Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Worst Choice

Kathleen Wynne gave a less than stellar performance in last night's Ontario Leaders Debate. But, this morning, even John Ivison at the National Post writes:

The PC leader spent the evening moving his arms around, as if he were about to break into Simon Says. He looked slightly swivel-eyed when he rambled with messianic zeal about his “Million Jobs Plan,” which Ms. Horwath pointed out has “a million math mistakes in it.”

And Martin Regg Cohn, over at the Toronto Star, writes:

The three rivals avoided big mistakes, unleashed their attack lines and unfurled their talking points without a dramatic take-down or catastrophic error that destroys a campaign. It rarely turns out that way, and it didn’t Tuesday night — despite the best efforts of Tory leader Tim Hudak and the NDP’s Andrea Horwath to wound Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne.

To these old eyes and ears, the debate was a series of repetitions -- repetitions of pre-rehearsed talking points -- and it all became rather tiresome.

What matters, of course, is who shows up at the polls on June 12th, not who watched the debate. And, frankly, I have no idea who will show up and who will choose to stay home. However, not to choose is to choose -- and past experience tells me that refusing to choose yields the worst choice.


Anonymous said...

Wynne could have been more aggressive and linked Hudak to the previous Harris government as well as point out the math errors in his bogus million jobs plan.

I thought that it was Horwath who actually had more effective attacks on Hudak than Wynne. In that, Wynne might have made the same mistake Obama made in his first debate with Romney where he held back his fire and did not aggressively call out the flip flops that Romney was making.

Predictably, Ipsos Reid, which at this time is the only pollster to consistently claim that Hudak is significantly ahead with both eligible and likely voters (all the others, EKOS, Abacus, Forum, and Nanos which reported yesterday, had the Liberals significantly ahead with eligible voters; they have the Libs and PCs closer among likely voters) claimed that Hudak was the winner. Predictably, Cons friendly pundits like Kheriddin also claimed that Hudak won. Meanwhile, also predictably, Toronto Star readers thought that Wynne had won the debate.

Thus, in summary, no knockout punches and no clear winner. However, I suspect Wynne held on to her Liberal votes and solidified her votes among the unhappy campers in the NDP camp: Hudak actually helped her do this by repeating his accusation of Horwath that she had voted with the Libs 97% of the time.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect that your analysis is probably correct, Anon. Those voters who have already made up their minds won't be swayed by anything that happened in the debate.

But it's what the uncommitted will do which is -- and always is -- the wild card.

Scotian said...

Whenever I hear people say piously that they won't support/vote the lesser of two or more evils (when there isn't a "good" option) because it is still supporting evil I want to smack them silly. Why? Because every time that happens it is the greater/greatest evil that tends to gain the most from it. There is a reason why there is that cliche about all that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing after all. This belief that it is going to improve election politics by removing oneself totally from the system is one I have NEVER understood the logic of, especially from people who do it but them complain about the government they get!

Regarding that debate last night, the wife and I watched it despite it not being for our Province, and it was a bit of a slog. I didn't think anyone truly landed a knock-out either, but given the clear gang-up of Wynne to try to deliver such the failure to pull it off is in some respects a win by itself for her I would suggest. While I found Wynne's hand talking to be rather pronounced indeed, it wasn't quite as distracting as Hudaks patently insincere smiling and folksy stories that just happened to all come from the same places the questioners did for each of their question, nor Horvaths messing around with her crib notes on the podium. None of the three exactly impressed on substance I found, but Wynne came closer than the others to my ears in sounding like she was connected to reality, not that this was a high bar to meet in that group it seemed.

Ultimately it is going to come down to voter turn-out, and on that I have no opinion to offer, I lack sufficient information to make any sort of informed guess, and unlike some people I don't like to pull stuff out of total air (unlike Hudak and his economics plan, I mean really, calling it vapourware would be doing vapourware a disservice).

I suppose the question will be who is the least objectionable choice to most, the leader whose economic numbers appear based in truly imaginary math, the leader who is wearing the scandals of her party's long time in office combined with her own connections to some of it but at least accepts some responsibility, or the person who when offered the most friendly to her party budget in Ontario history instead pulled a Layton to trigger an election which risks putting in the Provincial equivalent to Harper in power despite having seen that picture with Harper federally and Provincially in the 90s with the Harris government of which Hudak was a part of.

Not an appealing set of choices for any unaligned person who believes in the importance of voting.

Owen Gray said...

Just because choices are not easy -- "no brainers" is the phrase du jour -- is no reason to abdicate choice, Scotian.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, when all those "under30's still want to put the whole (daily) life on facebook and only respond when something affects them directly, I don't hold up much hope that they will: 1) get out and vote, 2) really look at the issues (including those of privacy) and. lastly, worry about all the things that seniors and about to be retirees consider to key issues they must face under a continuing legacy of Mr.Secret, the prime minister of this country.

Owen Gray said...

It's hard to make a wise choice, Anon, when you're gazing at your navel.