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Post-debate thoughts.

You’ll be surprised (not! – with apologies to Bev Oda) to know I thought Ignatieff did well last night, for his first ever debate. He showed Canadians he has passion in his beliefs. I particularly liked the line to Harper where he said “this is not bickering, Mr. Harper, this is democracy”. That plays back to the contempt Harper has for Parliament, and IMHO, should be made into an immediate TV ad.

I don’t think Harper took a “knockout” punch from any of the opposition leaders, but I’ll be interested to see the reaction of the public to his demeanour. Some say it was “Prime Ministerial” in how he reacted. My impression was he was annoyed/ticked that he had to participate in this exercise of democracy.

My question would be: did Ignatieff perform better at the debate then Stephane Dion did in the 2008 debate? I remember that there were no knock-out punches there either, and Dion’s performance wasn’t exactly heralded, but the Liberals and he got a post debate bump that got them within the margin of error on polls taken shortly after. If Ignatieff in the minds of Canadians performed better then Dion did, particularly against the backdrop of a 2 year old Conservative negative ads campaign, it would be a reasonable assumption/argument to make that he should gain some ground in the polls.

I’m actually going to agree with Tony Clement here, for probably the only time. He tweeted this AM that in his experience, the “real” winners and losers of a debate are not known til at least 48hrs after it occurs. We’ll see (and the Auditor General’s leaked reports on Conservative misleading Parliament on G8 spending is still reverberating out there at the same time)

14 comments to Post-debate thoughts.

  • ck

    I think Iggy and Layton should’ve spent less time swiping at each other and more time going after Steve. Yeah, yeah, I know, don’t want to let Jane and Joe Six-pack at home think there’s an ‘evul coalition’ a brewin’. But still…it was counterproductive.

    Steve looked obviously on drugs. Seriously, I wanna know who his pusher/pharmacist is. Never taking eyes off the camera.

    Body language says all. With the format, there were times Steve had to leave the sanctuary of his podium for a face off with one opposition leader, anyone of them could’ve gotten him to look away from the camera, thus throwing him off his script. It’s really not that hard. Get in his face, step in front of him, move arm or hand in a way it blocks view, something. It would’ve also been quite entertaining for those with short attention spans which prove to be many.

    Hopefully, with the French debate tonight, they will learn to get Steve to look away from the camera; throw him off script.

    Iggy was ok, but as Dan Cooke told us on CJAD this morning, Iggy needed to be extraordinary and he wasn’t.

  • JMR

    Ignatieff was too soft on Harper, when the PM talked about an unnecessary election Ignatieff should have replied that the contempt of parliament was unnecessary, the speaker’s ruling was unnecessary, there were unnecessary arrest at the G20, unnecessary spending in Tony Clement’s riding THIS is why we are having a necessary election.

  • I think great lines will be remembered, and Ignatieff had two or three very solid ones (leadership/deserving to govern; reason for the election), Layton got in a zinger, and both Layton and Duceppe hammered Harper on the 2004 “coalition of losers” that Harper signed on to.

    To me (and some neutrals watching) Harper’s face told a story. In the “leadership” assault from Ignatieff Harper looked feeble, nervous, and “guilty”. I loved how they panned his face when Ignatieff was on the attack!

  • Gayle

    My view is Ignatieff did very well in parts, but stumbled elsewhere. He seems to do much better when he is allowed to speak without a script. Where he stumbled was when he had to repeat his talking points over and over again. He was uncomfortable with that and it showed.

    He did get the message across that a vote for Harper was a vote for prisons, jets and corporate tax cuts. He was the only one who was able to say where he would find the money for health care.

    My sense is that liberal supporters were hoping for more, and conservative supporters were scared of more. In the end it was a draw – Harper was able to get his message out and came out unbruised and that is why most people are giving him the “win”. However, in the end I tend to agree the debates did nothing more than cement supporters opinions of their leaders. During the debates I got texts from friends who were very happy with Ignatieff/Layton/Harper, with all of them cheering their own leader. It is hard to say what the non partisans would think of the debates though.

  • wilson

    Ignatieff performed ok, but you never got the feeling he was ready to step into the ring for that mano mano fight with Harper that he wanted 2 weeks ago,
    he seemed content to ‘bicker’ from the ropes.

    • Jon Pertwee

      I dont believe this is the real wilson. Where are the paragraphs of quotes and links to very loosely related news stories?

  • Dana

    Those craigslist ads bore fruit I see.

    I’m looking forward to the coming experiment with authoritarian non-Parliamentary government. I think it will prepare young people well for the shocks coming as the climate deteriorates further.

    None of them “performed” at all well. All four of them bafflegabbed their over scripted way uncomfortably thru their allotted time to no effect whatever. Harper was drugged and comatose, Ignatieff was whiny, Layton was yappy and Gilles doesn’t belong in the english language debate.

    The format is hammered together to ensure as much as possible that each of them individually and their respective parties suffer no harm or damage.

    Were it any other way none of them would agree to appear.

  • badbeta

    Only a very delusional person could think that Ignatieff had performed well. His prattle about democracy was all very well until you remember that he wasn’t even elected leader of your party and was in fact appointed to the top position. While we are at it, when is your party going to repay the millions it stole from the Canadian taxpayer?

  • foottothefire

    Oh,I think it was pretty clear Harper was…”pinched”. He looked weak and his responses feeble. Harper’s lack of character shows up in his problem looking people in the eye and his inability at extemporaneous speaking, both signs of a very insecure man. Responding to an inanimate camera was the best thing he could do to avoid eye contact.
    Chantel? Well, she is definitely not in the “observer only”, category.

    Ignatieff did well but it would serve his purpose to now nail Layton for giving Harper the vote needed to avoid the AG’s report in committee. Now Michael needs to sell himself, starting with his platform. That’ll bring Harper out from his rat hole.

    The debates are a ridiculous circus though. Imagine the catastrophe that it would have been with a 5th candidate. On the other hand, if we can split the right wing 3 or 4 times any subsequent debate would only need clowns and popcorn to make it entertaining.

  • ridenrain

    From all the cheerleading I expected the esteemed professor to wipe the floor with all of them. I guess the professors don’t have to debate much.
    He seemed tired and unimaginative. He fell back on rhetoric and clichés and his response to the attendance attack, “how dare you presume to.. bla, bla” showed how arrogant the man actually is.
    On the other side, Harper was wooden, but a warmer kind of wood. He played to the TV audience because there would be no winning his opponents.
    Jack was the classic yappy little terrier but then he’s been doing this a very long time.

    • Jon Pertwee

      $.05 has been deposited to your CPC account for this comment. Ridofbrain isnt worth $ .50

  • PrairieKid

    1. When a Toronto Star reporter says on national TV that Iggy blew it, you know he had a bad debate.

    2. Zinger of the night was Iggy’s attendance record. The TV audience will remember that.

    3. When talking about democracy, it might be a good idea NOT (with appologies to Bev Oda) to quote the biggest mass murder of all time.

    • Jon Pertwee

      You forgot the perennial PrairieKid general purpose response

      “Who cares? If it doesnt affect my wallet than Canadians wont care! Im angry and most likely old! Who cares? My taxes havent gone down. Who cares? I cant see how any Canadian could care? Who cares!

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