Sunday, September 07, 2008

And we're off to the races

And so with the writ dropped this morning, we're off to the races. At long last the seemingly never-ending phony-war is over, and it's time to get down to brass tacks. This one's for all the marbles. The team that executes their game plan, sticks to fundamentals, gets the breaks, and gives 110% will come-out on top.

OK, enough with the cliches.

I'm just glad the election is underway. Because now everyone has a chance to either sink or swim.

For the Greens, we'll see if they can finally transition their support, and their temporary MP, into elected members.

For the BQ, with sovereignty on the wain, no sponsorship bogeyman and the resurgent Conservatives in rural Quebec, will they redefine themselves or become a rump?

For the NDP, will their bigger budget and aggressive strategy translate into seats, and a Quebec breakthrough, or was Thomas Mulcair a fluke, and will the Liberal Green Shift help or squeeze them?

For the Conservatives, are Canadians ready to trust Stephen Harper with more power or is his growth potential tapped-out, and will he be able to keep his anger in-check and caucus on message?

And, for my Liberal Party, it's finally a chance for Stephane Dion to put it on the line, and show if he has what it takes. Before you can implement all these great policy ideas, you need to form a government. Can he kick it into gear and prove himself an able campaigner, or will he fulfill the Conservative propaganda against him? Will the low expectations that have been created help or hinder?

In one way or another, by the evening of October 14th we'll have answers to all the questions we armchair observers and bloggers have been obsessing over for the past few years.

On the expectations side, it varies, but each of the leaders has a lot on the line, and many of them could be on their way out, depending on the results.

For the Greens, Elizabeth May has bet a lot both on getting into the debates, and her psuedo-alliance with the Liberals. If she doesn't get results for her efforts, she may not last.

Gilles Duceppe nearly left the BQ last year, he's been in the job forever, if they drop a chunk of seats to the Conservatives he may call it quits, by choice or not.

The NDP is betting big and spending big. Jack Layton has steadily increased his seat count in each election. He needs to continue that forward momentum, and by more than a handful given their budget and expectation level. Otherwise, it may be time to pass the baton to the next generation.

For the Conservatives, the goal obviously needs to be a majority. After one of the lengthier minorities in memory, constant attack ads, an opponent they mock and ridicule as weak and ineffective, and a taxpayer-funded spending spree that would make Paris Hilton blush, if Harper can't deliver a majority now, he probably never will. That said, I think he would survive with an increased minority. Anything less though, and the writing would be on the wall.

And then there's my Liberals. Barring an apocalypse or something, I don't see a majority as possible. However, I do believe a Liberal minority is achievable, and that's likely the goal for Stephane Dion. Could he survive with anything less? That's debatable. Certainly, with a Liberal minority his position is secure. What if he holds the Conservatives to a tigher minority though, increases our seat count? I don't know. Part of me says Liberal leaders historicically always can two election shots, but all of me also knows the Liberal Party. So I'll just say this: get a Liberal minority, and we don't need to worry about it.

I suppose this is the point where I make some predictions. Well, I feel safe in saying this: no one will get a majority. Looking at the swing ridings and the vote distribution, I don't think the Conservatives have the growth potential to get there.

So, a minority for who then? As I said, I think my Liberals can form a minority. Were I a betting man, I'd put our odds at around 50/50. Which is actually better than you'll get at most Vegas casino games.

So I'll go out a small limb, unsurprisingly, and predict a Liberal minority. It's achievable if we run a smart, disciplined campaign. It's achievable if Stephane Dion performs as the campaigner I know he can be. And, of course, like in Vegas we'll need a little luck.

I feel, though, that we have the leader, the team, and the plan that Canadians will respond to. If we do our jobs, we can make it happen. It won't be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. I look forward to the challenge.

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Greg said...

Great post Double J.

I know true believers like yourself want to believe in Dion, but I think he's going to have to hit it out of the park over the next five weeks continually. This will not be an easy campaign.

The Conservatives have a clear jump on the Liberals in almost everything so far - advertising, campaign readiness, et al. Ontario's also going to be a much harder sell this time around for the Liberals - bad economic news won't make the Green Shift an easy sell. I'm thinking the Liberals are going to face some serious opposition in the 905, the 519 and even the Ottawa Valley this time. New taxes are going to be tough to sell to families. That's just a reality.

Good luck on this one...

femaleCONvoter said...

In rural southwestern Ontario, I will be voting Conservative again. Canada deserves a leader that can be counted on to make the right decisions for this country. Harper has proven to Canadian voters that his government was the right choice last time and will be this time.

Pal Hal Pall said...

I'd have a little faith in Stephane Dion to perhaps win a minority government if I was at all convinced that the Liberal party is completely behind him. The Conservatives have been attacking the Green Shift non stop, and I have hardly heard a word of rebuttal or promotion from the Liberal camp. Are they ashamed of their leader or something?

Gayle said...

Look at that FCV. Became a blogger today, did "she"?

"She" has posted the same thing on every blog "she" can find. Do con operatives really belive people are going to fall for this?


femaleCONvoter said...

Just getting my message out! I am a female, and I am a voter, and I am Conservative and I'm not on the payroll - why are you so surprised that we're really out there??? I'm not a blogger, never will be, but if people want to visit my profile, they are welcome to whatever info I decide to post...

Jeff said...


You might find people more receptive to your message if its a) relevant to the post you're comment on, and b) not repeated verbatim across every blog in blogdom.

Gayle said...

and c) doesn't sound as though it was written in CPC talking point central for regurgitation throughout the internet.