Saturday, January 03, 2015

Election Prognostications

Here's a good article from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix:

No one remembers predictions, fortunately
"To penetrate the murk and foresee the result of this impending contest, I refer to the game of football, always a reliable source of tortured metaphors. Football holds to be true that, in the playoffs, the quarterback will be exposed. The NDP and Liberals are going into these playoffs with rookies at quarterback. Neither Tom Mulcair nor Justin Trudeau has led a national campaign. Stephen Harper has led four national campaigns and won the last three. He is Tom Brady, the others, Blake Bortles and Zach Mettenberger, respectively."
"Harper has worn out his welcome, some are saying, even as Harper's Conservatives snuck ahead in a yearend national poll. Those who dismiss Harper as washed up only want him to retire so he won't win again. Harper's retirement would give his inexperienced adversaries their best chance. We are more likely to see Tom Brady retire with the Patriots going into the playoffs.

If Harper's welcome really is worn out, it is not through overexposure. Whether by design or disposition, he has stayed as much behind the scenes as a prime minister reasonably can. He thus has preserved the value of his personal, political capital. When he does emerge to make an appearance, it still is an occasion. There is a precedent for this. Mackenzie King wrote the book on governing from behind the scenes, and he was prime minister for 22 years, retiring only due to old age. Staying out of Canadians' faces was a big part of his appeal, and of Harper's.

Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau's star appears to be flickering. Such is often the fate of teen idols. When their adorability drops off, as eventually, it must, they don't carry the weight required to break through into the adult market. If charm and good looks were all it took, Michael Bublé would be prime minister, so there must be more to it.

More mature, but still a campaign rookie, is NDP leader Tom Mulcair."
"The NDP was going to win half the seats in Saskatchewan, he declared, and with more conviction than you would expect from a leader whose party has not elected anyone in the province in 15 years. We were reminded why soon thereafter, when Mulcair got back to Ottawa and promised, from out of the blue, to resurrect the long gun registry. It is not with policies he doesn't dare even to mention until safely away from Saskatchewan that he will win half the seats here."
"Of course, the future is not written. Anything can happen between now and then. Trudeau could get serious. Mulcair could start using a cane."
"More decisive will be the campaign itself. Harper is a veteran campaigner who knows how to win. Mulcair and Trudeau at this level are untested. It's Tom Brady versus Blake Bortles and Zach Mettenberger. Take your pick."
Hope he's right.

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