Thursday, October 16, 2008

Canadian Federalection 2008 - CPC War Room mishaps

Here are my thoughts on where the Conservative War Room and Stephen Harper disappointed me in this election (and I know many other Conservatives whom I've spoken with agree):

- The famous puffin poop dropping on Dion in a website animation. Who approved this? Absolutely immature and unnecessary.

- Announcement of new policy to treat 14 year old serious offenders as criminals, etc. Duceppe's argument that sending them to jail would be dangerous to them was right and this issue lost the CPC votes in Quebec. This announcement was not a major issue, wouldn't have shored up more support than they already had, and totally unnecessary to bring up during the election.

- Harper's comments on "rich galas" when quickly the media and Liberal war room brought up the fact that his wife, Laureen, was chairman of a gala committee nullified his statements. While his comments solidified core support, it along with the massive arts-cuts spin lost him tonnes of votes and seats in Quebec. (But then why these arts folks who want more funding voted Bloc who would get no funding if they separated have any credibility on this issue is beyond me.)

- When the Liberal war room and Bob Rae exposed the plagarism of a speech Harper gave that was exactly the same as then Australian Prime Minister Howard's regarding the War in Iraq, the fallout was the resignation of a guy in the CPC war room who stole the speech. It wasn't until a week later did the CPC war room expose a plagarised speech Dion gave regarding Kyoto. It got little legs in the media as compared to Harper's. Too little too late boys.

- Harper in the debates. In French, he didn't go after Duceppe as much as he could have on Duceppe not talking about "sovereignty". That issue doesn't play as well in Quebec anymore which is why the Bloc got so many votes--not that their soft supporters actually want to separate, but now they're no different than a western protest party. In English, he didn't go after Duceppe again on this issue. Which leads me to...

- Harper's leadership. He was trumpted as a "strong leader" at the beginning of the campaign, but when the U.S. economy tanked, and Canadians stocks tanked, that leadership didn't come through as much as Canadians were told to expect. He should have trumpted more and more how the Canadian banking system is #1 in the world, how our mortgage lending system is rock solid, how Canadians are smart people, and basically provide some sort of inspiration and hope, and how we differ from the U.S. on these aspects. Luckily the few days before the election, he got that support back, as voters had no where else to turn to.

- The spin on Stephane Dion's re-re-redo-interview on CTV. CTV and the media were already running with it, so why did the CPC war room and Harper have to mention anything about it again. That tactic backfired due to the Liberal Party (LPC) war room and Bob Rae spinning it back very well. This resonated in Quebec.

- And locally in Edmonton-Strathcona, on the Rahim Jaffer campaign, whoever thought of printing up and distributing flyers spouting NDP leader Jack Layton's quotes on marajiuana being "a wonderful substance" and contrasting it with Conservative policy criminalizing it when Rahim himself was quoted a couple years ago in favour of decriminalization, had poor political judgement and no understanding of the riding. This policy stance was irrelevant and a very poor choice for a wedge issue in a riding that is the most libertarian one in Alberta. This mishap was quoted in the Edmonton Journal editorial leading up to election day, and now knowing the NDP implied stance, people from all over the left side of the spectrum probably caused an exodus to the already well-run NDP Linda Duncan campaign. I'm not saying it was the main cause, but it was a cause.

- Finally... TV ads. Conservative TV ads spent most of the time attacking Dion's carbon tax. Some of them looked cheap, reminding me of old Progressive Conservative ads. While there were positive ads of Harper in his "sweather", there were no ads spouting the positive Conservative record and their current platform. The Liberals did it in 2000 and won handily.

That's all I gotta say... for now anyway. Anyone looking for a political strategist/spin doctor?

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