Monday, December 05, 2005

Ottawa-Centre: Richard Mahoney Brings Forth A Mouse

It would seem that Richard Mahoney isn't exactly an energetic Liberal candidate. He's trotted out a weak line of attack against his Tory candidate, Keith Fountain:
Keith Fountain says shifting “more taxes away from incomes and toward consumption, to increase savings and investment,” is the right strategy – a direct contradiction to the plan announced yesterday by his leader, Stephen Harper.

Mr. Fountain’s policy proposal also said the government should consider a flat tax as part of an effort to simplify the tax system – full details available on his tax plan at

“The Conservative Party is not speaking with one voice. That makes it difficult for voters to know what they are choosing if they’re considering a Conservative candidate,” said Richard Mahoney, the Liberal candidate in Ottawa-Centre. “I think the Liberal Party’s plan to reduce income tax is the right choice, and I’m glad our plan has been endorsed by my Conservative opponent over his own party leader’s.”
This is where Keith enjoys the edge over Richard: his blog gives a nearly instantaneous response:
For some reason my Liberal opponent got it in his head that my being in favour of income tax reductions meant that I was against cuts to the GST. Quite the opposite; lower taxes are lower taxes; they all put more money into our pockets. And I'm a big fan of the Conservative proposal to reduce the GST to 5%.
As an aside, there's a bit of a dichotomy between the language of the blog entry and the language of the press release, which actually works in Keith's favor. I'm not sure why, but for some reason all press releases have leaned towards the bombastic. I suppose that's why press officers tend to become floggers when they try to go on the blogosphere.

Reacting with good humor, as Keith has done here, is always a good response to a weak attack. It neutralizes whatever rhetorical force was present, shows the target's self-confidence, and reveals the attacker's weak points (in this case, the inability to anticipate a swift response).

But you know what's really funny? I would never have known that Richard had actually made an attack if Keith hadn't mentioned it.

Discounting the initial choice-of-language page, you need two clicks to get to the actual press release on Richard's site; whereas with Keith, it's pretty much there up front once you enter the URL. That's because Richard's welcome page is template-static; you'd never know that the site was being updated, unless you're actively searching.

His latest press release shows he wants to take the Christmas holidays off. Nothing wrong with that, of course; it's just a little odd that he thinks taking time off warrants a press statement. Sort of like using a newspaper to print an answering machine message.

The thing is, a notice like that should have appeared on his welcome screen. Once you get the HTML language sorted out, modifying content on a Web page is actually a pretty low-maintenance job, and could have been done by a Mahoney staffer in the space of a few minutes. If Richard isn't willing to devote energy to such a small thing as that -- what does that say about his willingness to devote energy to representing his constituents?

Compared with the other two candidates, Richard Mahoney's online presence is very low-energy. One wonders if he hasn't already given up the battle and is just making token resistance movements, before they haul the Libranos away.