Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Define or be Defined

We all know it's coming in January. The unflatering picture. The tag line. The commercials.

The Liberals have vowed to not let it happen again. But to prevent the Conservatives from defining Ignatieff, the Grits will need to define him first.

So I'll ask two open questions here. Put on your strategist hats and give it your best shot.

1. How should the Conservatives try to define Ignatieff?
2. How should the Liberals?

I'll post some of the responses later this week, along with my two cents.

56 Comments:

  • Conservatives framed Dion by the use of the term "Not A Leader".

    I suspect given the dirth of essays and writings by Ignatieff, the Tory tagline will be:

    "Micahel Ignatieff: Not A Canadian"

    By Blogger The Grumpy Voter, at 7:57 AM  

  • Bang on grumpy voter

    By Blogger James McKenzie, at 8:15 AM  

  • 1. I agree with Grumpy: the Conservatives could point out that the Liberals didn't select Ignatieff as leader largely because he's been away for so long. Further, if I were a (shudder) Conservative strategist, my tagline would be "Ignatieff: The Liberals didn't want him, but got him anyway. Don't let that happen to you."

    2. Smarter than Harper.

    By Blogger Dennis, at 8:16 AM  

  • Re "dirth" -- I do not think it means what you think it means...

    That awesome sunglasses photo aside, I think we may have gotten a taste here:

    Harper told CTV Atlantic he met with Ignatieff last week, but said he still knew little about the former Harvard scholar and author.

    "I've read very little of what he's written. I certainly know he's a noted academic," he said.


    Michael Ignatieff: Man of Mystery.

    By Blogger Ben (The Tiger), at 8:18 AM  

  • Oh, but my suggestions.

    1. Count Ignatieff, the Russian vampire.

    2. Michael Elliot Trudeau.

    By Blogger Ben (The Tiger), at 8:30 AM  

  • Dan:

    I think the Conservatives will try to define Ignatieff as an elitist egghead who is out of touch with the reality of the every day Canadian. We will get a reprise of the Palin/McCain style 'real American (Canadian)' campaign. There has already been a strong anti-intellectual feeling to the party which I think we will only see grow.

    There will, of course, be attacks on Ignatieff based on his living outside the country for 25 years or however long it was; the manner in which he became leader of the party; and his past writings and commentary taken out of context.

    On the other hand, I don't think the Liberal Party needs to expend much effort trying to define Ignatieff. Unlike his recent predecessors, he is very able to define himself with his public appearances -- that is as an intelligent, calm, even tempered leader with the ability to stick to the high road. The problem with Dion was that he actually resembled what the Conservatives were calling him. Canadians may not know anything about political systems, but they will recognize that the Conservative description of Ignatieff does not match what they see on TV and read in the newspaper.

    By Blogger Devo, at 8:45 AM  

  • Conservatives will define Iggy as being an Aristocrat - Count Iggy, Surf 'n Turf Iggy, Out-of-Touch Iggy, Dithering Iggy, etc.

    The best way for Liberals to define Iggy -- given that they have no money -- is for him to be at 24 Sussex.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:09 AM  

  • 1: Viscount Iggy of the (American) Ivy Towers.
    2: The Great Canadian Thinker.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 AM  

  • Doesn't calling Ignatieff "un-Canadian" slap the faces of all those "minority" new Canadian voters the Tories have been targeting so vigorously. Ignatieff's response so far is that Harper doesn't define what is Canadian which can be expanded upon. If Ignatieff is not Canadian then who is? What is the definition of "Canadian-ness" that any politician could put forth? It's just a ridiculous line of reasoning when every minor celebrity who was born in Canada, went to school here for five minutes or even has some Canadian in their bloodline gets claimed as Canadian. So pretty easy to turn this negative into a positive...

    By Blogger whopitulia, at 9:34 AM  

  • International Man of Mystery? Well, finally those capitalist pigs will pay for their crimes, eh comrades? Eh? Oh, the cold war's over... yay Conservatism.

    1. Un-Canadian, what Grumpy said.

    2. Worldly leader with balls.

    I don't know why, but people like balls and thought Dion didn't have any. I'm a Dion fan, but I'm not unhappy with how things are turning out.

    By Blogger The Rational Number, at 9:36 AM  

  • Good luck painting Michael as uncanadian.

    Is Wayne Gretzky American?

    Is Mats Sundin Canadian?

    It's the easiest smear to defuse.

    The Tories should try to paint Michael as an intellectual who knows nothing about the economy.

    Who do you want at the helm? A torture expert or a trained economist?

    As for the Liberals, they should use history to their advantage. Conservatives tend to govern during bad economic times, and have paid the price for it at the polls.

    As for Ignatieff, he should surround himself with good managers of the economy. Recruit more businesspeople as star candidates.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 9:38 AM  

  • Here are a couple relating to Iggy's ability to equivocate on almost anything.

    Dithers Lite

    or relating to his fence sitting ability

    The Sphincter Splinter.

    By Anonymous Joe, at 9:55 AM  

  • Cons will try to define him as
    1) 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.

    2) The least experienced party leader in Canadian history. Never run anything, only 3 years in the House (Harper had 13 when he became PM), at a time of economic crisis do you really want to have the least experienced PM in our history running the place? What does he know about the economy?

    3) Not a leader, Mr. Dithers, etc... Use clips of all his flip-flops - Qana/War Crimes, The coalition, his equivocations on torture (surely stuff can be found in his writings to make him seem flip-floppy on that)

    4) A guy who belongs in the Conservative caucus. Why vote Conservative-lite when you get a more experienced steady hand that you've already got? The Conservatives will be hoping Ignatieff supports them on ever confidence vote to bolster their case on this point.

    You missed the NDP Dan. They will define him as:
    1) Harper-lite. Will be making a tally of each time Ignatieff voted in favour of the Conservatives. They are just hoping the next election happens without the Liberals voting against the Conservatives on a single confidence vote.
    2) Bush-lite. Backed the Iraq war, torture, a neo-Con in Liberal clothing, etc...
    3) "Not a Progressive": Preferred to enter into a coalition with the Conservatives than with the progressive parties of the country (presuming he backs the budget in Jan.). Harper-Iggy - two peas in a pod.

    The Liberals can define him as:
    1) A guy who has a vision vs. Harper no vision
    2) A guy who wants to unite Canadians vs. Harper who wants to divide them
    3) A guy who wants Canada to live up to its full potential vs Harper who just clings aimlessly to power
    4) Will change the tone in Ottawa

    By Anonymous Mike, at 10:01 AM  

  • Sooo easy -
    Not a Canadian but is an egg-head.
    It worked with Liberals in 2006 during the STOP Iggy campaign.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:11 AM  

  • How should Conservatives define Ignatieff? First, as "undemocratic", for the way he won the Liberal leadership. The "democracy" line has worked well with the Conservative base.

    Second, as "foreign/American" and "unknown", which will make mainstream/centrist/independent voters hesitant to vote for him.

    Third is a sort of combination of first and second: "opportunistic." They need to make the public believe that this is not a person with a plan for Canada, but rather a person who sees an opportunity to gain power and is seizing it. Maybe by coalition, maybe by forcing an election. Whatever works for him.


    As for how the Liberals should define Ignatieff, since he is the opposition/alternative leader, that should be combined with how they define Harper.

    First, present Ignatieff as a person willing to tell it like it is in tough times. This requires Ignatieff to tell it like it is when it comes to the economy. Contrast this with Harper's back and forth from "technical recession" to "possible depression" to "surplus ahead" to "deficit necessary".

    Second, emphasize Ignatieff's team, specifically his willingness to consult with them and gain from their input. Contrast this with Harper's tight grip on his own team, as well as his "I'm my own master strategist" approach.

    Third, somewhat related to second, present Ignatieff as someone who is willing to work with his political opponents, be they the Conservatives, NDP, or Bloc. By contrast, emphasize Harper's "my minority is actually a majority" approach.


    I put up these "contrast with Harper" ideas because I think that, for the Liberals, the best defence is a good offense. And on that note, I think there's something else the Liberals need to do: present Harper as the problem. Emphasize that Conservatives have an important role to play in shaping the country's politics, but that Harper's approach is what makes it impossible for the parties to work together. This is a short- and mid- term strategy of reaching out to some Conservative voters (particularly in Eastern and Central Canada, but maybe even in the West to an extent) to either cross over, or to try to replace Harper within the party.


    Anyway, I'm thinking this up very much on the fly, but make of it what you will.

    By Blogger - K, at 10:15 AM  

  • He'll get a similar treatment to some of Dion's ones. Probably more along the snob or egghead lines, and some of the "out of touch" with Canadians lines again.

    The Liberals do need to get him out. I have a feeling a lot of people are interested in him, so getting him out there now will be crucial. Paint him as someone who thinks through his decisions, maybe even pull a little Obama and make him out to be a politician who's not grown up in Ottawa and the Canadian political machine.

    I'm sure there's other things we could do as well, but yes, we do need to get messaging out ASAP in the winter.

    By Blogger UWHabs, at 10:24 AM  

  • Ben, good thoughts....

    1. Count Ignatieff, the Russian vampire.

    I think you might be right. 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.

    I don't anticipate a Palin-esque attack on intellectuals, I think they'll go more on class than brains.

    2. Michael Elliot Trudeau.

    Honestly, I thought you were referring to a mash-up of trudeau and the Brit ballet-boy movie - then I realized, oh that's BILLY Elliott. Duh. I think MIg is quite un-Trudeau, and if he tries to paint himself as one, the CPC will throw anything they can to point out that he's not.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 10:28 AM  

  • I think the Conservatives will also try to define him as a flip flopper. His positions on many topics (Iraq, torture, war crimes in the Israel/Lebanon war, coalition, the list goes on) appear to demonstrate, if you'll forgive the indelicate comment, a fence post lodged well up his ass.

    By Anonymous john g, at 10:38 AM  

  • An additional note:

    I agree with many of the comments here that Ignatieff can easily be painted as a flip-flopper. Heck, I'll go further and say that he really has been a flip-flopper on a number of issues.

    Having said that, if he can play straight-talker on the economy, he hits two birds with one stone.

    First, he neutralizes that line of attack by saying that it's focusing on the past (his biggest flip-flop was on the Lebanon war, which was two and-a-half years ago and only partially a Canadian issue), while he's focused on the present crisis. Second, it allows him to turn the attack around on Harper on the economy, which is currently much closer to the electorate's attention.

    By Blogger - K, at 10:56 AM  

  • 1: Elitist who's never had a real job (please pay no attention to our elitist leader who's never had a real job)

    2: Remember The Count? Wasn't The Count f***ing awesome? Who better to lead in a time of economic troubles than THE COUNT?

    I await my Communications Director salary.

    By Anonymous John D, at 11:06 AM  

  • "MIg"? Ah, there's the Russian meme again.

    "The MIgs are attacking, the MIgs are attacking!"

    By Blogger Ben (The Tiger), at 11:33 AM  

  • Liberals: "He's smarter than You"

    Tories: "He's smarter than You"

    By Anonymous CW, at 11:47 AM  

  • I think it will be: Harper is an economist, Ignatieff is not. Right now we don't need to experiment on a human rights theorizer; we need someone who can sail the ship of state through troubled economic waters.

    The rebuttal: Harper is an *economist* in the sense that he did an MA in economics at the 2nd best university in Alberta. He hasn't published anything of importance (sorry, those ghost-written op-eds don't count for much in academia) and many real economists are cringing at his fiscal policy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:05 PM  

  • I agree with Mike - CONs will say: "not Canadian (that this may offend immigrants won't matter to the CONs, look what they did with Quebeckers and what they did commenting on Dion's dual citizenship).

    But I think the bulk of attacks will be on how Ignatieff was appointed, labeling him as not democratic - this attack started last week, in fact. Link to that the words "entitlement" and "elitist", words that the CONs love to use in reference to Liberals creating that mindless, divisive climate so NDP hates them as well.

    For the Libs - Ignatieff can sell himself quite well I think since he comes across as strong, decisive, and can keep interviews where he wants them as he has shown by bringing sheepish looks to even Duffy.

    Not defending accusations such as the lie about the leadership appointment being undemocratic, but rather turning the accusation over like Ignatieff did by saying he will not take lessons in democracy from CONs - then listing a few examples of their shortcomings - is a good approach in light of present circumstances.

    I'd love to have a straight from the heart kind of leader who appeals to reason before all - like Dion tried, but that won't work when you're dealing with liars, one-line propagandanists like the CONs.

    Finally, the press will have a lot to do with it, and I remember an article of about a year ago where a journalist talked about how yes, they were unfairly portraying Dion because he was good fodder at the time, but should Harper come in with another minority, he would likely be the new target. Add to that Ignatieff is an interesting figure for the press - some of the promotion will be done by them since he comes out with good comments and counter-comments.

    By Blogger 900 ft Jesus, at 12:19 PM  

  • I agree with Devo, and will add to that opinion.

    Cons:
    First Ad series: An elitist who is out of touch with Canadians
    Second Ad series: How can this elitist who lived outside of Canada for 30 yrs understand the hardships facing average Canadians

    Libs: First and only brief ad series: In touch with workers and small businesses. Ads will have him always surrounded by workers at Mills or Factories
    Note: Video may be shot on cell phone video, or may not reach airwaves until 2012.

    By Blogger ktr, at 12:27 PM  

  • The bigger threat is from the NDP. If they link Iggy to Harper or George Bush that will have an impact. Conservatives cannot use the Iraq, Torture, backed out of the coalition stuff. The NDP and anonymous Liberal media leaks will do him in.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 PM  

  • Cons will paint him as: an art gallery-going elitist; Not a regular Canadian.

    Ndp will go more with: Ignatieff - just another pretend progressive.

    Liberals should go: Ignatieff - not Harper. A man who listens. Ignatieff Liberals, let's build together.

    By Blogger burlivespipe, at 12:55 PM  

  • It'll also be interesting to see how the Liberal government tries to define Harper in light of Iggy. The previous gameplan of equating Conservatives to Americans don't work as well when Ignatieff is your leader. It'll be funny if the Cons try to be the ones to manipulate the anti-American tendencies of many Canadians this time out. Or maybe that'll just be for the NDP and BQs now.

    By OpenID andythesaint, at 1:03 PM  

  • great topic!

    1. Paul Martin...the dithering sequel.

    2. Not Dion - the trick here for the liberal support base to be allowed to assist in composing an Iggy definition, but how do you do that in the throes of a coronation?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:10 PM  

  • I think this whole narrative is kind of wrong. The Conservatives did not 'define' Dion by snatching something that wasn't there.

    Paul Martin's thousand priorities and failure to make any real progress gave people the impression that he couldn't keep focus and was 'dithering'. The Conservatives took that and ran with it.

    Dion created the perception that he wasn't a strong leader on his own and the Conservatives took that and ran with it. Beginning with his 'do you think its easy to make priorities' whine during the candidates debate he defined himself in that way.

    The Liberals have successfully defined Harper as mean and uncaring because Harper's actions defined himself in that way.

    Was Dion 'not a leader'? Is Harper a mean and uncaring person? Probably not, but their personalities led people to believe so.

    The CPC will wait until Ignatieff defines himself and then pounce on any weaknesses they see. Right now, Ignatieff is far too unknown to too many people to define him one way or another.

    By Blogger Eric, at 1:48 PM  

  • The Cons will also note that the Green Shift was originally Ignatieff's idea (it was in his 2006 leadership platform, he was the only one who argued for it at the time). They'll say Ignatieff has a "hidden agenda" to bring back the carbon tax since he's argued in favour of it for the last 3 years right up until the last election.

    And you can guarantee they will use this footage to play up the angle that Michael Ignatieff thinks he's entitled to your vote.

    I think the tag line will be:
    Michael Ignatieff: Arrogrant. Out of touch. No government experience. Not Worth the Risk.

    Or they'll run with a variation of the Dalton McGuinty ads that beat him in 1999 with the "Not Up to the Job" tagline.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 2:04 PM  

  • The Cons were able to define Dion because he really did not have all of caucus behind him from the outset. But historians will remember him for holding the party together when it was at risk of being split again. With the acclamation of Iggy, the “not a leader” would never stick.

    I say the Conservatives will NOT try to define Ignbatieff but will instead focus on defining the Liberals as a whole. They will shift focus from the leader to the Party (Sponsorship, tax and spend, beholden to Bob Rae and NDP)

    The Liberals must counter this by doing two things to continue to show that Ignatieff is in full control.

    Externally, they must get him on as much local media, with as many MPs/community leaders, as possible so that people get to know his non-academic side (he is actually very personable when you meet him, and just as likely to flip burgers at the Stampede as he is to shake hands at the Vancouver Pride Parade. To bolster his Prime Ministerial image, Liberals should also be trying to get coverage of him meeting with other world leaders; Obama would be a great start.

    Internally, he must do everything to ensure that the Rae wing of the party is happy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:06 PM  

  • Suffice it to say though we have a lot worse on Harper than they do on Ignatieff and people are getting really sick of Harper's divisive tactics so the unifer angle on Ignatieff's part will be a powerful counter.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 2:06 PM  

  • Hm, I didn't intend anything "Russian" with MIg, it was just a shorthand -- but I'll stop using it, I see where one would get that impression. Thanks.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 2:20 PM  

  • They could point out that just a year ago the Liberals were so desperate to avoid having him as leader that they actually chose Stéphane Dion.

    There's really no defense against whatever they decide to throw at him - and they absolutely won't care if they're things Harper or other Conservatives are equally "guilty" of.

    Iggy needs to get his own message out and make sure people know what it is. I'm not in a position to suggest what it should be though. If I was, I'd be Iggy. ;)

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 2:21 PM  

  • Ignatieff is vulnerable on a number of fronts, from both the conservatives and the NDP:

    1) The parachute candidate - not only was he parachuted into the leader's role, he was also parachuted into his own riding.

    2) The elitist/diplomats kid - this, in conjunction with the fact that the other leadership contenders (Rae, Leblanc) were also diplomats' kids who grew up wealthy, makes it easy to paint the entire Liberal party in this light.

    3) Iraq/Torture - The NDP will go at him hard on this. The fact is, Ignatieff continued his support for the Iraq war until he returned to Canada, and it became politically expedient to back away from that position.

    4) The fact that he has lived outside of Canada for most of his life. How can a party that has made its living bashing Americans (the Liberals) have someone who has worked in the US/Britain more than he has in Canada?

    By Anonymous Michael Fox, at 2:57 PM  

  • Simple, 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.

    The Conservatives can really only suggest how he isn't a "Canadian" by telling everyone how long he has been outside of Canada.

    By Blogger Scott, at 4:15 PM  

  • Ben the Tiger is absolutely correct.

    The Conservative line will be that we don't know Michael Ignatieff. Unknown. Untested. Risky. Who is Michael Ignatieff?

    Harper seemed to indicate this in the CTV Atlantic interview when he said he didn't know very much about MI, as though MI were sort of irrelevant and 'outside' of the nation's concerns.

    I think it's an ok approach, but would probably be more fruitful if supplemented by waiting around for the next bout of verbal diarrhea and blasted that from every radio, tv, and computer in the land.

    Not to be too trite, but the Liberal response should be something like Obama's response to McCain's attacks. They're losing their bearings. They have no plan. They're so desperate that all they'll do is attack us. Hope and change over fear and loathing. Strong on the economy and respected in the world, over disarray and ridicule.

    yadda yadda yadda...

    By Anonymous Bruce Lyth, at 4:33 PM  

  • The framing of this post is wishful thinking. The NDP has much better material for attacking Ignatieff than the Conservatives. Harper provided Iggy with a honeymoon by proroguing parliament but if Iggy goes back to the Liberal playbook of supporting the Conservatives while pretending to be an opposition than the ads are going to write themselves. The guy was an enthusiastic supporter of Margareat Thatcher and the Iraq war, the Liberals have never looked more irrelevant from a progressive standpoint than they do now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:12 PM  

  • I agree anon 5:12, its going to be pretty easy to define Ignatieff if he supports the Conservative throne speech. The Liberals are dreaming if they they think they can prop up the Conservatives and then critisize them as bad economic managers. That kind of two faced slimyness isn´t going to look any less repulsive without Dion at the helm.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:29 PM  

  • If we are to ask how we would define someone else, we should try to understand how they would define themselves.

    Does anyone know where Iggy stands on anything? He seems to have an opinion for anyone, but it never seems to be his own.

    His minions will complain that the GST cuts were a bad idea, but he'll send out missives that he wouldn't change that tax. Is he for or against a 5% GST?

    He signed on to the coalition, but leaves his spokespeople suggesting he's not really in favour of it.

    The questions regarding his possible support for Israel remain famous.

    He can expound for a long time without answering the question. But beyond platitudes, can anyone say conclusively where he stands on any issue?

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 5:42 PM  

  • from the Times of India

    "Mr Ignatieff, who will officially be an interim leader until the May convention, failed to win the job in 2006. Then he was widely seen as a carpetbagger, having only recently entered politics after three decades living abroad, mainly in Britain"

    That's perfect.

    Iggy, the Carpetbagger

    By Blogger Fred, at 5:43 PM  

  • I think McQuaig gets it.

    http://rabble.ca/columnists/good-looks-nobel-lineage-spineless

    Some observers chalked all this up to inexperience.

    But does it really take experience - beyond being alive - to feel something when children are bombed to death? To then go full circle and denounce the bombing as a war crime, and then go full circle again and try to retract an arguably appropriate term, suggests the behaviour of someone who flaps wildly in the wind, who cuts and runs in the political heat, who lacks a basic moral compass.

    Ignatieff showed the same moral evasiveness in his attempt to distance himself from his support for the Iraq invasion.

    Given the scope of the Iraqi tragedy that has unfolded, anyone who played a role in facilitating the invasion has a great deal to account for. And Ignatieff did play a role. From his prestigious human rights perch at Harvard, Ignatieff's eloquent defence of Bush's war plans in the New York Times Magazine in the run-up to the invasion helped sell a preposterous war to the American people.

    Rather than taking some responsibility and expressing genuine remorse in a follow-up New York Times Magazine article in 2007, Ignatieff artfully dodged and ducked any blame, absolving academics like himself of any responsibility for promoting the war. As a mea culpa, Ignatieff's piece was long on mea and short on culpa.

    Media commentators here have been quick to hail Ignatieff as a natural leader, strong and resolute.

    He does have good curb appeal. But beyond the measured phrases and chiseled features, the royal stuff inside may be more Jell-O than jelly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:54 PM  

  • Seriously, almost any attack the Cons use on Iggy could easily backfire. This ain't the sweet summer of 2008 anymore. The economic troubles have cast a lot of doubt on Harper's so-called leadership, so expect the Liberals (and Iggy's team) to make a lot of hay out of that.

    If Harper comes out too strong against Iggy personally, he'll be seen, again, to be poisoning relations between the parties.

    Attack Iggy on his writings? What, you mean we might have a PM whose opinion is actually respected around the world? Ya don't say!

    Attack Iggy on his Americanism? Sure, that'll be easy for Harper, the biggest American booster our country's ever seen.

    Attack Iggy on Iraq? See above.

    Attack Iggy on his leadership assumption? Yeah, this should work wonders: gives Liberals the perfect opening for any number of Harper's decisions, like the Senate appointment for Fortier, his lawsuit against Elections Canada, firing the Nuclear Safety Commissioner, etc.

    I look forward to the coming weeks and months in a way I haven't since the days of Chretien...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:01 PM  

  • Is Wayne Gretzky American?

    Is Mats Sundin Canadian?


    How many goals per year did Iggy score, anyhow?

    Hopefully, he'll find a good explanation for his absence for so many years, and his sudden love for Canada.

    And I mean that, he should have this down pat.

    By Blogger Möbius, at 7:30 PM  

  • Conservatives don't need to define (attack) Ignatieff. They have the coalition for that which is already very unpopular. Harper is looking for a Con-Lib coalition on the economy. Ignatieff is not wanting to go with the coalition Titanic. Harper is his lifeboat. Harper is going to say nice things about Ignatieff. Ignatieff will return the favour.

    By Anonymous orval, at 9:38 PM  

  • Harper on Ignatieff: Yorkville, Toronto, academic, too good for Canada, friend of separatists, wishy-washy, intellectual.

    Liberals on Ignatieff: damned if I know. At a time when the Liberals needed a Chretien/Clinton style-populist to rally an anxious working-class they annointed a guy who is, in every way, the absolute antithesis of that. He's politically untrained. He's a blueblood. He looks like he's gagging when he smiles.

    You could try marketing him as the new Trudeau but (a) he's no Trudeau (b) Trudeau is not what you need in tough economic times. Trudeau bombed in tough economic times.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:48 PM  

  • Isn't it great to know that part of your tax money goes to fund attack ads? That's all part of the public funding for political parties that Mr. Harper wanted to kill.

    I had a thought looking at the "Not a Leader" ads. Who owns the copyright to the "Dion Shrug" image? Was it a photo taken by a press gallery photographer? Was it a video image taken from CPAC footage? Or was it a photo taken by a conservative photographer at a public event? I think it would be interesting to find out.

    Being a broadcaster, MI will no doubt have a lot more control over the use of his image.

    By Blogger lyrical, at 2:28 AM  

  • His writings, no matter how outdated, will be front and centre during the next election.

    Both the Conservatives and the NDP will be quoting Ignatieff's old written words. And it being written in print, will make it almost impossible to counter.

    For this reason, Liberal fortress GTA will be under attack. The inner core by the NDP, the outer regions by the Conservatives.

    Ignatieff will win elsewhere, mind you, to counter some of the fortress being lost.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 6:52 AM  

  • Ignatieff appears to be in the process of defining himself -- viz., the new book "True Patriot Love".

    By Blogger Ben (The Tiger), at 11:37 AM  

  • The last philosopher king Liberal PM was for all intents and purposes economically illiterate. This resulted in deficit laden budgets and other economic problems.

    Ignatieff needs to reassure Canadians that despite his apparent lack of economic savvy, he won't ruin the economy. Harper will contrast Ignatieff's background against his own, which includes formal training in economics. So, Ignatieff needs to be able to point (again and again) to one or more persons who can hit the economic road running in a Liberal government.

    And, it goes without saying that having NDP MPs hold cabinet positions in a Liberal government does not inspire economic confidence.

    FWIW, I'm not a Liberal or a Conservative, but do consider myself fiscally conservative.

    By Blogger Jim R, at 2:27 PM  

  • Oh, I get it now. One needs to write books so they can be reprinted later on in order to fund one's campaign. And MI's new book will be published in April just before the Liberal convention in Vancouver.

    I just checked on Amazon and Mr. Dion's "Straight Talk" book is out of stock. So maybe his publisher will reprint it and he can get some royalties, at least, to pay off campaign debts.

    By Blogger lyrical, at 1:41 AM  

  • Two words:

    Count Ignatieff.

    He'll look lovely in that photoshopped cape.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 3:54 AM  

  • As for what the Libs should do... back off on the "move to the center" rhetoric and focus on the idea of consensus-building. Channel the Obama-esque idea that you should not look left OR right but forward. That doesn't mean triangulation--which never, ever works--but simply a demonstrated openness to ideas that work.

    (And, yes, right now those are progressive ones. It seems like the Liberals are the last people on earth to realize just how badly conservatism screwed up the United States and, by proxy, the world economy.)

    He also needs to make the same calculation Harper did, and realize that just as there are votes on the left that Harper will never, ever win, there are votes on the right that Iggy will never, ever win. The left is more fluid, which is why he'd be foolish to abandon it, but there are people and places where the Liberals will not win. Obama may have had a 50-state strategy, but he didn't base his strategies on winning Appalachia, either.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 4:05 AM  

  • 1. The Conservatives will mirror suspicious Republican tactics/psychology in the USA and label Iggy as an "elite." They will claim he is an out of touch, elite ivory-tower academic with no experience of real Canadian families and their struggles.

    2. Liberals should position Iggy as an heir of Martin-Chretien solid economic management. Libs should surround Iggy with the trappings of former Liberal economic greatness (Goodale, Manley, Graham, Martin, Chretien) and market him as a firm hand, a smart, sharp worldly hand on the economic tiller, open to consultation and plugged in to his international counterparts. Committed to a concerted global strategic response to the economic problems we face. Part of this strategy also entails smearing Grim Jim Flaherty with all the dirt that can be possible assembled: Poor manager, spineless, beholden to Harper, terrible economic record (Ontario), no experience, shoddy, shabby, small, cheap, not up to the task. A political hack when the times call for an intellectual giant. Grim Jim. Grim Jim. Grim Jim. Grim Jim. The mantra.

    By Blogger Allan, at 1:28 PM  

  • Um, don't look now dude but it looks like Mr. Ignatieff's just defined himself as just another Liberal who wants to raise your taxes.

    See Bourque. Remind me again, if the support base of the party is in agreement with the King of the Coalition?

    Who'd of thought that Iggy'd do himself in so quickly? Not me...but I'm one of those who believes in the grassroot supports having a say in party leadership so I don't count.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:41 PM  

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