Thursday, October 11, 2007

There is no sure thing in politics

You know to be a political pundit is one hell of a gig. You get to throw your opinion out there, usually without any real facts to back it up and when you are proven wrong by events you can be certain that no one will remember what you said a few weeks ago. Throw in the fact that most of them make good six figure salaries and all I can say is where do I sign up?

This train of thought has come about because I have been seeing alot of the pundits already calling the next election a sure win for the Conservatives. They really should know better. There really is no sure thing in politics.

My favourate example this week was put forward by James Travers of The Star in a couple of columns. (Sorry no link. I have still not figured out how to insert them into the text of my posts.) In two columns he states that there is a disconnect between Stephen Harper's Conservatives and Canadians on two issues that he states will be ballot box questions if an election is held this fall - Afghanistan and the Environment. He then goes on to argue that despite this the Conservatives will probably win an easy victory and maybe even a majority government.

Huh? Is he really arguing that a government that is on the wrong side of two issues that will be ballot questions will have an easy time of winning an election?

Part of his argument of course is the troubles that Mr. Dion is having. To which I ask, how can someone be so cynical that he would believe Canadians would care more about the internal machinations of a political party over issues like the Afghan mission and climate change? Is he really implying Canadians will care less about these issues in the next election than the settlement Jamie Carroll will finally receive?

He must have a really low opinion of the Canadians electorate.

As well, he is assuming that the Liberals will not get their act together for an election and that Mr. Dion will not perform well during that election. One or both are possibilities but to draw conclusions on unproven possibilities is just silly.

The last two elections were predictable. It was pretty obvious that the Liberals would probably scrape out a victory in 2004 and lose the next one, although there was still a question of by how much.

This election is going to be extremely unpredictable. Despite what the pundits say the Conservatives' disadvantages are just as heavy as their advantages and the same is true for the Liberals. Mr. Harper will be in the position of fighting this campaign as the government which has different requirements and is a different dynamic to fighting a campaign as an opposition party. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to 5-6 weeks of criticisms of his government's record from three different perspectives. ( I have another post running around in my head which will expand on this idea. Stay tuned.)

If we have an election this fall it is going to be one of the most interesting ones we have seen in a couple of decades and I would not even hazard a guess on how it is going to turn out.


Blogger Miles Lunn said...

Having watched several campaigns, I would say this one is unpredictable. People have low expectations of Dion so if he performs better than expected, he could win. At the same time running a campaign takes experience and more often than not, most leaders lose their first time around, although certainly not always. With Harper a lot will depend on whether he can control the agenda, in which case he should easily win, or will his ego get to him and will he say something stupid (as he has done on a number of occassions) never mind some nutbar in the party could just as easily mouth off as Randy White did in 2004 and cost them the election. I doubt though a majority government is likely for either party.

October 12, 2007 12:50 AM  

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