It is funny how the world works sometimes. I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine on Friday about how the Liberal strategy in the next election has to be to run in the weeks leading up to the leader's debate strong character ads about who Stéphane Dion is before the Tories can define him. Canadians don't know Dion and while I think he is a good man, if someone else defines him for us then it will not matter what I think nor what the truth is.
The Conservatives have proved again that they are smart campaigners. It was reported last night that they will be running three ads against Dion during the Superbowl and thereafter during prime time spots and Hockey Night in Canada.
This is a brilliant strategy on the part of the Tories. Moreover, considering the amount of money they've been raising and the limits on spending during a campaign period, they likely have money to burn and can probably afford - and may well be spending - millions of dollars on these ad buys.
Even worse, these ads are taken straight from the Toronto leadership debate in October and have little third party commentary added, it is mostly the words of Stéphane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and Ken Dryden with their points underlined.
The ads do two things: 1) it shows Dion looking to be the defender of the Liberal record while Ignatieff and Dryden are criticizing it. From there, the Tories can tie Dion to the unpopularity of the Martin government. 2) it shows Ignatieff - now deputy leader and labelled as such in the video - essentially assusing Dion of non leadership.
Jason Cherniak compares it to Harris labelling Dalton McGuinty as "not up to the job" in 1999. Unfortunately, that worked pretty well for Harris and it I was actually thinking of that ad when realizing my greatest fears about these spots.
This ad in particular is pretty rough.
The problem is that we do not have the cash to run counter ads, particularly during the Super Bowl. We have to do something or Harper has a second term in the bag. Any ideas?