As the election we didn't expect/knew was coming all the time (team 2012/2011, respectively) moves into Day Three, two general things to watch:
The coalition thing: Judging from the conversation on Twitter on Day 2, this business about coalition prospects is annoying. Some are annoyed by its dominance of political debate. Some are annoyed by the things being said, on all sides. Some are annoyed by the memories of 2008 that Harper has dredged up. Some are annoyed that a perfectly acceptable part of parliamentary democracy is being sullied by politics. Some are annoyed that they seem to have entered a conversation halfway through it, and don't get the private-school-debating points that seem to be in play.
Quick answer to all those who are annoyed: You have an absolute right to be annoyed, and as long as you keep being riled up, it will stay on the political agenda. Politicians reward emotion with more emotion. It's better than apathy. Anger's an easy thing to whip up. Optimism is a little more difficult. Speaking as a journalist, I'd love a happy, hopeful issue to cover, and suggestions on what would maintain your abiding interest, minus the anger, would be most useful.
I will say, however, to all those who argue that this coalition stuff is irrelevant: first, if the Prime Minister decides to hammer at it on every occasion, we're going to cover it. (Yes, that is another way of saying, childishly, "he started it.") Second, this whole business of coalitions is getting reporters into the terrain of discussing political lies, character and the ability to work with others. These are not insubstantial matters in politics, or life, for that matter. They are about political culture. We can talk to you about a three-percentage-point shaving of corporate taxes, but we like to think you care about the culture of politics too. (As an aside, it's actually amusing to watch people trying to turn this into an abstraction. If you lived around human beings, you get the issue: no one wants to admit weakness. You're not going to find a politician entertaining the prospect that he (no she among the leaders) might not get the win he wants.
The Twitter campaign: This isn't scientific, but my email inbox tells me that this election is attracting all kinds of new, Twitter converts. I welcome you all to the debate there, which I can report -- for the most part -- is civil, fun and addictive. People are talking, good laughs are rewarded, and nastiness is kept to the fringe. (Unlike blogs, in that nastiness terrain, which may be an interesting phenomenon, worth exploring.)
Had you been on Twitter yesterday, you would have seen some good-natured fun about Jason Kenney accidentally typing that Brampton candidate Parm Gill had a good work "ethnic." (I think Kenney has deleted the tweet.) You would have seen Bob Fife, of CTV, reporting that Harper told folks he "could live on sausage." You would have seen Ignatieff's wife, Zsuzsanna, posing with a puppy for a picture or bagels being handed out aboard the bus. This is also what political life is all about. Welcome, sincerely, to our world. You will find it hard not to like all the people in it.
If you are a political junkie, sign up to Twitter, download Tweetdeck and set the columns (that plus sign at the top of the screen) to search for #cdnpoli or #elxn41. Watch the conversation and take part. I promise you that from this quarter, you'll get a respectful hearing.
That's where we are on Day Three. If you're here at this blog, you probably are interested in politics. So plunge right in. Let's keep it civil and respectful, and we'll try to reward your interest.