Stupid! Hypocritical! Embarrassing!

The praise is now nearly unanimous.

L. Ian MacDonald. The economic moment we are living in, this synchronized global recession, is also a compelling leadership opportunity for Harper. While Barack Obama takes his economic show on the road, Harper has made only one major economic speech on the current context, and that was two months ago. He was falsely accused of talking up the economy, when after all that is his job. But there’s no rhetorical lift coming from Harper. And his entourage’s idea of smart politics is to try to define Michael Ignatieff with a flight of attack ads. What a pity, to waste such a leadership moment. It’s sad for Harper, a leader in need of a big idea. And it’s sad for our country, which is crying out for unifying, not divisive, leadership.

Bill Glisky. My conclusion – these ads are truly and deeply offensive. Not the attacks themselves; they are just stupid. What makes them offensive is how little thought, intelligence or, apparently, effort went into making them.

Frances Russell. Harper is in no position to point fingers. He once derided Canada as “a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it.” He also told an American audience that “Canada is content to become a second-tier socialist country, boasting ever more loudly about its economy and social services, to mask its second-rate status.”

Greg Mercer. Canadians should not accept these kind of ads, which only drag politics further into the gutter. They dumb down the whole political process, deflect from what we should be paying attention to, and turn people off of politicians. They’re insulting to voters who would like to make informed decisions on their governing options. Instead, all they get is slagging of rivals.

The Victoria Star. At a time when Canadians need and expect true leadership, Harper and his small inner circle of advisers have placed their political interests above those of the public interest. Instead of spending heavily to encourage Canadian consumers to support Canadian business, to explain his government’s stimulus plans or to call for co-operation to overcome the economic crisis, the Harper government chooses to demonize his opponent for being intelligent, successful and worldly.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.