Paul Wells figures that Martin accomplished his main goal, delaying the election:
"Martin wins the big play. It is a moment of consummate irony: it's the play Chrétien used against him. "OK, I'll leave, but on my schedule." I will be amazed if the next three days' polls don't show overwhelming support for letting Gomery report."and he also identifies Layton as a big winner for focussing on some actual issues.
pogge agrees that Layton made a favourable impression, after rounding up some favourable Layton comments he notes:
"They're all talking about Jack Layton on an equal footing with Martin, Harper and Duceppe in the midst of a scandal that involves Liberal corruption, the possible fall of a government and national unity issues. That in itself is a victory. The fact that they all say nice things is gravy."
Timmy at Voice in the Wilderness disagrees with Wells and figures that Martin's effort, while valiant, wasn't enough,
"This is a stink that will live with the Liberal Party for a long time. I truly believe Martin is unfairly tainted by it, but it doesn't make him any less damaged goods. Life is unfair, and politics even more so."
Andrew at Bound by Gravity figures that Layton came off the best of the bunch and is well positioned to be the one to observe that most people on the centre-left figured Layton did a good job while most of the right were unimpressed (what does this say about Andrew himself?):
"Remember - it doesn't matter what a CPC voter thinks of Layton's performance (he'll never get our votes) - only what the left-leaning voter thinks matters to Jack."
Andrew Spicer agrees with Timmy
"Let's get used to it...
* There will be a new election soon
* There will be a Prime Minister Harper"
and figures he could live with that if it's only a minority government.
CalgaryGrit figures Layton was the best of the bunch but is skeptical that the whole TV appearance had any impact,
"Basically, I don't think this will make a huge difference. Everyone rehashed what they've been saying for the past few weeks. Martin looked really good, but he was followed up by half an hour of opposition leaders who also looked good bashing him. Still, he'll get most of the media clips so it was likely worth the risk. I'll be very curious to see if this has any real impact on voters - my gut tells me no, but we'll see."
The Gritty one also echoes my reaction and commenter Neil at Andrew Spicer in decrying the 4 pm start on the West Coast.
Adam Radwanski makes a good point (in my opinion) that even if Martin wins (on getting the election delayed) he loses,
"What he's still trying to do is win the Gomery debate, which is impossible. The only way for the Liberals to win the next election is to make it about something other than the Adscam. But what he's effectively done is ensure that, whenever the election is, it'll be almost exclusively about the scandal. Hell, he more or less promised as much."
Greg at Sinister Thoughts thought Layton made a good impression and warns Harper not to get too overconfident,
"Harper looks like a guy who thinks he has the world by the balls. He already thinks he has a majority. He must, he brought up a "made in Canada" environment plan again. Forget about honoring Kyoto, that's so last week. Remember Mr. Harper, you lost the election in a weekend last time. Don't count your seats before the votes are counted."
Alan at Gen X at 40 figures that Martin did well, but won't win the election. He also calls Harper on some mistakes,
"Harper did not do well. There is nothing stopping Paul Martin from the TV spot and Harper was wrong to imply here was any time of convention relating to the Prime Minister presenting on the TV. Harper wrongly said that Martin asked to be the one to fix the scandal. Martin said the opposite. He said he will call the election for 30 days after the final report."
Damian at Babbling Brooks focusses on what he felt was Harper's best line (when he suggested that non-Quebecers shouldn't let Quebecers get ahead of them in the demanding accountability sweepstakes), noting that,
"In three sentences, the man praises the integrity of Quebec voters (nurturing nascent CPC support), and challenges the Rest of Canada (read: Vote-Rich Ontario) to demonstrate the same degree of principle. From where I sit, the subtle jab at Ontarian pride is brilliant - especially given the implication that Quebec is setting the standard. If they were listening - a big if, I know - Canadians in the Centre of the Universe won't sit still for that."He also sees no reason to wait on an election.
Justin at Flash Point Canada is proud of Martin.
Cathie from Canada liked Martin's performance and figured that circumstances could be working in Layton's favour,
"So if Layton becomes the government's saviour over the next month, this could be Layton's big chance to shuck his Toronto-alderman-not-ready-for-prime-time image and finally demonstrate to the country that he IS a leader."
Sean Incognito nicely matches tonight's speakers with their film noir alter egos.
JimBobby wasn't too impressed with the decision to hold a national broadcast on such a trivial topic and doesn't figure it will help Martin anyway,
"I reckon it don't matter whether we hold the vote today or next January, the GrittyFellers is all washed up - leastwise fer the next 10 years or so."
Matthew at Living in a Society is still pretty upset about the whole affair:
I give Martin some credit for trying to take responsibility but it is far too little, far too late.
Finally, Darren Barefoot is more of an issues guy, and thus was easily most impressed with Layton:
"I'm not crazy about Layton's party, but he's by far the best speaker, and is far succinct that his fellow speakers. It's also the best-written speech, pointed without being catty. He wins my respect by not focusing on the scandal, but on what government should be doing instead of the scandal."
So what does it all mean? My general impression is that in the short term, the centre-left of the spectrum was impressed by Layton seeing that the country still needs to be governed and felt that Martin made, if not the best, then at least an improvement out of a bad situation. People were generally non-committal / negative about Harper's performance with a lot of negative comments about his speaking ability / posture / mannerisms etc.
Notwithstanding all that, the general feeling is that when an election comes, it's not going to go well for the Liberals. Where there's most disagreement is on the timing of the election. My feeling is that unless the polls consistently, overwhelmingly show the public is against having an election now, the Conservatives and Bloc will be unable to wait. Not waiting likely won't cost the Bloc anything but it may backfire on the Conservatives.
One thing which will be interesting to see is how many voters aren't willing to vote for any of the three main parties under the circumstances. Anyway, it should be an interesting year - it's too bad about policy.