Andrew Coyne is one of Canada's brightest and most perceptive political commentators.
And it's rare that I disagree with him.
But one of those rare occasions occurred yesterday, when I read a posting on his blog in which he complains about the Conservative Party's anti-Liberal attack ads, which he calls "manipulative, inflammatory and tendentious."
Now I happen to think so-called "attack ads" are a legitimate weapon in any political party's arsenal.
So I posted this comment on his blog: "Memo to AC: Politics is a bloodsport, it's about time the Tories started fighting fire with fire."
In a posting today, Coyne replies: "Oh, but I forgot . . . .`politics is a bloodsport,' and this sort of thing just goes with the territory. Fair enough, I suppose: but doesn't anybody want to change politics any more?"
Now I am not sure what Coyne means by this.
Change it how exactly? By banning tough and hard hitting ads?
That would infringe on free expression.
By one side unilaterally declaring it won't use "negative ads"?
The Tories tried that "taking a knife to a gunfight" approach in the 2004 election and they lost out to the Liberals who had no compulsion about employing "manipulative, inflammatory and tendentious" ads.
The fact is, "negative ads", if used properly, work.
And there is nothing wrong morally with using them.
Democracy, by its very nature, is a messy, rough and tumble business --- it always has been and, I suspect, it always will be.
It doesn't need to be changed.