There are days when you don't know whether to laugh or cry. I had one of those days yesterday evening as I watched Duffy and Co.'s pre debate coverage on Newsnet, before I said screw it and decided to catch-up on the backlog of sitcoms and Law and Order episodes on my PVR instead.
I'll get to the content of the military ad in a minute, first I want to talk about the fallout. I missed the JD/MD intimidation exchange (watching South Park by that point), but what I saw up until then from John Duffy was asinine. He was flailing pathetically like a wounded gazelle, and MD and the party hacks, well, hacked him to pieces. The ad was never aired so it's not a real ad, it was posted accidentally, waa waa.
Shut up, John! The fact is you geniuses had a meeting, came up with the concept, approved it, shot it and produced it. This wasn't some kid in the war room writing a press release saying Paul Martin supports child porn and hitting send on the e-mail. This is a television ad; some idiot(s) at a much higher level thought this was a good idea.
I actually met John Duffy once and he didn't seem like a total moron. It was in Vancouver, before the Liberal leadership debate a few years ago. I went to dinner with a group of Young Liberal execs/Youth for Martin types (same thing really) and Duffy came by to pump-up the troops. I think he had a chicken ceaser salad and a beer, no popcorn though.
Although Duffy seemed alright, I think it was at that dinner I began to grow disillusioned with the clique surrounding Martin. They're young but they know it all, they've had life handed to them and they expect it should always be so. You might say a culture of entitlement. But anyway, I've digressed.
BS excuses don't matter John. As I've said I work in the media, and I've dabbled in communications. From a communications POV you had two choices: own it, or apologize. Here were your choices:
1) We're going to run the ad because it's accurate, what's wrong about it? He did say he wants to put soldiers into cities. And don't soldiers have guns? No, we're not saying he's planning a coup, you're an idiot!
2) The ad has been pulled and never should have been made. Sometimes in the heat of an election…loose our judgment, … I (or Scott Reid or David Herle, someone big, they'll all be out of work soon anyway) OK'd this ad and that was obviously a mistake. I (or whomever) have resigned….apologize…utmost respect for the work and professionalism of our solders…and so on.
Pulling it without apologizing is bonecrushingly stupid. You tacitly admit you screwed-up but won't admit it. It's like standing on an anthill, stripping naked and smothering yourself in honey.
And trying to threaten the media? Speaking as a journalist, kiss my ass John!
The Ad itself
I grew up as a military brat. My father served in the Air Force so I lived on bases across Canada and in Germany. I was also an Air Cadet in my teens, so I know the military, I respect the military and I care deeply about military issues. Liberal policies around military issues have long been a sore point for me.
I've watched this ad a number of times now. The first time or two I thought well that's a little much, but they're just making fun of Harper's policy. I thought his doling out army divisions (or whatever, I was an Air Force brat) to different communities as political plums was stupid.
But as I watched it more and more I began to feel this goes way the hell over the top. I think the coup talk being read into it is BS, let me say that. That's a figment of a fevered right-wing imagination. But the ad is trying to paint a picture of a police state, Canadian soldiers accidentally firing off their clip into a crowd at Portage and Main. That's (I'm running out of words for stupid) insane, insulting to our soldiers, and, well, it's just stupid.
Someone (big) needs to take the fall and be fired, not asked to resign (West Wingers think Toby and the shuttle leak) but fired, and the PM needs to apologize. NOW. If the Liberals want to salvage this election they need to end this and move on, or this will be the next two weeks.
But beyond that, it needs to happen because it's the RIGHT THING TO DO. Paul Martin got credit with me, and with a lot of people, when he called the Gomery Commission and took sponsorship on. Politically stupid, yes, but the right thing morally to do. You said that was how you were going to operate, doing the right thing.
Well Paul, it's time to step up and prove it. We're waiting.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers