I've just received my weekly ten-percenter attack flyer from the Conservative Party. The Conservatives clearly have their eyes on Guelph - we literally get one of these damned things every week. This week's charmer is themed "Ignatieff: Just in it for himself", which doesn't even pretend to discuss Conservative policy.
I'm starting to wonder about the overall Conservative strategy. These flyers have become increasingly personal and partisan over the last couple of years, and the other parties don't seem to have fully caught on to their potential use. We're now seeing the Liberals fighting back against their content, and we've seen suggestions that perhaps these flyers, which are sent using public money at no charge to the political parties in question, should be banned.
Here's a thought. Maybe that's been the Conservative plan all along!
The Conservatives have a much larger war chest than the other parties. Maybe the strategy has always been to use this tool, for free, as long as possible, steadilly ratcheting up the partisanship in the content, until the other parties demand that the program that allows them be discontinued. Then the Conservatives can turn to sending out the same content, paid for by their more substantial party donations, while the other parties are left without this free option, and have to spend scarce dollars to counter the Conservative ads.
It seems far-fetched, I'll admit. But given that Stephen Harper almost brought down his own government last December over his party's plan to abolish federal subsidies to political parties, wouldn't this be a crafty way of eliminating another federal perk that his opponents could theoretically enjoy?This post has been brought to you by the tinfoil-hat society of Guelph.
Labels: attack ads, Stephen Harper, ten-percenters