Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Debate Post-Mortem

Andrew Coyne has pronounced Paul Martin's Liberal government officially, absolutely, positively, most definitely dead:

This is beyond over. It's not just over, it's overer. It's overest. Ipsos: 43-31. Ekos: 43-29. That's before the debate.

And the debate is going to seal the deal. Someone I know had access to one of those focus groups with the rate-o-meters. Apparently they were scoring it 10-1 for Harper. And there's one simple reason. Harper looked into the camera, and told people what he would do. From the opening statement, to the closing statement, and practically every question in between. Here are the four things we'll do about that. Here are the three things we'll do about that. And, again and again, here are my five priorities.

That's how you "win" debates, in the only sense that matters: moving votes.

Martin was simply ghastly. I've never seen him worse. Blustery, shouting, waving, wildly off-topic. Most important, in the entire night, he never gave me a single reason to vote for him.

The people who should know best--the staffers and candidates--appear to be giving up the ghost, according to the Globe and Mail :

Some Liberal staffers are beginning to put out feelers for new jobs amid slumping public opinion polls, while other Liberals have resigned themselves to the fact that they need to lose this election to rebuild the party.

And then there is the Liberal candidate who said yesterday that it's every man for himself, concerned that the national campaign is dragging him down.

"We've got to look after ourselves," the candidate said. "The national campaign is not doing anything for us. If anything it's an anchor."


"They can do rebuilding better than they can standing there saying, 'no, I'm not a crook,' " one veteran Liberal said about the way some candidates feel now. "They've got too much baggage. They are crumbling under the weight of their own baggage."

The anonymous sources have started emerging from the Liberals in the Globe, so it's safe to say that at least the Liberals think it's over.

But let's not get complacent. We still have two weeks until the funeral.

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