I freely admit I don't have a good grasp on what the average voter is thinking when it comes to politics. If I was an average voter, I wouldn't stay moderately well-informed about current events, I wouldn't be a member of a political party, and I certainly wouldn't blog.
For reasons ranging from Francois Beaudoin to the Upholder sub purchase – without even touching on Adscam – I think the Liberals should be hounded from office in such a way as to make them wish for Kim Campbell's fate. The fact that the Grits still have the vote of nearly a third of Canadian adults quite literally boggles my mind.
So when it comes to political strategy designed to win the hearts and minds of the average voter, I’m not much of a guide.
I seriously doubt that professional pundits, including those currently wandering the halls of academia, have any firmer a grasp on the mood of the electorate. At least bloggers have the advantage of a real job to keep them honest and grounded. Still, I found it interesting to see a fellow like Chris Waddell echo much of the blogosphere this past week:
For the Conservatives, it isn't good enough just to oppose the government. An opposition needs policies, too. What are the policies that are going to help the Conservatives win the seats the party must take in suburban Ontario if it hopes to win the next election?
Stephen Harper needs to showcase his MPs elected last year, talking in detail about their party's policies, not just screaming about scandals, if he hopes to persuade Canadians he leads a government in waiting, not just an opposition.
This isn't anything you haven't seen from Andrew, or Bob, or Alan, or Greg, or Taylor, or a host of other intelligent bloggers. But maybe if the All-Knowing, All-Seeing Main Stream Media&trade starts saying it, the mandarins pulling Stephen Harper's strings will get the message.
Then again, maybe they won’t (ht:Andrew):
"The difficulty with laying out our platform right now is the Liberals have demonstrated they are prepared to steal everything," Peter Van Loan, the Conservative MP for York-Simcoe in Central Ontario, said yesterday.
"Obviously, if we laid it out right now, I have no doubt it would be stolen within hours. And for that reason, to a large extent, the platform elements of a positive message will be seen most obviously during an election."
It seems the only people more out of touch with voters than journalists and bloggers are politicians and the Svengalis who advise them.
I know this will seem blasphemous to some, but if the Liberals were to steal and implement all our Conservative ideas, wouldn’t that be a good thing? I mean, for everyone not angling for some sweet sinecure in a Conservative government?
I don't believe Joe and Jane Canuck trust Harper and the Conservatives. Unless Harper gets a personality transfusion sometime before the election, he's not going to earn their trust through his folksy, down-home demeanour. The only way voters will learn to trust him is if they hear him consistently laying out a solid vision for the country and defending it against all challenges. And if he waits for an election campaign he simply won't have time to establish that credibility through consistency.
In the meantime, the longer they stay solely negative, the longer the Conservatives cement their current image in the minds of the voting public. In case any of the Conservative brain-trust is reading, I'll remind you that the current image isn't a winning one.
I'm beginning to believe we're going to have to get extremely lucky to win the next election. I hope I'm wrong.