Friday, February 03, 2006

The Untold Story

I'm sure there will be a few books out on this election and the Martin months for Christmas 2006 but, until then, Paul Wells' Maclean's article on the campaign will remain the defining piece. He's got the great one liners:

"...his staff, whom [Martin] often calls the best campaign team in history - Martin is not a particularily meticulous student of history - had come up with a plan."

He's got the analysis. He's got the campaign preparation and strategy for the Tories. He's also got a great look inside the Liberal campaign, illustrated beautifully in this paragraph:

And the polls? Nationally they showed the Liberals tied with the Tories or
even a bit behind. Alcock said his only worry was that the Liberals were running
too strong, not too weak. "There's a lot of people who argue that we had to come
down in order to activate what we need, which is people needing to stop Harper,"
Alcock said. "In fact if we're going to do better than last time - that is, get
a majority - we'd rather be a bit lower than we are."

Alcock was describing a political version of the slingshot effect, by which
space probes fly dangerously close to planets so they can borrow some
gravitational energy to whip away even more quickly. The Liberals had decided
they needed to flirt with losing to win.

Two things were immediately obvious about this strategy. First, it was
extremely dangerous, because as a rule of thumb, when you flirt with losing, you
lose. And it was awfully familiar. It was as if somebody had taken the 2004
campaign and decided that its chaotic shape - trouble, decline, panic,
last-minute recovery - was the shape all winning campaigns must take.

Alcock paused and looked at his interrogator. "I know this sounds like
bullshit."

Who was arguing that the road to victory lay in near-defeat. "Well, David
Herle is certainly one of the big ones."


There you have it - a look inside the mind of David Herle. If that paragraph alone isn't worth buying a Maclean's, I don't know what is.

15 Comments:

  • I have a very strong feeling that we haven't heard the last of the RCMP's decision to help out Harper. I believe that some "dirty pool" has taken place. Will there be a Canadian version of Bernstein and Woodward (specifically the old non co-opted Woodward)? I'd be shocked if nothing comes of this incident.

    By Blogger JD, at 10:35 PM  

  • It was Kinsella who provided the Coup de GrĂ¢ce. There was really nothing to go on but Kinsella was aware of the phone calls that CARP (a pension fund) was getting and that tip to the RCMP was strong enough for an investigation. The Mounties won't find their man because the pension funds were being called not to tip them off but to create an amen corner for a stage managed annoucement saying no new tax.

    Anyway, it was the NDP that had been pushing the RCMP, not the Cons. The Tories went along for the ride.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:16 PM  

  • Didn't Paul Wells blog exactly that without mentioning its Reg Alcock?

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 11:20 PM  

  • Reg Alcock has easily been one of the most downright amusing people the past couple of weeks. From blaming his election night loss on his own generosity in helping others win and in the Free Press calling Liberals that would urge Martin to step down after an election "distasteful and dishonest" after he spent over 5 years trying very hard to stab Jean Chretien in the back. And now these bits from the Wells piece.

    Alcock should work at Rumors comedy club! He can bring all his unemployed staff with him to serve drinks!

    By Anonymous Manitoba Liberal, at 11:32 PM  

  • Anon at 9:16,
    I disagree with your assessment. Furthermore, regardless of "who tipped off who" the RCMP broke protocol by publically confirming their investigation. Also, when they made the mistake of erroneously announcing their "criminal investigation" they then owed the country an answer to culpability before the election. Regardless, the RCMP really hurt their credibility. Harper's photo-op the other day with the RCMP was a huge mistake by the top RCMP Officer.

    By Blogger JD, at 11:37 PM  

  • Hey. Maybe the Party has ground for a lawsuit against the RCMP. It was their fault we lost the election.

    Then if we win, we could be out of debt.

    But there is that beer and popcorn thing, the Options Canada thing, this interview with Reg the Small, John Duffy on CTV, that notwithstanding thing, the............

    Second thought. I think the RCMP win.

    The What Do I Know Grit.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 11:51 PM  

  • I was also shocked by the "plan" when I read that. I just can't believe it.

    By Blogger Jason Cherniak, at 12:22 AM  

  • I'm so sick of people saying that the RCMP cost the Libs the election. It was the Liberals, MY PARTY, that lost this election. We can't win them all and this one was a doozy. The party needs to take its licks and move on. Stop blaming everyone... it wasn't ONE person who ruined this election, it was a family of factors; the list is too huge to write.

    Now is the time to decide what the Liberal party stands for, who are the leaders of the party and what vision it should offer for the future.

    We should take a note from the Conservative party. They had MacKay, Rona Ambrose, Harper, Monte Solberg, Jay Hill and Chuck Strahl as LEADERS of their party with of course the boss being Harper. Martin made sure he was the one and only leader. You pluck him out of the equation now and the whole house of cards falls down.

    We need to build, not blame. We need to define, not detract. Really, we need to move on.

    At least thats my opinion.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 12:41 AM  

  • jd said "I disagree with your assessment. Furthermore, regardless of "who tipped off who" the RCMP broke protocol by publically confirming their investigation. Also, when they made the mistake of erroneously announcing their "criminal investigation" they then owed the country an answer to culpability before the election. Regardless, the RCMP really hurt their credibility. Harper's photo-op the other day with the RCMP was a huge mistake by the top RCMP Officer."

    Wow. It's so unusual for every word of a post this long to be so utterly devoid of anything approaching reality.

    There is no protocol governing whether the RCMP should or should not provide an update to a complainant on the status of the investigation. There IS a protocol for issuing a news release in the middle of an election. The Liberals violated that protocol, and did so to exonerate themselves before the investigation had ostensibly begun. ONLY the Prime Minister's Office could have given permission for that news release to have been issued.

    And the RCMP doesn't owe the country anything except a thorough, complete investigation. The letter from the RCMP Commissioner to the NDP guaranteed that would happen, without political interference. For that, they deserve our thanks, not the uninformed musings of a person who would rather have had the fact of the investigation swept under the rug until after the election.

    Let us never forget that a criminal investigation is not an automatic thing. Before it takes place, there must be evidence that a crime likely has taken place. Its purpose is not to determine whether it is probable there has been a crime, but rather to confirm it and find out whodunit.

    And the photo-op is part of the normal course of event when a new government comes to power. Martin has had his photo taken with the RCMP Commissioner on numerous occasions.

    Get a grip!

    By Blogger Patrick, at 1:49 AM  

  • There's a lot of truth to what Riley says. Here in BC, the strong (?) showing we got in the Lower Mainland - Greater Vancouver was primarily due to the individual candidates, a couple of whom contradicted the PM near the end of the campaign and received their constituents' vote of confidence. David Emerson, Raymond Chan, Keith Martin on the Island, they each ramped up their individual battles, essentially admitting that the party was screwing up on specific issues and put that out to the public. It won them votes. Chan would have been a dead duck on the chinese head tax flip flop had the Tories not ran a 'Where's Waldo?' evangelican, whose own campaign manager was quoted in the local paper after the election blaming the loss on the 'jewish media' (i guess he doesn't read the CanWest chain, which essentially ordered all its papers to support Harper; I don't think there were more than a handful of papers across Canada that didn't endorse 'the change' mantra).


    http://www.richmond-news.com/issues06/014106/news/014106nn1.html

    We have to take our lumps and accept a few facts here: we ran one of the worst campaigns on record, certainly in modern history, and our luck was bad too; our leader and his advisors made major miscalculations while governing as a minority - failing to gauge the public on certain issues and react to them (law and order, primarily); the Conservatives and Stephen Harper took us to school on how to run a campaign - and didn't even come close to winning a majority.

    Let's sift through these things, pull together and start the rebuilding. A new leader is just part of the puzzle.

    By Anonymous love, sydney, at 1:59 AM  

  • Patrick,
    I disagree with you. As a matter of fact the last leader of the RCMP agrees with me that the way that the RCMP handled the situation in the context of an election was unusual. I understand that you are a Harper "cheerleader" and obvious look at it from a different perspective. However, many less partisan Conservative associates of mine are uncomfortable with the "way it went down". Furthernore, your basic tone is quite childish.

    By Blogger JD, at 8:14 AM  

  • One of the best things to come out of the election is that Reg Alcock was thrown over the side.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:09 AM  

  • The RCMP investigation is a red herring excuse. The RCMP did NOT announce anything. Judy Wasylycia-Leis wrote them and asked them to investigate. They wrote back saying they would. Judy gave the response to the press who reported it. The RCMP confirmed when asked by the press. The RCMP had no choice but to confirm it in public. Imagine for just a second that the RCMP attempted to keep it under wraps. How would that have looked when it came out after an election? The whole thing could have been avoided if it had been dealt with properly by the government in the first place.

    It's time to stop trying to blame everyone/anyone else for the Martinite failed leadership and move on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:42 PM  

  • I agree...lets move on
    What do we have to move on to?
    Interim Leader is a peadophile whol likes 15 year old boys while the Party leader is a liar who lied to us about David Dingwall. Not only did they cut him a cheque in the last dying hours...they knew the amount before the election was even called.
    YES...LET US MOVE ON

    By Anonymous badbeta, at 9:04 AM  

  • What the hell is up with Dinwall? How can an arbitrator say he was fired if both parties to the arbitration say he quit? Was Martin lying when he said Dingwall quit? Was Dingwall lying when he said he quit to defend his reputation? Who sent this to arbitration when the Libs said it was going to court? Why wasn't the settlement announced on the 20th, when it was reached (it couldn't have been election related, could it?) Come on Liberals, what the defensive spin on this one? And how many patronage appointments will Martin make today?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 PM  

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