I woke up this morning and walked down the hall of my apartment complex as usual. Glancing down to floor as I walked by a door I saw the headline "Tory attack ads target Dion".
Now we aren't in election mode in Canada. No one seems to want an election lately. Least of all the Liberals... Just what is there debt level today?
The crippling effect of limiting political donations to individuals and not corporations has no doubt been the greatest give Jean Chretien ever gave to the Conservative Party... Forgetting Joe Volpe type loopholes of course.
Yet for some strange reason the powers that be in the Party of Sir John, feel it appropriate to launch a preemptive strike against their new Liberal foe Chef Stephane Dion.
Dion's reaction was to protest that old protest of those attacked in politics: "..it will backfire..."
So it seemed to backfire when Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella made fun of Stockwell Day's faith on national television. It also seemed to backfire when claims of bigotry and holocaust denial were readily made... Claims of Two-tier healthcare also seemed to backfire... And if horses were wishes we'd all be eating steak - or so the saying goes. But I guess not all those attacks were done in TV ads per say.
But it makes the point - Attacks, and Attack ads work. No one wants to admit it. But they do. Otherwise political campaigns wouldn't use them. Frequently however campaigns either go to far, or they get chicken after they release them. That can create damage. As much as some will say the "factual" component of the ad matters I seriously doubt it.
People don't question. They don't doubt. They accept everything they see - unless it conflicts with their personal world view or affects their cushy lifestyles. In that latter case they'll doubt that the sky is blue if it inconveniences them.
Another factor often repeated as important for negative ads to work is time. Time is everything. They need time to sink in. Otherwise all they produce is negative press about yourself being neg.
And that's the kicker here. There's no election in sight. These ads have all the time in the world to sink in.
Another thing we're all forgetting here is that there are really two classes of attacks in politics: attacks on policy and attacks on the individual. They are two very different enchiladas.
The Mike Harris Tories were legendary for short 30 second ads they aired with simple "T-Bar" charts. Here's where the Tories stand on Taxes on the left. Here's where the Liberals stand. Very simple. Very succinct. Very policy based.
And that's fair game as far as I'm concerned. Stuff like making fun of someone's faith, alleging holocaust denial, or calling someone a "reptilian kitten eater from hell" aint.
On that score the Tory ads win in droves:"The three 30-second ads portray Dion as ineffective on the environment, power-hungry and indecisive. They rely heavily on excerpts from public debates during the recent Liberal leadership contest."
Relying on quotes straight from the clowns own mouths is pretty hard to find fault with. If Liberal leadership contenders found these attacks to be worthy of debate during their own leadership race, just what makes it wrong for Tories to bring them up?
Nada. The media can suck all it wants to. There's nothing wrong with these ads... U
nless there's some sort of weirdness in them that the media hasn't reported thus far...