec. He's got to present himself as a viable alternative to the Bloc, and pound on the message that he wants more power in the hands of the provinces, and less in Ottawa. Oh, and two more things: don't EVER mention the United States while on the campaign trail; and for god's sake when you smile for the camera, try to let it reach your eyes, eh? I don't care how much you hate being in the media, do it if you want to win.
The Liberals have one message, and one alone: the economy is doing great, so why change what works? What? Corruption? Not us, you must be thinking of the old tenants... Mr. Dithers has got to brush past the Gomery questions with "That's a legal matter, the final report is coming out in February, and why was the Opposition afraid to wait until then?" or some similar phrase then move straight into the economy. Money is, after all, something Martin is very good with: at a total worth of $225 million, he is the second richest democratically elected world leader, after all. So, what else can he do? Mostly, he's going to hope that the NDP don't draw too heavily from his numbers. If the Conservatives use attack ads again (and who isn't in this race?), then the scare tactics that put him in good standing last time will work again this time, though to a lesser extent. And if he could get whatever incompetent idiots filmed the Conservative's commercials last election to do it again this time, so much the better... One more thing: let your juniors fight it out in Quebec, but don't forget to speak french often outside of the province. Your sound bites appear in Quebec media to remind them you're from Quebec, while at the same time it imparts a subliminal message that The Rest Of Canada is still, officialy, a bilingual country thanks to the Fed.
In a nutshell: whoever stays calmest during the upcoming mudfest will make the biggest gains. Mostly because you have better aim when you've got a steady hand, but still it will look like you're taking the high ground, relatively speaking. I really don't expect a lot of campaigning over the two weeks ending New Year's. A fast start, a slow down for the bulk of December, then a roaring finish to cap things off.
Wake me when it's January, would you? Thanks.