The first "bad move" of this election goes to the Liberals.
Kevin Taft issued his Alternative Throne Speech on Thursday night of last week, outlining the vision and plan that the Alberta Liberals have for the province over the next 4 years, should they win the election. By way of feedback from people who were at the event, it was a boisterous and positive room - footage of the speech is available on YouTube. I myself was otherwise occupied (and 3 hours South) at the time, talking politics and policy with the Calgary-area PC candidates at a function hosted by the Progressive Conservative Youth of Alberta and their President, Courtney Luimes.
Of note at that function was the plethora of young faces that did not betray the usual cluelessness of youthful political activity - from thirty-something campaign managers to internet gurus to the devastatingly handsome bloggers in attendance, there was a lot of youthful energy in attendance - energy that the PC Party will need going forward, regardless of the election's outcome.
The problem with Taft's message in advance of the election is a very real one, and it's a hole in campaign logic that the Liberal brain-trust are going to have to plug as soon and as well as possible, before a Tory speech-writer gets ahold of this blog post.
The problem with Taft's message is simply this: He is, in effect, calling Albertans stupid.
In the words of Pepper Brooks, from the cinematic masterpiece Dodgeball: "It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em." Pepper was talking about the "strategy" of forfeiting the match - something that Liberal supporters sincerely hope their leader hasn't already done.
Taft spent a great deal of time talking about the differences between his party and the Tories. He highlighted the differences in their vision for the province, their policies, and their values. He painted the Tories as backwards, out-of-touch, unsophisticated, dogmatic dinosaurs whose continued prescence in the halls of power speaks to a great injustice being wrecked upon the people of Alberta.
Here's the problem, Kevin...
We've had elections since the Tories first took office in 1971. In fact, since then we've had NINE elections - and the Tories have won a majority each and every time. The PC Party of Alberta isn't refusing to go to the polls... far from it - they've gone every 3 to 4 years, ever since taking office. So why are they still in power? Whom is empowering this group of backwards, out-of-touch, unsophisticated, dogmatic dinosaurs? Who keeps sending these idiots to Edmonton, and makes them the government?
Henry and Martha Albertan, that's who.
Henry and Martha have elected the PC's to solid majorities for 36 years now. They, and 417,090 of their friends and neighbours voted for the Tories in 2004, the year of the "Kleinfeld" election about nothing. 46.8% of the votes cast in that election were for the Tories.
If you're telling us, Kevin, that's it so obvious that the Tories are ignorant dinosaurs, then what you're suggesting is that anyone who supports them is an ignorant dinosaur, right? I mean, granted, those polling numbers are over 3 years old now, but this party hasn't gotten any worse since 2004, and most would agree it's gotten better under a new and interested leader.
So why, Kevin, would those 46.8% of voters cast a ballot for the Tories, and not for you? Are they stupid? Mindless sheep? Unsophisticated? Too simple to understand how obviously superior the Liberal platform is?
Every time you tell us how obvious the Tory deficiencies are, you're telling us that anyone who has cast a ballot for this party is all of the above. "The Tories are awful, you damned people keep sending them to Edmonton, and you all need to stop being so stupid".
It'a a bold strategy. Let's see if it pays off for 'em.