26 ways to attack Michael Ignatieff…
Micahel Ignatieff: Not A Canadian
Michael Ignatieff: Man of Mystery
Count Ignatieff, the Russian vampire
An elitist egghead who is out of touch with the reality of the every day Canadian
Viscount Iggy of the (American) Ivy Towers.
An intellectual who knows nothing about the economy.
“Who do you want at the helm? A torture expert or a trained economist?”
An arrogant man who ONLY came back to this country to get the PM's office he thought was entitled to. He felt so entitled he didn't even let his party vote for him.
The least experienced party leader in Canadian history
A guy who belongs in the Conservative caucus
A person who sees an opportunity to gain power and is seizing it.
Snob, egghead, "out of touch" with Canadians.
Harper will be made out to be the Tim Horton's guy, while Ignatieff will be portrayed as too snooty to know what a Starbucks even is. Tim Horton's vs Canoe.
An elitist who's never had a real job
How can this elitist who lived outside of Canada for 30 yrs understand the hardships facing average Canadians?
Paul Martin...the dithering sequel
Wait until Ignatieff defines himself and then pounce on any weaknesses
Ignatieff has a "hidden agenda" to bring back the carbon tax
Michael Ignatieff: Arrogant. Out of touch. No government experience. Not Worth the Risk.
The Conservatives will NOT try to define Ignatieff but will instead focus on defining the Liberals as a whole.
The parachute candidate
Unknown. Untested. Risky. Who is Michael Ignatieff?
Yorkville, Toronto, academic, too good for Canada, friend of separatists, wishy-washy, intellectual
Smarter than Harper.
Michael Elliot Trudeau.
An intelligent, calm, even-tempered leader with the ability to stick to the high road.
The Great Canadian Thinker.
Worldly leader with balls.
A guy who has a vision vs. Harper no vision
A guy who wants to unite Canadians vs. Harper who wants to divide them
A guy who wants Canada to live up to its full potential vs Harper who just clings aimlessly to power
Will change the tone in Ottawa
A person willing to tell it like it is in tough times.
Emphasize Ignatieff's team
Ignatieff - not Harper. A man who listens. Ignatieff Liberals, let's build together.
Paint him as someone who thinks through his decisions
Pull a little Obama and make him out to be a politician who hasn’t grown up in Ottawa and the Canadian political machine.
Straight-talker on the economy
Make him the Obama of Canada, without mentioning the name Obama.
Promote his intelligence, promote his stance of human rights, promote his stance of child care.
I forgot to ask how the NDP will attempt to define him, but I think it’s fairly obvious they’ll go at him on policy – specifically foreign policy. My hunch is that the Bloc will use a similar battle plan given that he’s not perceived to be a hard line federalist like Dion or Chretien and I suspect the “not Canadian enough” argument would be a tougher one for them to pull off.
So, from this list of 26 attacks, what will the Tories use? The two areas where Ignatieff is most vulnerable would appear to be on his time outside of Canada and his academic background. However, using those attacks directly could backfire. I’ve heard Ignatieff turn around the “out of Canada” argument beautifully and the Tories would just look petty attacking him for being “too smart”. So I think they’ll be more nuanced (since, if there’s one thing the Tory war room is, it’s nuanced, eh?). It won’t be he’s “un-Canadian” – it will be more of a “he hasn’t been here, he doesn’t understand the problems facing average Canadians” argument. The academic attack pairs nicely with this when it’s framed from an “out of touch” angle – and you can be sure they’ll sprinkle in a few “elitist”, “arrogant”, or “condescending” topings whenever they can.
So, what do the Liberals do to counter?
When I talk to people who aren’t overly political, even if they don’t like Ignatieff they all say they can visualize him as a Prime Minister. I'm not sure what the tag line would be for that, but you want to convey the message that he's "ready to lead". As for an image, it’s no secret that voters want to be inspired – we saw that loud and clear in the US. Ignatieff doesn’t need to pretend he’s a new Trudeau or a northern Obama, but I believe most people would be willing to buy him as a man with a national vision and big ideas. Just as the Tories want to attack him as a “smart academic” without saying it in those words, the Liberals want to sell him as a “smart academic”, without saying it in those words - the “vision thing” might be the way around that.
That said, the best defense is a good offense, so I would hope that Ignatieff and the LPC aren’t afraid to get their elbows dirty. Governing in tough economic times is never easy, and the first goal should be making sure Harper wears this recession tighter than a sweater vest.
Labels: Michael Ignatieff