By popular demand, the latest edition of "What's Tom Flanagan Going On About Now?"

Well, a link to the Globe and Mail’s presentation thereof, at least. ITQ knows she’s not the only one out there who awaits his triweekly politicophilosophical stylings with almost immodestly eager anticipation. In today’s installment, he seems to be urging the Conservatives not to balk in the face of lilylivered nambypambering from the Liberals over their latest round of attack ads, which perform “a public service” by “repeating the words and recounting the deeds of political opponents” – which, he says, is the “most moderate and usually most effective genre of negative campaigning.”  (ITQ is now almost seriously entertaining the thought that the latest anti-Ignatieff ten percenter may actually be a craftily executed viral campaign to sell more copies of Blood and Belonging, but that’s another story.)

He gives an entertaining, if ever so slightly revisionist recap of Liberal attack campaigns of the past — none of which, it’s fair to note, meet the standard he sets for such a campaign serving as a public service, with the exception of a “website full of old quotes from Stephen Harper”, which for some reason only gets mentioned in the penultimate sentence.

He also delivers a sadly too-late tonguelashing to John McCain for his failure to blast the Obama campaign out of the water with ads targeting his ties to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, a strategic misfire that he blames on how much media resonance there was over the Democrats’ terror of the “Republican attack machine”. So really, if the Conservatives do buckle under to anti-attack ad pressure and go soft and cuddly – like a kitty! –  it’ll almost certainly be our fault.

(Oddly, I’ve been told by Conservatives that it is also our fault when parties are forced to go negative, because if we won’t report on all the awful things the other guy has said or done, then they’ll just have to do it for us. For Canadians, that is – as a public service. For some people, it’s always our fault is what I’m gathering here.)

Oh, and he also takes a totally unprovoked potshot at “whiny schoolgirls”, to whom he compares the current crop of cowardly lion Liberals. (Honestly, professor, what did they ever do to you?  Leave the kids alone. )

Anyway, the gist of today’s Flanaganistics: Attack ads? Bring ’em on. Liberals? Quit carping and fight back, but under Flanagan’s version of Marquess of Queensbury rules, which — as far as ITQ can tell — basically leaves them with nothing. Oh, and never – never –  listen to the media. We’ll only break your heart. Just ask John McCain.

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