Ladies and gentlemen! For my next trick, I will condemn the Tory attack ads on Michael Ignatieff without sounding like a knee-jerk Liberal.
This is a difficult trick that, to my knowledge, has never been performed in public.
To date, the mainstream media (MSM to alienated Tories) have decried Stephen Harper & Co.’s preference for going nuclear on the Opposition leader over defending their own governance. Many have also made the point that there’s nothing wrong with spending 34 years outside the country, and have dismissed or glossed over the most telling point of the attack ads: Ignatieff was in the habit of pretending to be American or English depending on his audience at the time.
To outraged Tories, Ignatieff’s alleged duplicity is critical. They maintain it’s their patriotic duty to expose this imposter, this carpetbagger, this dilettante, for what he is. Imagine, this guy has spent 34 years mouthing off around the planet and now comes home expecting us to anoint him prime minister!
Hence the attack ads. It’s a tough job, pilgrim, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Unfortunately, the Tories are missing the point. Again. I’m not sure why Harper & Co. have such a collective tin ear, but I think it comes from years of being a “Voice Crying in the Wilderness”: “They have eyes, but they do not see! They have ears, but they do not hear!” They really think we’ll watch these ads, and we’ll all go “Aha” and vote Tory.
Whatever you think about Michael Ignatieff, it’s not going to happen. Iggy may have gone to Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, but his post-grad political education comes courtesy Barack Obama. These days, negativity won’t get you through. When he says he’s here to bring people together, not tear them apart, he’s found a message Canadians are ready to hear.
This Yes We Can attitude, this message of hope, appears to have completely eluded the Tories. As the governing party, they’re in the unfortunate position of telling us what we can’t have. But do they have to be so mean-spirited about it?
I’m sure Stephen Harper cares about this country, almost as much as he cares about running it.
However, if he wants to keep his job, he’ll spend less time picking on a guy who cannot only take it, but give it back double.
He needs to roll up his sleeves, put a smile on his face and take out the following ad: “This is the greatest country in the world, and together we’re going to overcome the obstacles and make it even greater.
Laurier had it wrong (what do you expect from a Liberal?): It’s the 21st century that belongs to Canada.”
Now there’s a tack we’re all waiting to hear.