Thursday, September 01, 2011

What was She Thinking?

Memo to Christy Clark from the Ghost of W.A.C. Bennett: THE PURPOSE OF A SNAP ELECTION IS TO CATCH YOUR OPPONENT SLEEPING, NOT TO GIVE HIM A WAKE-UP CALL. If you're going to have an early election call, don't publicly commit yourself to it 9 months in advance. That kinda defeats the purpose of a snap election.  It is not a mistake that wiley Wacky would have made-- nor would have  Adrian Dix, who has already displayed an clever penchant for hatching ugly surprises.  The main effect of Clark's rash promise was to galvanize the NDP, who launched their "Christy Crunch" commercials, chose Dix as leader, sped up their nominations, and girded themselves for battle.

Obviously, if Premier  Clark had wanted to capitalize on her popularity as a "fresh face", she needed not to wrap herself up in the HST. It would have taken courage to cancel the tax and to cancel the referendum vote on the subject, but if she had, she might well have been rewarded for her boldness.

Petitioning the federal government to reverse the Taseko/Fish Lake decision was also not a wise basis for a snap election win. Like it or not, splitting the environmentalist and First Nations supporters in B.C. was one of Gordon Campbell's greatest and most unexpected political accomplishments. Premier Clark's  touching concern for the mining industry may have stemmed some of the hemorraging  of Liberal support to the Conservatives, but at the cost of driving many marginal voters back into the arms of the NDP.

Now, Christy's best hope is that the economy will recover by the spring of 2013, and that she can take some of the credit for it. She may also need to make some overture to John Cummins: if the Conservatives are still in the double digits, her youthful good looks and winning personality will  definitely not suffice to win.  But what does she do? Instead of discreetly imploring a Jack Weisgerber or a Stockwell Day to broker a rapprochement, she instead runs ads attacking (and no doubt antagonizing)Cummins. I would have done that only as a last resort.

Overall, I have not been impressed with premier Clark's political acumen. Don't bet too much on her  winning a general election.

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