National Newswatch has their "Election Fever Meter" at set 91% today! They apparently base the chances of a spring election on related buzz and spin. Personally, I don't see the connection. Spin means speculation; not statistical probabilities in my opinion. But what do I know?
In any case, we have two eminent MSM pundits putting forth their case today that an election is less likely than ever - or at least it should be.
Don Martin playfully christens Stephane Dion "Flipper" based on his inability to demonstrate clear focus and position on policy and issues ("Liberals go from Dithers to Flipper"):
It was a lousy week for Mr. Dion, a pattern in danger of becoming a trend. Not once or twice, but three times in four days we saw Mr. Dion flip-flop on positions he'd taken during the leadership race or his party had supported last fall.
Martin goes on to list a whole host of flip-flops including his changing support on Afghanistan, his reversal on the anti-terror provisions extension and his inability to define exactly where he stands on carbon-tax policy.
I love this gem:
To be fair, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been known to change his mind. Just ask income trust investors.
Still, it takes considerable effort for one party leader to irritate Afghanistan peaceniks, infuriate law-and-order types and alienate energy producers in the space of a week.
That last line was a thing of beauty.
In any case, Martin doesn't feel that Harper necessarily should, nor will take advantage of this pathetic display of ineptitude:
But for Mr. Harper to unilaterally seek a spring vote would flip-flop on a scale dwarfing even Mr. Dion's regular mind changes.
The Sun's Licia Corbella appears to concur (PM should relax, enjoy view from the top):
The Angus Reid poll, released yesterday shows the Conservatives at 40% with the Liberals 14 points behind at 26%, even lower than they were in the last election.
In other words, Dion's post-leadership convention honeymoon was short-lived, likely because when he makes a decision he tends to waffle on it and when he is decisive, he makes the wrong one.
But the primary reason Harper is in no hurry to hit the hustings is that he knows the more Canadians see and hear Dion flip and flop the better Harper looks.
I agree. As tempting as it is to yank poor Flipper out of the water, it is far wiser to muster up some patience and play him for a while. Let him shake his head furiously and tangle himself in the line.
Then when he's totally exhausted himself, Harper can calmly reel him in.
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Monday Update: Chantel Hebert - "How soon will Dion move in for kill on Dion?"