If I were a political consultant to the March 8 forces, here’s what I would suggest by way of electoral strategy advice:
March 14 is doing all of its work for you. Each passing week brings another miscalculation by the ruling coalition, another blunder, another poorly-coordinated move. The wire-tapping scandal fizzled when Defense Minister Elias al-Murr (whom M8 had refused to consider an ‘independent’ candidate in the post-Doha cabinet) exonerated Telecommunications Minister and Aoun son-in-law Gebran Bassil. The Council of the South scandal fell flat when Berri called M14’s bluff and suggested disbanding all the councils in exchange for setting up a Ministry of Planning. And the Maronite patriarch gave Aounist Christians one more reason to ignore him when he came right out this week and endorsed March 14th. Aoun responded by boycotting mass on Mar Maroun day, and, suprise surprise, nobody cared.
March 14th seems to be outsourcing its electoral strategy to the patriarch and Michel al-Murr’s centrist block. With no real ideas or platform, they have resorted to trying to draw their opponents into skirmish after skirmish, with lackluster results. March 8 (which also has no real ideas or platform) is playing it smart by just letting the days tick by until June 7, when they will probably win a slim majority just because most Lebanese are tired of the same old faces.
As for my advice to March 14? Stop trying to rekindle the emotions of 2005. It’s time to move on; the rest of the country has. Find a cause that doesn’t consist entirely of bashing Syria. Replace the national dialogue talks with nationally televised debates, so that your constituents can see what’s what. Try replacing slogans with policies. Otherwise, move aside and prepare for life as a parliamentary opposition.