The NDP strikes back:
The NDP’s hard-hitting, anti-Conservative ad ‘Enough,’ which has so far attracted more than 500,000 hits on YouTube and lots of free media attention, was produced and edited entirely by internal NDP staff, and experts say it’s an “effective” ad, and part of a new era of online, self-produced political ads.
Hard hitting is a relative term. Whenever I send Canadian attacks ads to Americans they find them adorable. What's considered dirty pool in Canada is Marquess of Queensbury rules down south. Yet the NDP's new swing at the Tories is well put together, concise and clearly communicates its message: The Tories are old and corrupt.
H.L. Mencken observed nearly a century ago that elections are an advanced auction of stolen goods. Governments inevitably become corrupt. That much free money would tempt St Francis of Assisi to say nothing of the mere mortals who run for public office. One can search in vain through the annals of Canadian political history to find a truly honest government. The choice is between degrees of necessary evil and levels of incompetence.
Taking the broad view from John A Macdonald wiring Hugh Allan for money, to Jean Chretien looking elsewhere as the miasma of Adscam drifted across the Gatineaus, the Harper Tories come out fairly well. This is not a uniquely corrupt or incompetent government. Briefcases full of cash don't routinely come floating down the Rideau Canal in springtime. The Prime Minister has not, so far as we are aware, spent weekends at Harrington Lake chatting amiably with shady German "businessmen".
Though well produced, as far as attack ads go, the NDP's latest effort is overall a swing and a miss. Watching the Dipper's "Enough" video I kept asking: Who the hell is that? And I pay attention to politics for fun. Pity the poor voter with better hobbies and less free time.
Leaving aside Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin, famous broadcast journalists for decades, the rest of the parade of the near and actually indicted is a cast of nobodies. Irving Gerstein? Bruce Carson? Michael Sona? If you eat and breadth politics you know these people. Aunt Sally from Burlington doesn't know or care. Then finally we reach Patrick Brazeau. Chucking away an easy job for life is such face palm moment of stupidity you almost feel sorry for the suspended senator. But only almost.
The NDP pitch, that the Tories are corrupt, runs up against a fairly prosaic reality: The actual corruption is petty. The numbers run into the tens of thousands not tens of millions as they did with Adscam. Instead of a regime of scandal we have a few small fries who exceeded their authority or lined their pockets. None of this really, truly, touches the Prime Minister.
Then there is what might be called the Senate Shield. Much of the more noticeable nonsense has gone on in the Red Chamber. Canadians don't perceive the Senate as a partisan institution. The basic illegitimacy of the upper house means people see a corrupt Senator more than they see a corrupt Tory or Liberal. The instinctive reaction isn't to blame the respective party leaders, it's to wonder why the Senate still exists a century and a half into the Canadian project.
"Enough" is only enough to nibble around the edges of Conservative credibility. What the NDP, the likely government in waiting, would really need is a knock out blow. Despite the bungling appointments of Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin the Prime Minister has been shrewd enough to deny his enemies a weapon powerful enough to end Tory rule.