When Mr. McFadyen not only lost the 2007 election but also shrunk his caucus from 20 to 19, the first word out of his mouth was, "Ouch!".
It was, without a shadow of doubt, a terrible loss for the young, sweater wearing, Jets promising Opposition Leader.
Not only did he not make any progress toward forming government, he actually moved his party and his caucus backward.
As early as the morning of May 23, 2011, Mr. McFadyen had a chance to begin restructuring his party in order to chip away at an increasingly fortified NDP majority. This opportunity, in fact, really began when Mr. McFadyen took over the leadership of the party from Mr. Stuart Murray.
But he blew it. And he blew a four year opportunity to redefine himself and his party into something Manitobans could know and trust, the only real chance he had of defeating the NDP.
To the benefit of all pundits and media, the Blackberry Addicts would like to provide the top five reasons why Mr. McFadyen and the Conservatives should lose the election tomorrow:
First, Mr. McFadyen used an election period to fundamentally redefine, unveil, and then try to communicate, a "new" McFadyen and a "new" Conservative party. This is work that takes significantly more time than a short writ period can provide.
Second, Mr. McFadyen surprised the electorate with policies they weren't expecting from him or his party. In 1999, a lot was made of Mr. Filmon's 50-50 plan. What made this promise publicly unpalatable, in the end, was that its boldness and risk was so uncharacteristic of a calculating and conservative Premier who most Manitobans had grown to know, understand, and trust.
Similarly, Mr. McFadyen surprised his party and right-of-center voters by promising to spend big money on doctors and nurses ($118 million), long-term care ($200 million), and extend deficit financing until 2018.
Mr. Selinger, on the other hand, continued throughout the campaign to promise and do things people recognized and trusted from an NDP government and Premier. Being "bold" in an election means doing things the public doesn't want you to do. The NDP understands this. Mr. McFadyen and the Winnipeg Chamber do not.
Furthermore, the Blackberry Addicts believe quite strongly that Mr. McFadyen's characterization of Mr. Filmon's decisions as "mistakes of the past" disillusioned many statesmen within the Conservative party. Just take a quick look at what Mr. Sandy Riley had to say about Mr. Filmon's record!
Third, Mr. McFadyen simply could not crack the greatest strength going for the NDP: their record of good government. As much as pundits and media try to underscore an omnipresence of bad government, this simply isn't the case in the eyes of the public. Mr. McFadyen's strategy of keeping himself and his caucus quiet throughout the spring and summer while waiting for the NDP to screw up was, in the end, a terrible mistake, and one the Blackberry Addicts and Karl Rove have written about in the past.
Fourth, a convergence of public issues driving voters to "kick the bums out" never materialized. Without the ability to ride a public wave demanding change, there is little hope of major victory.
Fifth, as the Blackberry Addicts pointed out a year ago at E-365, Mr. McFadyen is faced with the challenge of winning ten seats. This monumental challenge is further complicated by the fact the NDP holds huge pluralities in many of the seats Mr. McFadyen has to win making this year's "general election" essentially 57 independent by-elections.
Good luck to all pundits tomorrow. The Blackberry Addicts wish you all the best as you try to apply political science and reason to what is essentially an unscientific and emotional exercise. We just know you won't disappoint us.
And, in the end, always vote Quimby. He'd vote for you!