Saturday, December 03, 2005

Election Week 1 : This campaign needs a block heater

I know it's early, but I must say I'm more than a little disappointed with the tone of the election campaign so far. That tone? Monotone. (I think I just heard a snowflake drop.)

Where are the cheapshots? Where's the vitrol, the venom? The spit, the vinegar?

In the days leading up to the fall of the Government there was name-calling, with Tory MP John Reynolds referring to Immigration Minister Joe Volpe as a "scumbag". Nice. And the Tories stood up in the house and boldly accused the Liberals of being cozy with organized crime. (Now, that might have been more damning if it was an alleged association to Tom Green's 1990's Rap trio Organized Rhyme, but it was a provocative jab all the same.) So it was no surprise that all the pundits promised that this would be the most bitterly fought campaign in recent memory.

Not quite. So far, it's been about as "bitterly fought" as a pillow fight between scantily-clad coeds in one of those spring break boobie videos.

Things did look promising on Day 1 when Martin speechwriter Scott Feschuck's blog entry about UFOs and socially awkward subscribers of the old sci-fi mag Omni was misinterpreted by Conservative MP Jason Kenney as a shot at viewers of the multicultural TV network by the same name. Kenney intitally pounced, accusing Feschuck of demeaning ethnic minorities. But then things took a turn for the wuss when, his gaffe pointed out, Kenney made a public apology later the same day.

Apologize? That's not the rampaging Killer Kenney that fans of political wrassling love to hate. What he should have done was yank his Floorsheim from his conservative cakehole and, without missing a beat, attack Feschuck for demeaning geeks: "The Liberals and their well connected friends may not be introverted losers, but a lot of upstanding Canadians are. This is a slap in the face to them, not to mention Canada's cultural gift to the world, William Shatner. As the Klingons would say, Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!"

No such luck. He caved like a deflated Yorkshire pudding, and this campaign thing started to look less like a battle for the guts and gizzards of Canadians and more like a suburban candle party.

And so it continued. Last campaign, the Tories came out with that gem of a news release headlined "Paul Martin Supports Child Porn?". By contrast, in announcing their drug crime policy this morning, the best they could do was "Restoring Safe Streets and Communities". So uninspired. And talk about a missed opportunity. The news is full of reports of gang shootings in the cities, and the PM has long ago admitted to having smoked weed. So if you're calling the shots in the Conservative war room, why not go big with something like: "Pothead Paul Wants Druglords to Shoot Your Children?". That would certainly rev up this tundra bus of an election campaign.

And the Libs have been no tougher with Harper. Through week one of the campaign, he's been allowed to cruise along with about as much resistance as Gretzky at an allstar game. Harper's cut-the-GST announcement was the perfect opening for a demeaning cheap shot pointing out that a 1% drop in the tax would save him less than a cent on his $6 Howdy-Doody haircut. Or, instead of suggesting that Harper would use the Charter to ban gay marriage, why not reach a bit and suggest that Harper would use the Charter to ban something dear to hetero voters, like the Home and Garden TV network - which, let's be honest, is pretty gay.

Nothing of the sort. The dialogue has been, for the most part, understated, safe and (ugh) respectful. YAWN!

We can only hope that as this thing progresses to its predictable end, the party leaders will stop worrying about offending the warm and fuzzy sensibilites of a sleepy electorate in this Season of drunken uncles and claymation reindeer, and take this opportunity (it only comes around every four... er, make that two, years) to kick one another in the cranberries.

While "oops, my nightie came off" is just what I look for in softcore porn, it's the gloves that need to come off in this election campaign.

It's winter. We're bored.
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