We're trailing this guy?
Every time I see those Liberal ads attacking NDP Leader Adrian Dix, I can't help but wonder whether those on the government benches are asking themselves that very question.
The ads, and the accompanying website (riskydix.ca), are intended to scare voters away from Dix, who is being portrayed as a tax-and-spend lefty who can't be trusted with the province's purse strings.
I think the Liberals have every right to question Dix's credibility with regards to his backdating of a memo more than a decade ago in an effort to stave off conflict of interest charges against then premier Glen Clark. And although he wasn't personally responsible for the NDP's fiscal record, as Clark's chief of staff, Dix undoubtedly had a hand in crafting policy that saw the province take a step backward during the 1990s.
As with any good attack ad, the Liberals have painted the New Democrat leader in the worst possible light, holding him responsible for tax hikes, job losses and overall economic chaos during the last NDP reign.
If he's as bad as he's purported to be, then why are Dix, and his party, on top of recent public opinion polls? OK, that's a rhetorical question, but it does make you wonder.
Despite much of the criticism being valid, the NDP's new leader has shot past Christy Clark and the rest of the Liberals in the court of public opinion and is poised to become B.C.'s next premier. That distinct possibility is due, in part, to the short memories of some voters, but has more to do with the performance of the governing Liberals.
Dix might well be everything and more his opponents claim, but the fact of the matter is he's looked upon as the more palatable choice by voters at the present time. What does that say about Clark and her supposedly new-look Liberals?
Whether those polling numbers can hold for the next 16 months is the million-dollar question. As the provincial election draws nearer, I'm sure the Liberal message - "You might not like us, but they're worse" - will be hammered home. Clark and company will use the fragile economy as a backdrop to urge British Columbians not to take a chance on the NDP, all the while glossing over their own recent record.
We'll have to wait to find out whether such an approach will work, but on the surface it makes a lot of sense. After all, when the public isn't buying what you're selling, it's time to change tactics.