04 October 2008

Wishin' and hopin' and spewin' and sprayin'

Undoubtedly, Scott Andrews campaign took great heart this past week for stories running on CBC and in the Telegram about Fabian Manning and his expense accounts in the House of Assembly.

The race looks tight, according to an NTV/Telelink poll and those two stories might well look like the kind of ammunition needed to push Andrews into the lead.

They might.

But then again, they might not.

Here's why.

Firstly, the race in Avalon appears tight according to the NTV/Telelink poll.  Given the relatively high undecided  - 40% of respondents - it might look like pulling Andrews in front is within grasp. 

However, the undecideds are likely made up of a huge number of Fabe fans who are right now either uncomfortable in saying who they will vote for or who genuinely are hung up about whether or not to vote.

Those people are necessarily winnable for the Andrews cause.

But they have to be won.

And that leads us to the second point:  Andrews hasn't done anything to woo the undecideds. 

Thus far, Andrews has run a flame-thrower of a campaign built almost entirely on attacks straight at Manning.  Andrews has sucked the ABC tit harder than a cabinet minister looking for a new job in the upcoming shuffle.  He's not getting any milk out though because the Family Feud nipple spews only bile.  It's all negative, all the time.

The Family Feud gives nothing to which a voter can attach.

Take a listen to the Morning Show's candidate forum last Thursday and you'll see the point. [Part 1 and Part 2] 

Andrews spent way too much time slicing into Manning personally in a high pitched and grating way.  Who the heck could stand to listen to that for more than a few seconds?

The answer is no one and in the case of Morning Show listeners no one other than the handful of partisan loyalists and the masochists who just take anything political they can get regardless of what it is.

The rest of us would rather have been chained naked at Cape Spear with seagulls plucking out our eyeballs all the while enduring Slim Whitman's greatest hits at top volume rather than sit through one more second of Thursday's racket.

Take a look at Andrews' campaign website.  Look as hard as you want  and you will be hard pressed to find one single reason why anyone should vote for Andrews and the Liberal Party. There are plenty.  Andrews just isn't intent, apparently, on letting on what they are.

Third, if you look at the Manning stories, you have a hard time finding something to get really annoyed at.  In a case where the benchmarks were set by Tom Rideout and Walter Noel, Fabian Manning's handful of travel claims is hardly worth talking about. On top of that he paid back the secret bonus cash.

You don't have to like what Fabian did, but he is by far nowhere near the worst of the bunch, even if you take aside those facing criminal charges. Hey, it's not like even one of Andrews' staunchest supporters hasn't been known to change his mind completely on House of Assembly spending once the local Family head has pronounced on the matter.

How the heck will a Manning supporter react?

Even if Andrews wants to get indignant about Manning's spending, the story is still framed as what not to do.  The Connie vote is suppressed enough;  you can't suppress it more without risking post-traumatic stress disorder up and down the shore.  What's missing is the stuff to pull voters in Andrews' direction.

So far he and his team haven't shown any signs of figuring that out.

Now, their hammering might work.

The odds are against it.  No amount of wishing and hoping based on spewing and spraying has worked very well yet anywhere else.