Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cynical reality check

The Opposition parties, along with their media allies, are salivating over the idea of fighting the next federal election on government ethics.

They are making a big mistake. It won't work.

And yes, I know over the past few weeks the Tories have suffered a series of embarrassing black eyes: the Oda affair; the Jason Kenney "letterhead" fiasco; the Harper government "branding" nonsense and the Speaker of the House ruling the government in contempt.

Obviously this is all bad PR for the Harper Tories.

But in the real world of politics none of these issues is serious enough to inflict a mortal wound.

The reality is while the media and political partisans might care about this stuff, for the casual voter, who really isn't paying attention, it's just so much white noise.

That's not to say the casual voter is disinterested in politics. Far from it. But they have different priorities than Ottawa watchers.

The casual voter cares more about the price of gasoline than about Bev Oda; more about protecting his or her job than about political dirty tricks; more about their standard of living than about rulings by the Speaker.

That's why if the Liberals and NDP make "government ethics" the main message of their campaigns, it won't resonate with Canadians.

People just won't care. They want a strong leader who will protect their quality of life.

Indeed, if given a choice voters will always choose a shady but competent politician over an honest but incompetent one.

Think Nixon over McGovern, Clinton over Dole, Chretien over Day.

This all may sound cynical, but it's just how the political world works.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alwas with the cheap shots at our "shady" PM. Your jealousy continues to shine through.

Gerry Nicholls said...

Actually I never called the PM "shady" but interesting that you jumped to that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Um, 2 comtempts and in and out and Oda...shady is the right word. I want a Conservative majority, this clown show is hampering it, and, I read the Toryblogs and see blind support and trust instead of demanding better from the PM and the PMO. I will vote Conservative because the LPC is a mess and I trust Harper, but, that trust is waning. Be a true Conservative, open up documents that Parliament asks for, quit being so damn secretive...this party is becoming more Liberal everyday and no one seems to give a rats ass. billg

Luke said...

Agree 100% Gerry.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with Gerry I am concerned if the opposition can frame the question properly in an election campaign it could be the difference between a minority versus a majority. I think that is the strategy of the Libs. Hold the Conservatives to a minority so they can live to fight another day with a new leader.
Somehow there is something unsettling when the government refuses to release the figures to support legislation they are proposing. If the Libs tried that we would be screaming bloody murder.

Alberta Girl said...

Well Gerry...by suggesting that voters will always choose a shady but competent one over an honest but incompetents one, you gave the impression that he IS him "shady".

Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

" Indeed if given a choice voters will always choose a shady but competent politician over an honest but incompetent one"
Who in this statement ARE you referring too?
Surely you are jesting if you are calling Michael Ignatieff
HONEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please explain?
fh

Gerry Nicholls said...

Alberta Girl/fh, allow me to elaborate. I am talking about how the Liberals will frame their message.

They will contrast the "honest" Ignatieff with the "shady" Harper.

I am saying that won't work.

wilson said...

Gerry is right, it won't work.

Bob Fife just took 5 minutes to explain the theatre from yesterday.
It sounded exactly like the media yap after the Afghan detainee document rulings....eyes glaze over

Nothing has changed.
Liberals go into an election with Ignatieff.
Canadians look at him as PM with Dippers in Cabinet and the separatists calling the shots,
or a Harper majority.
3 clowns vs a competent incumbent party with a strong PM

wilson said...

Nanos:
“For the Harper government they are trying to convey to voters – ‘you might not love us, or even like us – but you have to recognize the job we’ve done guiding Canada through the Great Recession.’
It’s the Buckley’s cough syrup of political marketing.

frmgrl said...

Wilson,where did you get that quote from Nanos?

Alex said...

I think the answer to your doubts might be revealed in timing. Why do the Liberals want to disrupt the budget? What if there is some really good news in it that the Liberals can't handle?

Anonymous said...

I am still trying to figure out what the Govt. did wrong?
Oda out of town and told a staffer to put an automatic NOT on a funding for lefty Kairos, that the Govt. has a right to deny?Is that the problem?Liberals didn't get their way?
Kenny at a funeral, and a staffer used parliament letterhead for letters...he paid the $30 when he got back to Canada.Is this fear that the ethnic vote is going BLUE?
Coalition didn't like the figures the Govt. gave them...something no other Liberal Govt. would ever hand over before a budget.They want to use their Liberal media now to exploit this?
In & Out from 2005 brought up now? They all did it because examples are all over the internet.Hard to fight the "power of the media" when they ignore this little fact. Elections Canada doesn't investigate anyone but Conservatives. ADSCAM anyone. Not investigated.
I wouldn't take lessons or advice from any Liberal on ethics or democracy. The internet is full of their shananigans.Pablo was charged with drunk driving,and hes sitting in the HOC but Ignatieff isn't asking him to step down. This is a Coalition , wanting an election before a budget that will do good for Canadians. Coalition don't CARE about that.The Liberals want Taxpayers to pay $300 million to get rid of Ignatieff for them They are only in it for themselves.

Paul MacPhail said...

"Why do the Liberals want to disrupt the budget? What if there is some really good news in it that the Liberals can't handle?"

According to the TD Bank there is some really good news. The projected deficit numbers took a nosedive, which means the coalition is going to have a harder time getting an already difficult message out. The fiscal forcast improvements are nearly enough to buy the F35's.

wilson said...

frmgl, Nanos quote found here
http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/will-flaherty-stay-the-course-or-stuff-his-budget-with-pre-election-goodies/article1936303/?service=mobile

wilson said...

New AngusReid poll
taken Tues and yesterday
CPC 39
LPC 23


http://www.visioncritical.com/public-opinion/6042/tories-ahead-in-canada-as-views-on-ignatieff-fall-markedly/

Sean M said...

It's my understanding that the Liberal Speaker did NOT find the Government in contempt, but referred that judgement to a hyper-partisan committee. The Liberal Speakers ruling was of a perceived breach. If otherwise, please respond. As for the corrupt Liberal/Separatist party running a campaign on ethics, I find that hilarious in the absurd. The next election will be a majority for the Conservative Government, or a coalition majority, there will NOT be a minority Government.