Christopher Flavelle at the Walrus takes a much more sanguine view of these events. He notes, quite correctly, that media coverage of politics has been reduced to little more than the manic run-on commentary of horse race announcers. Who's winning? Who's losing? Who's gaining? Who's not?
...It’s hard to fault anybody for looking at Monday’s Quebec by-elections like a horse race. Not only are by-elections all about winners and losers. Even better, these by-elections were a double-shot of excitement, a race within a race: the Conservatives win a seat, so Stephen Harper must be pulling ahead for the upcoming election; the Liberals lose a seat, so Stéphane Dion must be falling behind.
But what about the issues? Major media coverage has become almost completely devoid of this. In a sense, perhaps we have all become too accepting of political talking-points, mistaking them for actual policy. It's much more fun, it would seem, to speculate about political fortunes based on bold assumptions and the knowing winks of anonymous "insiders".
It’s worth remembering that Dion won the Liberal leadership, at least in part, because he was the guy who stubbornly insisted on talking about ideas — specifically, how to make Canada’s economy successful and sustainable at the same time. After winning the leadership, he kept busy, making speeches and releasing policy papers full of new policy proposals. Of course, you wouldn’t know it. The amount of time spent covering Dion’s ideas pales in comparison to the amount of time spent covering the state of his leadership. What are the broad strokes of Dion’s plan for regulating carbon emissions from Canada’s heavy industry? Who knows. But unnamed sources, predicting his imminent demise? Again? Now that’s news.
And what's this? A new poll, showing the Libs and the Cons are running neck and neck! Heading down the stretch....Gentlemen, place your bets!!