In the world of politics the fight can really only stay as clean as your dirtiest player and the Conservative Party of Canada could not be a dirtier player. They are the textbook example of Karl Rove’s warped, cynical play-book.
The latest attack ads against Justin Trudeau demonstrate how low they are willing to go, quoting him completely out of context making him appear to claim Quebec is superior to the rest of Canada. When in fact he is speaking of the views of his late father. The problem is most Canadians will never know the truth as they are casual followers of the political scene and their views and opinions are formed by what they see and hear. They do not investigate and dig deeper, that is only done by us political nerds.
The strategy used by the Conservative Party has proven extremely effective in defining the previous two Liberal leaders and it appears as though this will happen once again. This will not happen because of the attack ads exclusively, it will be supported by the absolute militant, vigilant discipline of the Harper Conservatives as it has been in the past.
On these pages I predicted the strategy that Harper would follow against Ignatieff and his ‘reckless coalition partners’.
Here’s what the latest mantra will sound like: “Mr. Speaker, the honourable member from Papineau is clearly too inexperienced to understand important issues like the operation of the economy…” Repeated at nauseam by all the Conservative hacks as part of every statement, no matter the issue. The Conservatives understand that if you say something often enough eventually it sticks.
When you face an opponent with such tight organization, such strict message discipline you can not afford to simply try to counter the message showing the Leader in some positive pictures. You must match the organization and the discipline of your opponent.
The Liberal Party is just as capable of defining the Conservatives, not by staying positive and not without discipline.