Thursday, June 04, 2015
Chicken Harper's Possibly Fatal Great Debate Miscalculation
I don't know who came up with the idea to have Stephen Harper dress up as a chicken and boycott the debates organized by the three main television networks.
Whether it was Kory Teneycke, or one of the other incompetent stooges in the PMO.
Or whether Chicken Harper himself laid that egg.
But one thing is for sure, that decision is starting to look like an absolute political disaster.
For if he was hoping that he could fragment or shrink the number of people who were planning to watch the debates, as this Abacus poll suggests he couldn't be more wrong.
Just over 19 million Canadian adults (69%) intend to watch at least one leaders’ debate this fall, including almost 6 million (21%) who say they will watch as many as possible, according to results in our survey.
Millions are planning to watch, about half of them say it will help them determine who they will vote for in the next election.
And to make matters worse, most Canadians think that the three big TV networks should go ahead with their debates even if Stephen Harper is only represented by an empty chair.
When informed that Stephen Harper will attend several debates but not those hosted by CBC, CTV, and Global, the majority (62%) believes the networks should host debates anyway. This includes 40% of those who intend to vote Conservative, and 51% of those who are considering supporting the CPC. Women are particularly of the view (67%) that the debates should be held despite the PM’s absence.
And even more of them, including a lot of his own supporters, believe he should change his mind.
A large majority (74%) believes the PM “should change his position and attend the debates hosted by the networks as they reach the largest audience”. Only one in four (26%) are persuaded by the argument that “as long as he is participating in some debates he is entitled to decide which debates he wants to be part of”. This view is held by 63% of CPC voters and 65% of those who say they will consider voting CPC.
So as Geoffrey Ray Hall points out, Chicken Harper has only managed to shoot himself in the foot, or the claw. Not once but twice.
Stephen Harper has finally succeeded in doing something few Canadian politicians have done. He has made election debates matter again.
This time, it’s different. Debate participation is now an election issue, largely because the character of the players — especially the prime minister — has become more important than the debate itself.
Not only has he boosted interest in the debates, rather than diminishing it. He has made his participation a campaign issue.
And set himself up to be plucked by public opinion...
if Harper doesn’t show, and if the consortium leaves an empty podium on stage to mark his absence, what the other leaders say won’t matter much. What will matter will be the image of that empty podium, reinforcing the idea a great many Canadians have of Harper as a secretive and controlling autocrat who doesn’t want to play by the rules. That could nudge a lot of undecideds even further away from the Conservatives.
Along with Kory Teneycke, the failed Sun TV executive who has been fronting this Great Con Debate Scam.
And who is no doubt also running for his political life...
Or looking for another job.
And it really couldn't be a better story.
Stephen Harper thought he could pull a fast one, and get away with it.
But his inner chicken came back to haunt him...
And it could be the egg, or the self inflicted wound.
Or the fatal miscalculation.
That finally finishes him off...
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