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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Political Study Break Musings

1. I have to admit enjoyment at watching many at progressive bloggers up in arms over the Conservative ad campaign. Thus far, Harper has been almost note perfect in delivery and tone. Did Liberals expect the Tories to NOT to focus on the reasons for the fall of the government? Why are they surprised that, in a campaign so naturally divided in two parts, the focus has shifted? And as for anticipating the negative attacks of the Liberals? Further evidence of the CPC anticipating the flow of the campaign well, as spelled out by Ottawa Ad Exec Don Masters:
"Perhaps the Conservatives are hoping to prevent the Liberals from going negative," he says, "but if the Liberals don't go negative, the Conservatives can claim that they scared them away from doing so. If the Liberals do go negative, they can say 'We told you so.'"
2. On the Grand Strategy front, Mark Steyn revisits one of his pet claims in a long and impressive WSJ piece - the shifting demographics of Europe and the greater West. Agree with him or not, but in the midst of an (at times) overly petty electoral campaign, it is sobering to keep the long view in perspective. This is a fascinating argument that few are talking about. Yet.

3. In the ongoing saga over Ignatieff's candidacy, count me firmly on the side of this Star article as opposed to the name-calling of this one. His is a cautionary tale of how to make the transition to the rough-and-tumble of politics. Hopefully it serves as a guide to future aspirants, not reason to sit out.

4. Coyne has an interesting and extremely timely response to the Martin government's education announcement this evening. I admit to being more sympathetic to ideas that do not simply dump money in various areas, favoring attempts at innovation over simple announcements of more cash. Wonder how these (and future) announcements will play out. I get the lingering sense that the tide may have already turned, despite irrepressible optimism elsewhere.

5. In my prediction at the campaign's outset, I attempted a cursory run through the ridings and favored the NDP, CPC, and Bloc over the Liberals in the marginal races to arrive at the numbers. At this point, only Layton has failed to consolidate pre-campaign inroads. They are the real hidden story in this election. I simply cannot see how the 43 seats James Bow now predicts is possible, when even the 30 I picked initially is likely a stretch. As the second half of the magic Liberal or CPC majority, they should be able to orchestrate more coverage.

On that note, Harper could stand to benefit enormously from a strong rise in the NDP vote. Can the CPC campaign team figure out how to help disaffected Liberals [who have ruled out the Tories] find Layton? That's the last step toward a sure CPC minority. How creative might they get on that front is a truly fascinating question.

4 Comments:

Blogger The Tiger said...

James, I've been thinking of you as a disaffected liberal (in the North American sense of the word, not my idiosyncratic usage) who has been temporarily driven out by disgust with the Liberal Party.

But given some of the pieces in this -- just by what you find intriguing, I mean -- I wonder whether you are going through a shift in political philosophy.

It takes years, sometimes, before a person hits an end in that, and sometimes they never do -- but I wonder.

With that in mind, I shall be looking forward to reading your take on the next election campaigns in the States, both for the midterm ones and the next presidential race.

3:20 AM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

Methinks you jump the gun here, though I am consistently surprised at the amount of people who take much of my writings on this blog as those of an uncompromising rightist since it began.

Forays into the much more conservative American political scene may have tempered my ability (enthusiasm?) to compromise, as well. Combine that with an especial hostility to the Republican recklessness with all things monetary, that should act as a reminder to the left that politics has always been the art of the compromise, and the future is paramount.

So, a shift in political philosophy? Only toward those who temper competence with innovation and a sincere desire to do well for the many. I still disagree with Steyn much more than I agree, for example. But only the foolish don't realize that those who don't read him (and others of his quality) are missing much of the argument.

I laugh to consider that since beginning the foray into the blogosphere, my two favorite commentators have long been Kos and Sullivan, in equal measure. Make of that into a definite philosophy and the first Domus beer post-election's on me.

11:26 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

Oh, this batch of Republicans deserve what abuse they've received about things monetary. Their inability to cut spending means that tax hikes are a very real possibility. I put the blame for that at their feet. The only thing that might save them from a deservedly vicious thrashing at the polls in 2006 is the irresponsibility on foreign policy that the congressional Dems are showing.

I'm just saying, I remember hearing you about foreign policy in the Domus basement, and that's not the same man I'm reading on this here weblog. Make of that what you will.

As for forging a coherent political philosophy out of Kos and Sullivan? I haven't read quite enough of the two gentlemen lately, but I think I could come up with something that would satisfy more than a few of their principle points. [It might actually be somewhere in the area of Ronald Reagan, without the 1.3 trillion in defence spending. (The fight against the Soviets being special circumstances.)]

You're not at an end-point, and so I'd be way out of line to predict anything. But I think that your future politics, whatever they be, will be somewhere in the real world. Which is more than I can say for many whom I have had the pleasure of studying with, at all three of my post-secondary institutions (including my sophomore year self).

1:12 AM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

You can tell I'm a few drinks in. PrincipAL points, not principLE. Though there is some small level of principle involved with those principal points, of course.

It'll be interesting to see, all the same.

I'm for the Party of the Flea, anyway.

1:21 AM  

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