Monday, November 28, 2005

Some advice for Stephen

Every pundit and their mother has said Stephen needs to present a vision for the future, and not just repeat his ‘Liberals bad’ mantra. If it’s time for a change as he said, the question is a change to what? That’s still unclear from his caucus address tonight. He said he wants to focus on the future and not the past, but his speech was still all Gomery, corruption, bad Liberals, and so on.

Still, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad strategy. Any substantive policy he puts out now will be forgotten over the next eight weeks of campaigning, or spun and countered by the Liberals. A few days is a lifetime in a campaign, eight weeks is a generation. As everyone has said, this campaign begins in earnest in January.

If I were Harper I’d keep hammering on Gomery between now and Christmas, and all the other examples of Liberal wrongdoing he likes to, if you’ll forgive me, harp on. Keep the Randy Whites of the party on message, and sound tough but moderate. Don’t look angry, don’t flash that vaguely arrogant cat that swallowed the canary smile that he has, but look determined.

But then for the last two or three weeks start coming out with a barrage, one after the other, of substantive policy announcements (I’m assuming they actually have some policy ideas somewhere). Once you’ve convinced people it’s time for a change and thinking maybe you’re not so scary after all show them you have some real ideas on how to govern the country. They might not like all of them, but they might see enough they like to bite the bullet and vote Conservative.

With the media shaking the bushes (oh yeah, don’t mention Dubaya) for loony Conservative candidates though, and Stephen’s inability to say he’s sorry or appear contrite (remember childporngate in ’04), I’m doubtful he’ll be able to stay on message for long. Control that temper Stephen. Be likeable.

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