Canada Election 2011: Chretien not good for Ignatieff campaign

I need some convincing of the strategic upside for the Liberals here. As a matter of fact, the notion of bringing out past PM’s to tour with Ignatieff smacks me as an horrendous decision. I recall the same decision in 2008, and man oh man didn’t that rally the troops eh?

Look, I’m sure some in the Liberal camp are quite ecstatic about "their" man returning to the spotlight, in terms of nostalgia and camp affections. I have no qualms with former heavyweights "quietly" working ridings, as Mr. Martin has been doing, in that case a net asset. HOWEVER, when you have a leader who already struggles with carving his own identity, I’m not sure how having two more days of headline distraction helps the cause. Throw in a little know fact apparently- Canadians don’t SHARE the nostalgia- and I’m more perplexed. The optics are incredible really, there is Mr. Ignatieff traveling with the man who already lost to Mr. Harper, the man Canadians voted for to replace him. No one will ever convince me of the strategic upside in having Ignatieff on stage, in high profile fashion, in a way that reminds everyone of 2006.

As for Chretien, the press LOVE him, so the Liberals will get attention. Trouble is, Ignatieff will play supporting role, as reporters search for the Chretien one liner. Maybe a strong appearance bruises Harper, but it also doesn’t particularly help Ignatieff’s stature either, as he plays second fiddle, while the days of this campaign disappear. I’d add as well, while the press may have fond memories of our colourful leader, Canadians, I’m not so sure. Hey everyone, remember sponsorship! There is little net upside that I can fathom, and believe me, I’ve spent the last day trying to see the rationale.

Unfortunately, this move strikes me as a bit of desperation move, or more correctly I predict coverage comes with that frame intertwined with the former PM angle. Again, looking to the glorious and distant past for present inspiration, I’ve said it forever, it’s a loser every time, and it’s proven so every time. Dion did it, again, who did that motivate, Liberals, Liberals, the only one’s with any affection stayed home in droves! Been there, done that, how many times do the Liberals have to make this mistake before they realize it doesn’t work, it doesn’t move votes, if anything it only distracts from your NEW shiny red book, with the NEW promises, unrelated to the past which nobody longs for. Every time I touch this subject, my fellow Liberals get angry, because THEY have a connection, it is their identity, their proud past, their party lineage. Trouble is, it isn’t about US, it’s about the electorate, and I will assure you, they feel very differently. Add in Ignatieff needing to make the headlines, the blast from the past, never delivers what is required for him and today’s Liberal brand. As always, just my opinion and self censoring is for conservatives anyhow….

Click HERE to read more from Steve Val.

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