Taken from the Vancouver Sun (who took it form the Calgary Herald)
Stick a fork in them; they're done! (Hopefully )
Top 10 Liberal blunders
Saturday, January 14, 2006
In the good ol' days before, um, right now, Canada's divine ruling party would walk to a win on the backs of self-destructing rivals. Be it Reform or renamed Canadian Alliance or re-emerged Conservatives, the main Liberal opponent could be counted on to botch winnable campaigns. Well, welcome to 2006 where it's the Liberals conducting a textbook campaign on how to lose power in 10 easy screwups. These are the worst missteps of Prime Minister Paul Martin's campaign to date, compiled with the help of several Liberal insiders suddenly polishing their resumes.
That the Liberals would hit the smear button hard, even with Paul Martin demanding intelligent campaign discourse, was no surprise with his government so seriously threatened. But to suggest armed Canadian soldiers would invade cities under Stephen Harper's command if there was a Conservative victory went way too far. Result: All 12 of the ads have been tainted and the last flicker of Liberal hope to demonize Harper has flamed out.
2. AdSlam Aftermath
Martin (Paul) won't apologize and shrugs off his Conservative military manoeuvre as more infomercial than attack ad. But Martin (Keith), a Liberal MP, apologizes for the ad and says only an "idiot" would approve of sending it out. Anne McLellan (deputy prime minister) says it was never approved by Martin (prime minister), who then admits he did approve the ad. Result: Confusion all 'round and questions about everybody's judgment.
3. Bunker blues
War rooms are overrated for impacting an election, but massaging the message is important and attacking the opposition is critical. So why has the Liberal war room been dead slow to react and consistently beaten to the punch by all three rival parties? Some Liberals fret the command post is populated with inexperienced soldiers and yes-people-types who don't challenge the oft-whacky edicts coming from the campaign plane. Result: Slow, unimaginative feeding of selective facts to the media.
4. Klander Clunker
Ontario Liberal executive Mike Klander quit after comparing NDP candidate Olivia Chow to a Chinese chow chow dog on his weblog under a caption: "Separated at Birth." "It was a play on words," an apologetic Klander insisted. How, then, to explain the play on words in calling New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton an "A-hole" on the same site? Result: Liberal campaign staff appear racist and intolerant in their key electoral battleground.
5.'Pop' goes the campaign
When Martin communications boss Scott Reid, echoed by the most irritating Liberal on television today, strategist John Duffy, derided the Conservative child-care allowance as a beer and popcorn fund for the parents of pre-school children, it was the quip heard across Canada. It cast a slur on all parents and was particularly offensive to Liberal-loving immigrant families, who tend to embrace formal daycare alternatives and might prefer the Harper plan. Result: Reid disappears from sight, his boss denounces his spokesman and, not coincidentally, the Liberals start their dip in the polls.
6. See Paul Run
In a moment of rhetorical hyperbole, Paul Martin says he'd debate and defend Canada against Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe "on every street corner, in every city and in every town and village in Quebec." Bring it on, brother, says Duceppe. Chicken Martin ducks the debate offer while Harper steps in with his dukes up. The result: Harper shines while Martin suffers a credibility meltdown in federalist Quebec.
7. What? Me? Resign?
News of an RCMP investigation into an alleged market-lifting leak of an income trust announcement hit the Liberals hard. When Finance Minister Ralph Goodale refused to step down after millions of investment dollars moved abruptly, inexplicably and profitably hours ahead of his statement, it tainted a Martin government which had vowed to set a new high in ethical purity. Result: The buck stops nowhere and the campaign has its turning point.
8. Escape Clause
There's little to no evidence Martin had ever considered repealing the notwithstanding clause in the Constitution until Monday's debate. That's when he closed his eyes and threw the long bomb, hoping the idea would catch on with some voters. It hasn't. Result: With no timeouts left and the clock ticking down, even Liberals are leaving the building.
9. Early policy leaks, late platform launch
Holding back Liberal policy until five weeks into the campaign was bad enough, but having the contents dribble out in advance was worse, particularly when bad luck ensured every initiative was overtaken by negative news breaking out on other Liberal fronts. To add insult to injury, the entire platform was leaked to a Calgary magazine which hates all things Liberal. Result: Media peeved at being scooped ignore what little policy was not overshadowed by new scandals.
10. Same team, different result
Martin stuck with his same old friends to guide this campaign, even though they ran his 2004 campaign with extreme mediocrity and only won when the Conservatives stumbled. They were counting on a Harper collapse to save them again. So far, he hasn't co-operated. (Probable) result: Prime Minister Stephen Harper.