Wednesday, June 30, 2004
This retrofitting of blame on Harper's campaign team is a bit like the left claiming after no WMDs were found in Iraq that they knew all along there were none; when the truth is they, like everyone else, were pretty sure the things existed before the invasion. Based on the best guesses all of us were making during the final days of the campaign, the Conservatives appeared to be doing the right things. We can assume now they were not and encourage them to learn from their shortcomings. But we ought not to blame them for losing since none of us saw the defeat coming either.And Jonathan Kay says:
It seems political parties can't win when they're producing campaign advertisments. Either they're upbeat, policy-oriented, bland and ineffective. Or they're specious, negative, shrill and utterly effective. Prior to the election, most Conservative supporters, ourselves included, piously advocated the former. Now that we've lost, we retroactively urge the latter.I'm not suggesting that there shouldn't be a lot of self-reflection and comtemplation on the Conservatives' electoral loss. But hindsight is 20/20, while foresight is a whole lot less accurate. Say the Conservatives ran some of the most blisteringly negative ads ever to be seen by human eyes and the results were the same: we'll all be here shrilling about Harper pulling a kitten-eater (yes, it's infamous enough to be a Wikipedia article).
It's clear that the Conservatives did not successfully sell their new moderated positions in Ontario. But I cannot help but wonder whether anyone else could've done better than Harper as leader: observe Belinda Stronach's nail-biter win and Tony Clement's lack of a win. In any case, this summer will be one full of deep thoughts and big debates in the Conservative big tent: the key is to make sure that the tent stays up.
The Chinese term for hindsight is rather colourful: "the cannon after the horse." I'm not positive on the etymology, but I'm guessing it's a metaphor from the tactically ridiculous move of firing the artillery after the cavalry charge is over. The term is appropriate here: firing shots at the Conservative campaign after it's over might be easy, but changing the course when you're in the fight is a whole lot more difficult.
(Etymology note: the Chinese term for "after" and "behind" is the same word. If it should be translated as "behind", I suppose there may be a different explanation for the term.)UPDATE (Jul 06, 8:10 AM): hmm it appears that my comments have attracted a totally non-political audience. That I missed the xiangqi reference is astounding, but in my own defense, some would say that I know any Chinese after 15 years in Canada is a miracle in itself, and heck, it seems remotely related to my explanation. Plus, I've always been more of a weiqi guy anyways.