Wooooooowwaaaaa… was that fun or what? Everybody loves a good shouting match. Dontcha? (Speaking of which, when are we ever going to find a debate format that allows for rebuttal but doesn’t involve mics being shut off and people talking over one another?)
Last night was the one and only (something we should apparently be thankful for) leadership debate of the 2008 Alberta Provincial election. Yesterday I offered my predictions for what would happen; today I get to gloat in how wrong I was. Actually, I was pretty close in my description but there were a few things I didn’t see coming.
Seems how education was a major topic last night I’ll offer up my opinions report card style with associated letter grades for each leader. (An A+ being reserved for a Barak Obama-esque net laid out to woo potential voters and the hearts of women everywhere.)
- Ed Stelmach didn’t suck. That was probably the biggest news story of the night coming out Edmonton. He was well poised and took his licks fairly well. And there were a lot of licks to take too. True, he was a little ridged and didn’t go off script at all – or seem to want to go off script really judging by his smartly staying out of arguments between Taft and Mason. He didn’t win it for the PC Party but he didn’t lose the election either. He offered some details of new plans but played it as the seasoned veteran. Based on expectations going in he probably deserves an A but the voting public doesn’t give out trophies for most improved player. Instead he gets a C+.
- Kevin Taft had a lot to lose in this debate and a lot to gain. He probably lost more than he gained. While we know Taft can be articulate last night he was off his game. He appeared more scattered in his thoughts than Stelmach and he surprisingly didn’t offer any details on any plan. This is not the way to poise yourself as the anti-Stelmach, boys and girls. While it looked like Stelmach spent a day and a half prepping for the debate to get things just right, it looked as though Taft didn’t do much prepping other than to get his suit dry-cleaned. The debate was there for Taft’s taking, he could have knocked Stelmach on his butt and become a front runner if he really, really tried. Instead he bickered too much and earns himself a C and another four years as leader of the opposition (if the Liberals will keep him as leader that long).
- Brian Mason pretty much behaved exactly as I predicted and was the most put together and articulate of the group. He attacked Stelmach and Taft just as I thought. What choice did he have I suppose? Still I would have rather seen him ignore Taft and offer solutions to each issue the Premier fuddled around. While it wasn’t enough to earn his party too many more seats, in my book he still earned a B for his performance in the debate.
- Paul Hinman’s performance could be considered a success right after the first question was asked to “Mr. Hinman” rather than to “that guy over there”. None the less he did a very good job staying on message (perhaps too good a job – I get it, I get it, you’ll bring “innovation”). While he was extremely short on details of what his party would do he did earn his right to be on the stage by holding his own and showing that if your politics swing to the right his party is a viable alternative. I suspect he managed to sway a number of voters, especially in rural areas, to change their vote. For that he earns a B+.
But who won the debate? That’s what everyone wants to know. Well, despite the fact I give Hinman the highest grade I don’t think anyone will argue he “won” the debate. Mason might come the closest to being the winner but I don’t think you gave give it to him either.
Well, who lost then? Certainly Stelmach could have, but the poor showing of Taft (is this a case of the tortoise and the hare?) has to take this title. It was his chance to show the province he is a better leader than Stelmach but he just didn’t do it.
More summaries of the debate are available via Alberta Election 2008, CBC’s Reporters Notebook, Alberta: Get Rich or Die Trying, albertatory, daveberta, Ken Chapman, Calgary Herald’s Pundits Corner, and The Enlightened Savage.
Guess what tonight is? No really, guess. Ya, you probably haven’t heard but I’ll let the beans spill on this inexplicable secret: tonight is the Leaders Debate. (You know, for the Alberta provincial election?) I’m not sure why it hasn’t been advertised more, but there you go; it’s tonight. Now you know.
Starting at 6:30 tonight you’ll be able to watch the leaders of four of the provinces nine official parties battle to put you to sleep first. The debate will be seen live on CTV, CBC, and Global. CityTV is showing back to back Friends reruns if that’s more your speed. (BTW, I thought CityTV was supposed to be the most community centred of all our TV stations? If so, why are they sitting this one out? Aside from the fact they probably think, are are probably right, that the majority of Albertans sadly just don’t care.)
I’ll post my thoughts after this stunning snooze fest comes to an end but what good are post-debate thoughts without pre-debate predictions. So here they are:
- Ed Stelmach will struggle with his command of the English language let alone details on his ridiculously over-hyped “plan” for Alberta’s future.
- Kevin Taft will slam the Premier on every issue he can possibly conceive a PC has done wrong on in the past decade. And he’ll end up looking like an uppity prick for doing it.
- Brian Mason will wisely attack Stelmach and be articulate doing it. He’ll then get off track and also attack Taft, for lord knows what – because the Alberta Liberals don’t have much in the way of accomplishments to attack.
- Paul Hinman will badger everyone (except possibly Brian Mason other than to call him a ‘tree hugger’) and at the end of it all he’ll be lucky if anyone remembers his name. No one will even bother to attack his policies – the greatest shame of all.
So there you have it. The debate in a nutshell. Now you don’t have to watch. Although if you haven’t made up your mind who you’re voting for or – heaven forbid – you are thinking of not even bothering to vote, I suggest you weather the storm with me and tune in at 6:30pm.
PS – I heard on the radio the other day that during commercial breaks while CTV and Global are trying to make a buck by shilling useless items like Ford trucks, Tide-to-Go sticks and political party policies, CBC will instead go to their analysts for, well… analysis. On the go.
Those of you that know me know I’m a perfectionist. Sometimes I’ll go to dizzying lengths to get something just right. To the point some of my family and friends probably, on occasion, think I’m a nut job. (Or just a complete ass.)
Well, to all of you I offer the glorious/rigorous perfectionism of communist China. If you think I’m crazy, get a load of the specifics being sought for an Olympic hostess at the 2008 summer games:
Shanghai’s Xinmin Evening News outlined in detail the “specs” for the hostesses, beginning with “eye length (that) is three-tenths of the face.” It said the judges also stipulated: “Distance between eyebrows and eyes should be one-tenth of the face. The width of the nose should be one-tenth of the face width. The width of the mouth should equal the distance between the pupils. The length of the chin should be one-sixth of the face length.”
Xinmin said the girls selected will be 18 to 24 years old, 1.68 to 1.78 metres tall, have a “rosy and shiny” complexion, “elastic skin,” “smooth and gently curved legs” and a “plump, but not fat” body.
If only I could be so picky when it comes to selecting my women! (Just kidding! I’m married to the most wonderful woman in the world. She already knows I’m an ass and continues to love me for some crazy, but much appreciated, reason.)
Perhaps we should apply this same criteria to potential MLAs running in the provincial election? Ralph Klein always had a “rosy and shiny complexion” (*wink*). And Ed Stelmach certainly has what I might describe as a “plump, but not fat body”. Too bad Kevin Taft’s distance between his eyebrows and eyes are not one-tenth of his face because using this criteria it looks like it will be another PC majority.
As we find ourselves passing the half-way point of the provincial election you have no doubt noticed I have pretty much been entirely silent during thus far. While I could blame my seemingly abandoned blog on the fact I was in Asia for the first third of the writ period, or the fact I’m still mad Premier Stelmach hasn’t apologised for calling an election while I was out of the country, or that I’m in the middle of packing for our upcoming move, I won’t. No, I won’t. Instead I blame it almost entirely on the fact there has been little if anything worth talking about. (That and I’m lazy.)
In that spirit I offer you here, my thirty second summary of what’s happened up to this point in the election:
- Ed Stelmach sounds like Woody Allen trying to make a quick decision each and every time he speaks. This is frustrating the majority of PC voters, members and candidates.
- Kevin Taft can make all the policy announcements he likes but people still aren’t saying they will vote for him or his party.
- Brian Mason and the NDP are struggling to be remembered.
- People have no idea who George Read is but a small number of Albertans will vote for the Green Party anyway.
- The Wildrose Alliance have yet to earn any of my allotted 30 seconds.
There you go. What else do you need to know? Did I really need to be blogging daily to give you more details? If you want more details however, I am back and will begin weighing in again. In my absence I give kudos to the following blogs for doing a great job keeping everyone informed.
Somewhere in the middle with me: The Enlightened Savage
General coverage: Alberta Election 2008