Liberal-CBC pollster Frank Graves is lying again
I don't think anyone would dispute that. The only room for debate is: who did he lie to -- Lawrence Martin of the Globe and Mail, or you and me?
Yesterday, Martin wrote a column in the Globe about the Graves Strategy for Michael Ignatieff. Key excerpts:
Frank Graves of Ekos Research, in agreement with the analysis, has told the Grits that the wedge politics of the Conservatives provide them with an opportunity to stake out a stark alternative. Stop worrying about the West, he’s told them. No need to fear polarizing the debate. It’s what worked for Mr. Chrétien against Preston Manning and Stockwell Day.
In his advice, Mr. Graves could hardly have been more blunt. “I told them that they should invoke a culture war. Cosmopolitanism versus parochialism, secularism versus moralism, Obama versus Palin, tolerance versus racism and homophobia, democracy versus autocracy. If the cranky old men in Alberta don’t like it, too bad. Go south and vote for Palin.”
The Grits haven’t told him whether they favour this approach or not. But they are keen on projecting a more activist agenda for the party.
So, in case those four explicit mentions aren't clear enough, let's just say it in plain English: Graves gives advice to the Liberals. He tells them things.
To the extent that readers may have taken the inference I had previously proffered this advice to the Liberal Party of Canada, it was a mistaken inference.
This is a classic non-apology apology -- or what the Chinese call an "ironic" apology.
I'm sorry... that you are too stupid to understand what I meant.
I'm sorry... that I have to explain myself to you knuckle-draggers out there who like Sarah Palin.
I'm sorry... not that I'm unethical, but that I've been caught.
So now he's claiming he didn't give that strategic advice to the Liberals.
Do you really believe his latest line?
In a tough-talking interview with a sympathetic columnist, he boasts four times about how he advises the Liberals. In his TV appearance yesterday, he even admits he's called by partisans all the time -- just not Conservatives. (Gee, who does that leave?)
But now, that he's embarrassed himself and the CBC (but, apparently, not Michael Ignatieff who is following his advice), he claims it was all a misunderstanding.
Frank. Graves. Is. A. Liar.
But let's pretend -- just for fun -- that we're the stupid rubes he talked about, and he's the smart cosmopolitan elite that he talked about, and so we have fallen under his spell, like a Jedi mind trick.
Pretend along with me: yes, Graves, we believe that you, who donated $11,000 to the Liberals, got $61 million in Liberal contracts, we believe that you didn't say what you say you said. We now believe that you said what you say you meant.
Okay, I'll play along.
There are still a few questions he hasn't answered.
1. He says he now regrets those particular words -- his attack on the West, Christians, etc. -- because they were offensive. Putting aside the choice of words (they'll be perfected later by the Liberal TV ad team), does he still believe in the divide-and-conquer strategy of pitting different Canadians from different provinces, classes, races and religions against each other?
I think we know the answer: he still stands by the Graves Strategy -- he's just embarrassed that it sounded so awful, and that it exposed the lie of him being a "non-partisan" CBC house pollster.
2. In his statement today, Graves says he gave his advice to the Liberals through the media. Yes, we know that he did. But he does not deny that he also gave it privately and directly, as implied in Martin's original column yesterday. Will Graves disclose who in the Liberal Party or government he has been giving his advice to as well, in manners that are not publicly known? How often does he give advice to the Liberals? What other advice has he given them?
...I have never been a member of any political party. EKOS Research has never conducted polling or other public opinion research for any political party, nor has it ever been retained to give advice of any kind.
Did you catch the subtle shift?
First he said he hadn't been a member of a party. Then he said his company has never "been retained to give advice".
So has Graves himself ever been retained to give advice?
But what about that phrase, "been retained". That implies some sort of formal agreement. But nobody cares about that. All we care about is if he gives partisan advice at all -- we don't care if it's paid or free, or formal or informal.
Does he give the Liberals partisan advice or not?
We know he doesn't need a formal "retainer" -- he's been well taken care of already, thank you very much, with $61 million in government contracts. In fact, the money flows the other way, when it comes to the Liberal Party -- he pays them, they don't need to pay him.
So I ask again: has Ekos or Graves himself given advice to the Liberal Party, or the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, at all?
(I don't need to ask -- I already know. He admitted as much in the video. I'm just pointing out the lies in his letter.)
4. Graves closes his statement by referring to the CBC's "high journalistic standards". Has Graves even read the CBC's code of ethics, as it applies to political hacks like him? Does he think the section that requires him to disclose his partisan ties doesn't apply to him? Or did the CBC give him some sort of exemption?
5. Enough talk about Graves and the CBC. What about Ignatieff? Will he renounce the Graves Strategy? Not just the rhetoric, as Graves has done, but the Graves Strategy itself?
6. If Graves won't do it, will Ignatieff release a record of any contacts between the Liberal Party or the OLO and Graves, and the nature of those contacts?
Frank Graves is as partisan as I am. He's just better at getting paid for it. But there is one more difference between us: if I were a $11,000 donor to the Conservatives, and gave ongoing political and strategic advice to them, I don't think I'd be able to look into the CBC cameras, and call myself, with a straight face, a "neutral, non-partisan" pollster.
Frank Graves is a political partisan. And he's been caught. So he's lying.
Shame on the CBC for tolerating this buffoon. And shame on Ignatieff for following his malign advice.