So now we're going to hear a lot of boasting from the Liberals about how a poll came out- an actual poll- showing them neck and neck with us. I don't know why this is cause for celebration because what it should be telling them, and us, is that the electorate is volatile and it could go very, very badly for them if they break out the champagne at this stage and get lazy. Which they will, because they've been praying for a break like this for months. We won't.
I could give you all the official line on polls, that they go up and they go down, or I could point out how polls have a funny habit of underpredicting Tory victories.
But I'm not going to do that, because this election is not about polls. It's about sending a message.
And that message is this: Any outcome other than a massive Liberal majority means that we have won.
Dalton owes his success to the fact that he is stuck firmly in the centre, and that it is very hard to dislodge him. And when you attack someone who is very firmly stuck in, it is easy for them to knock you over. This is what happened to John Tory, to Stockwell Day, and a host of others.
This campaign is not a war between equals.
Dalton has a host of desperate Liberal staffers willing to work 25 hours a day to keep the only jobs available to them, an army of unions willing to do his dirty work, the best political attack dogs money can buy, a cadre of experts on speed dial ready to condemn anything Tim Hudak does or doesn't do, and a group of easily massaged journalists ready to write puff pieces on command. (As to the last, if it shows up on a certain Liberal war room chief's blog, you can guess how it got written.)
That we are still standing is nothing short of incredible. That we have any shot at winning is stupefying. And we have better than *a* shot.
But there's a bigger issue here.
The Liberals have been the moderate, rational voice of reason for a long time now, and they think that as long as they present themselves that way, the electorate will reward them in turn. So what does it mean if they lose several seats? If they are cut to a minority? If we win a minority? Or, if we win a majority?
It means that, in a province where stability is valued above all else, people are getting tired of the moderate, rational voice of reason.
Let's take this tax credit mess the Liberals are in. They think Ontarians will reject the Conservative attacks as not in keeping with what Ontarians are all about. But if they lose seats because of it, do they really know what Ontario is all about any more? When they see the backlash over it, now, today, before the results are in....do they really know what Ontario is all about any more?
To win this province, when Dalton stands firm in his little centrist groove, we must show that the Liberals do not know what Ontario is about any more. That maybe quiet, centrist Ontario which weathered the recession with nary a peep was a mirage....a bad joke people tell themselves.....created by Dalton's absolute control of everything. And if that absolute control of everything is exposed as....well, not absolute anymore....then what?
That's what the Liberals are afraid of.
We have to show them that their fears are warranted.
We have to stand firm. Firmer than Dalton.