I often completely disagree with the opinion stuff the Globe and Mail prints, but I find myself agreeing with today's editorial on the vote, A vote Harper doesn't want to win. Specifically the following:
The Conservative election theory is that wooing hard [read: social] conservatives by promoting issues close to their hearts will get them to come out to vote in large numbers. But in the recent U.S. mid-term elections and the London by-election, the strategy may have offended centrists who might have otherwise voted Conservative. Ms. Haskett ended up with 25 per cent of the vote -- a five-point drop.(Emphasis and square-bracket comment are mine.)
There were a number of possible explanations for moderate Tories' departure, including the argument that the party didn't appeal enough to the hard right or that the Greens bled off a lot of Conservatives. But it might also be that resurrecting the same-sex issue sheared off the moderate supporters that Ms. Haskett needed to win.
While I don't think SSM was the only thing that caused Haskett to lose the by-election, (the lack of the field organization that we see a push for by so many party organizers was really disappointing) I definitely think targeting so-cons alone is not going to help us out any.
Politics is, like it or not (I choose not to), a game of concessions, and so-cons' opinions are valid and need to be considered when governing the country, regardless of who is in power. Besides, we need them to win. Similarly, though, there are concessions made to appease red tories and even, occasionally (hopefully), libertarians. While these things might be something we disagree with, we understand that there is a segment of the population that it's important to and we support the party's efforts to address these concerns.
But if the tories keep pushing fighting SSM as a priority (and a secretly major issue during election campaigns) after the vote today fails - and it looks like it's going to - there are going to be some Conservatives wondering when the concessions stop so that we can get some of the things we work for the party to get. Like, oh, I don't know, an income tax cut.
Matt over at Playing Calvinball put it particularily well:
This is soon to be dead, dead, dead. Please, let it die with dignity. If our government is pre-occupied with this issue we will lose, and we will deserve to lose. Not because we are anti-SSM, but because there are so many issues that need to be addressed. Broadbased tax-relief, the hopelessly outdated CRTC, the Wheatboard and a little train wreck we like to call the Canadian Healthcare system come to mind.