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A Dark Art


 

CHAPLEAUpic

Serge Chapleau, La Presse

The Liberals send out an email to journo types everyday, chock full of talking points about and outrage at its opposition. (It’s fun getting an email from someone named “Liberal media”. The more cynical amongst you might say this is redundant… ) Today’s was a barnstormer, loaded as it was with reaction to Harper’s whoopsie (or maybe not! read on…) in Sault St Marie. “Hidden agenda”, “the real Stephen Harper”, “secret cabal meeting throwing out republican-style red meat word”, etc. The received wisdom, peddled endlessly by the Libs , is that Harper really did screw up. Turn off the cameras, or at least fool him into thinking they are off, and Harper turns into some sort of mouth breathing (though impeccably coiffed) he-jackal– a “caricature of an American Republican”, as Josée Legault said wrote today (and which the Liberals quoted.)

And yet here’s Ignatieff forced to deny one of the main points of that wretched speech, not 24 hours after professing his own outrage (outrage!) at Harper’s words.

Hunter Thompson had a favourite LBJ quote: “Make the bastards deny it.”


 
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A Dark Art

  1. The Liberals seem to be using an interesting strategy: recruit Young Liberals / Campus Club Liberals to do all their dirty tricks for them.

    Young Liberal Justin Tétreault filmed Harper's closed-door speech and dutifully sent the video to the LPC war room.

    Also, recall the young Liberal "hecklers" who dogged Jack Layton the day he met with the PM, holding placards behind the NDP leader and mugging for the media cameras before fleeing when an NDP staffer approached them.

    I wonder what other hijinks we can expect from these fine young LPC partisans?

    • Maybe they'll send their own staffers out in plain clothes to protest a legitimate exercise in democracy?

    • I know the Tories have deployed interns/staffers in a similar fashion in the past — remember the Oily Brigade? Also, the CadmanTapeMobile was a Young Liberal caper, if I remember rightly. Not sure about the NDP, though it wouldn't surprise me. I actually don't think it's a bad idea if the stunt itself is a clever one, although I'm not convinced if fauxtests outside Langevin qualifies.

      • I actually don't remember much about the 'Oily Brigade' – was that a bunch of young Tory staffers wearing "Oily the Splotch" T-shirts? At least they weren't pretending to be something they're not, like Tétreault or the "faux-testers" who dogged Layton.

        I don't have a problem with clever or creative stunts, and I agree with you that the fauxtests and the covert videotaping don't really rise to that standard.

      • I actually don't remember much about the 'Oily Brigade' – was that a bunch of young Tory staffers wearing "Oily the Splotch" T-shirts? At least they weren't pretending to be something they're not, like Tétreault or the "faux-testers" who dogged Layton.

        I don't have a problem with clever or creative stunts, but I agree with you that the fauxtests and the covert videotaping don't really rise to that standard.

        • The Conservative staffers posing as 'ordinary Canadians' when protesting the coalition sure counts.

    • I don't think this is a specifically Liberal tactic, and the best reason I can come up for it is: those of the young, idealistic bent will do anything</i.- generally speaking, they're not cynical yet and are still very passionate- loss of dignity- third degree sunburn- frostbite- they'll do it. As I overheard someone say regarding a group of the activist-ish youth "It's so sweet. They have hope." Now, I don't think that that is it, necessarily, but I do think that when you still beleive that things can be changed, you're not above doing anything in your power to change it.

      • You're missing a &lt;/i&gt;, so enjoy this one of mine. :)

      • You're missing a &lt;/i&gt;, so enjoy this one of mine. :)

      • You're missing a &lt;/i&gt;, so enjoy this one of mine. :)

      • You're missing a &lt;/i&gt;, so enjoy this one of mine. :)

  2. The Liberals seem to be using an interesting strategy: recruit Young Liberals / Campus Club Liberals to do all their dirty tricks for them.

    Young Liberal Justin Tétreault filmed Harper's closed-door speech and dutifully sent the video the LPC war room.

    Also, recall the young Liberal "hecklers" who dogged Jack Layton the day he met with the PM, holding placards behind the NDP leader and mugging for the media cameras before fleeing when an NDP staffer approached them.

    I wonder what other hijinks we can expect from these fine young LPC partisans?

  3. "And yet here's Ignatieff forced to deny one of the main points of that wretched speech, not 24 hours after professing his own outrage (outrage!) at Harper's words."

    And here's a bored hack making the predictable observation.

    • In fairness to Ignatieff — or, more accurately, Liberal Media (and yes, the jokes do write themselves, don't they?) — I don't think it's necessarily contradictory to be outraged over at accusation, and also deny it. I'm actually starting to wonder how many seemingly coalition-friendly quotes from Ignatieff the Little Shop has in its quiver; both of the ones sent out by Dimitri come from the same press conference. Am I the only one who remembers how, when Ignatieff took over the Liberal leadership, it immediately sparked a month and a half of columns, op-eds and spec pieces about how the coalition was now deader than doornails made of dodos? His support for it was always viewed as luke-warm at best.

      • quite right, I also seem to remember Ignatieff's reticence over the whole situation threatening to scuttle it from the outset but at that time it was viewed through the prism of his leadership candidacy.

        • I couldn't resist turning that idle question into a spin-off post over at ITQ.

      • He was reasonably nuanced in what he said toady too, in connecting his stand to the mood of Canadians. I wonder if he's simply trying to avoid throwing Dion under the bus, at this point (by not explaining that as a member of the Liberal caucus in December, he willingly followed his leader's direction and signed. Once *he* was leader, he properly read the public mood and decided not to take the opportunity to become PM.)

      • He was reasonably nuanced in what he said today too, in connecting his stand to the mood of Canadians. I wonder if he's simply trying to avoid throwing Dion under the bus, at this point (by not explaining that as a member of the Liberal caucus in December, he willingly followed his leader's direction and signed. Once *he* was leader, he properly read the public mood and decided not to take the opportunity to become PM.)

  4. With all due respect, "make the bastards deny it" generally works better in the middle of an actual campaign and not during the sabre-rattling run up. If anything you give your opponent the opportunity to quash any doubt before the masses are even paying much attention.

    • We are talking about a hypothetical coalition instead of the 56 billion dollar deficit. I'd say that's a mission accomplished.

  5. So what does the media, the Liberals and Dippers say when the juiciest parts of Jack's secret caucus tape gets re-released ?

    How DARE those dastardly Tories tape somebody without their knowledge or consent, and then release it to the media, again without their knowledge and consent ! Unethical bastards !

    Can't wait for the anti-Harper spin when Jack unmasked gets replayed.

    • CJ, you know those rules do not apply to 'progressives'.

      Besides, PMSH looked directly into the secret double agent's camera, at least 3 times.

    • I'd say there is a difference between a caucus meeting, and a speech given to members of the public.

  6. taping of 'the Sept. 2 meeting'
    Is this the reason for the cancellation of the very important trip to China and pulling out of the EI committee…the tape?

    The tape is enough to justify a Seinfeld election!

  7. “Make the bastards deny it."

    Only if you don't mind believing it. Gonzo was part of Thompson's schtick.

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