First it was the Puffin thing, then the May debate exclusion and reversal. Now it looks like the Conservatives are about to lose their message for perhaps the third day in a row, thrown off track by another stupid mistake in their CPC War Bunker in suburban Ottawa:
MONTREAL — Senior Conservative Party spokesman Ryan Sparrow has been suspended from the campaign after suggesting the father of a slain soldier who criticized Stephen Harper today was a Liberal.Disgusting comments by Ryan Sparrow. Punting him far, far away from the CPC campaign was not only the expedient thing to do, it was the right thing to do.
Mr. Sparrow sent an email to CTV News today suggesting that Jim Davis, the soldier's dad, is a supporter of Liberal Michael Ignatieff.
He has also been ordered to call Mr. Davis and apologize for his comments.
Let me say one thing though. I've been watching the media spin on this, and the puffin thing, and dropping the candidate in Halifax with a criminal record. Rhey're all saying how great it is that the Harper campaign is taking such fast action on these screw-ups, cutting their loses and apologizing, instead of sticking it out, like they did in 2004 when Harper refused to apologize for a release claiming that Paul Martin supported child pornography.
Well, that's one way of looking at it, I suppose. But let's make one thing clear: neither of these were isolated incidents. Neither of these were overzealous junior staffers lacking supervision. Both incidents reflect the attitude and modus operandi of the Conservative campaign, from Stephen Harper and Doug Finley on down.
The puffin thing is tame compared to the crap that the Conservatives have been putting on the Web for two years at least. This wasn't some guy freelancing, he/she was working within the well laid-out boundaries of Conservative web strategy.
And Ryan Sparrow is not some junior volunteer. He has been one of the senior Conservative spokespeople for at least a year now. He was the CPC's director of communications for crying out loud. And as disgusting as his comments were, they're not surprising to anyone who has been paying any attention to this Conservative Party for these last three years. Stephen Harper called the Liberals Taliban sympathizers. Peter Van Loan said only Conservatives are real Canadians. Kory Teneycke is an accident wating to happen. Sparrow was merely displaying the same level of dismissive arrogance and politicization that has always characterized Stephen Harper's Conservatives.
The story here is that the carefully controlled and scripted Conservative campaign is starting to come a little unglued, and Canadians are starting to get a look at the true nature of the Harper party. The Cons can keep quickly apologizing all they want; Canadians are seeing them for what they really are.
And from a strategy point of view, once again today Harper is going to be answering questions about a staffer mis-step controversy instead of getting his message out. If he keeps having days like that, well, it won't be good for him. No matter how much they say they're sorry.
P.S.: Really Stephen, attacking Stephane Dion on national unity? Really? Good luck with that one buddy. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers