Toronto Sun: What’s the Score?

September 2nd, 2008

I’ve said it before, I’m guessing I’ll say it again, what is going on at the Toronto Sun these days? Today their lead editorial declares that Prime Minister Harper, the brilliant strategist that he is, is running to the polls right now because he fears, wait for it… The Obama Bounce. That’s right the mythical Obama Bounce theory that says Canadian’s will be so enamoured with the suave African American they will say, I must vote for Stéphane Dion:

What has Harper’s attention is the Obama factor, and the sooner-than-later date is Nov. 4, U.S. election day. A possible Obama win is the game changer.

Harper isn’t blind to polls showing Obama’s huge popularity in Canada. He sees the power of the “yes we can” and “change you can believe in” mantras for the Facebook generation. The Toronto media echo-chamber is fully engaged in the love fest. The euphoria in the usual year-long honeymoon period that would accompany Obama’s triumph is a daunting prospect.

What nobody explains, because the theory is idiocy, is why Canadian’s would see Obama and vote for the guy who most looks like John McCain.  I don’t know Barack Obama, but Stéphane Dion is no Barack Obama, of that you can be sure.  Does anybody seriously look at the Canadian political situation right now and think Stephen Harper is playing scared? Dion looks scared: Harper looks like the cat who has eaten the tweety bird. 
Distressingly, the Sun ran this editorial a full week after former Harper strategist Tom Flanagan explained exactly why the election has to be now:

… If the Tories can win a few more seats at the Liberals’ expense — an outcome Mr. Flanagan considers realistic given Mr. Harper’s superior campaign skills and the Tories’ fatter war chest — he predicted that would be enough to throw the Grits into a long-term tailspin that could eventually lead to their demise… 

If the Liberals lose even a handful of seats, Mr. Flanagan predicted they’ll immediately dump Leader Stéphane Dion, a forecast echoed privately by plenty of Grits. The party would have to embark on a costly leadership campaign before most contenders from the last contest, including Mr. Dion, have paid off their leadership debts.

Moreover, a reduction in popular vote would mean the already cash-strapped Liberal party would get less money in election expenses rebates and in its annual public subsidy. Mr. Flanagan said that could make it difficult for the Liberals to pay off any debts from the coming election campaign and harder to secure bank loans for a future campaign…

It’s like this. In October, the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Bloc get their government cheque based on how many votes they got last election. The Liberals are not getting much fund raising money, as much because any find raising is paying off leadership debts rather than going into the party coffers.  If Prime Minister Harper can get the election before they get their cheque, he has a much better chance of making electoral gains at their expense, which would force the Liberals to lose Dion, have a leadership convention, raise a whole new issue of debt, all with less government money. 
Obama bounce, sheeesh!  What anybody following Canadian politics needs to know is, Stephen Harper plays a much longer game than that.  I just hope somebody tells him to watch out for Grannies carrying umbrellas.

I've Seen Barack Obama and Stéphane Dion is no Barack Obama

  1. Joan Tintor
    September 2nd, 2008 at 21:57 | #1

    The Sun has been tacking left since new editor Rob Granatstein took over.

  2. Brian
    September 3rd, 2008 at 04:22 | #2

    I didn’t know Granatstein had become the editor. Explains everything.

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