Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ignatieff's Game and Harper's Problem Will Define This Election

Adam Radwanski writes in the globe and Mail:
Ignatieff's got game, Harper's got a problem But the Liberal Leader is surprising even his own handlers with his comfort on the campaign trail. And he shows signs of making the Conservatives pay for underestimating him, and for conditioning the public – through advertisements that portrayed Mr. Ignatieff as a bumbling dilettante – to do likewise.
Everyone counted Harper out in 2005, including his own people. Martin was well ahead in the polls too.

Paul Wells says at Macleans says Ignatieff finds his fight. Hebert believes that if voters turn out, this could be an interesting election.

Even a Sun columnist writes: "when you see the PM these days on the campaign trail, he looks tired and irritable. When you see his chief opponent, he looks like he is having the time of his life." And David Akin tweeted that Sun journalists told Harper to stop treating them like putzs and quit making them stand behind a fence like cattle. They haven't jumped ship but the seas are getting rough.

And the Toronto Star says that Harper may be playing it safe, but appears to be stumbling.
That’s the game Stephen Harper’s Conservatives played this week. But by the end of week one of the campaign, it was apparent Harper may be playing it too safe and too confident in the face of a political rival stronger than whom he faced in the last election.

A week that started strong for Harper — by putting Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on his heels with accusations of plotting to lead an opposition coalition — ended with the Conservative leader looking unsteady on everything from debates, his dealings with the media and even his attacks around the coalition.
Vivian Baker in the Victoria Times Columnists says that Harper can't be trusted with majority:
The thought of Stephen Harper's party obtaining a majority scares me. I am a lifelong red Tory by inclination -though I have had no relationship with the Conservative party since Brian Mulroney was elected leader -and right up to the last election I was hoping for a small Conservative majority in the House. I now dread that thought based on Harper's actions.
I don't think he can be trusted with another mandate, period.

And Rabble: Escalating F-35 fighter jet price tag + future defence plan costs = election issue

Glen Pearson describes a campaign stop in London, where Michael Ignatieff was well received. It sounded very much like last weekend when Carolyn Bennett payed a visit to Kingston. They came out in droves because her topic was our decaying democracy. Despite what Harper things, Canadians do care.

I'll give Scott Feschuk the last word: Stephen Harper’s lessons in strategery
To run a disastrous election campaign, it’s important to get things off on the wrong foot as quickly as possible. Maybe stand outside Rideau Hall and ensure that potential voters see you as inexplicably angry and, frankly, kind of paranoid. That should do the trick. Elect me or the sinister coalition will put fluoride in our precious bodily fluids! Try to sound vaguely unhinged. (My emphasis)
Score this week for Ignatieff.

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