Go big or go home!

Just two more days before Harper calls an early election, something he once described as a play for “short-term advantage”, when he said in 2006 that “in the next election, we can run on our record and we won’t need the manipulation of the electoral calendar”. Evidently the record he would have in 2009 a year into the looming recession didn’t look promising; no surprise there.

The general NDP campaign strategy is now out: go after the Conservatives. This is unlike other years, when the NDP was afraid that fear of the Conservatives would drive voters to the Liberals, but with Layton ahead of Dion on many “who would make the best Prime Minister” polls (admittedly, not to be confused with “who would you vote for” polls) and Harper making this campaign all about “leadership” it was decided to capitalize on Layton’s popularity and credibility with respect to Harper in the minds of people who might have otherwise voted Liberal. Harper may be in striking range of a majority but it’s also conceivable that the NDP would end up as Official Opposition (in either a majority or minority government).

The press noticed this sea change immediately and started asking the NDP in interviews why he’s been ignoring Dion. The response is obvious, of course: Dion isn’t PM, and isn’t likely to be, either. Instead of talking about Dion, Layton’s been comparing himself to Obama on the grounds that they have similar environmental policies.

Our web presence is also being compared to Obama’s, who’s unfairly being referred to as a great innovator in that field. In fact Obama uses that tool very well, as befits his money and expertise, but it was Howard Dean who really blazed the trail most subsequent politicians have simply followed. Oh well, if they’re going to compare you to someone, it may as well be a winner.

And speaking of Obama, it’s been interesting to observe the effects of the US political scene here; as the most sophisticated and expensive democratic process in the world (for good or evil) the level of strategizing is fascinating to watch to the lifelong politicos here in the office, all expert in reading the coded language of speechwriters. For example, when a news channel showed McCain saying in his acceptance speech, “I want to point out my mother in the audience – she doesn’t want me to tell you this, but she’s ninety-whatever years old”, someone here laughed and said, “in other words, ‘don’t worry, I won’t die in office’”, which is of course exactly what that means. Or when VP hopeful Palin criticized Obama by saying “Americans don’t want a President who says one thing in Scranton and another in San Francisco”, a gay man in the next cubicle rolled his eyes and said “she means, ‘I’m no friend of the big-city fags’”. It’s kind of nice being only indirectly affected by US politics, in that it’s easier to sit back and appreciate it as theatre.

But enough of that, it’s back to the North Poll for me.