Friday, March 09, 2007

Salutin on Dion and conventional wisdoms

Globe columnist Rick Salutin makes what I think is a fairly relevant point about the track record of the track record of establishment buzz and conventional wisdoms…

The record: I hear the buzz (definitely a “how things are” kind of concept) in Ottawa is that St├ęphane Dion is a dud. Makes me think of the buzz on previous Liberal leaders. In 1984, insiders said new leader John Turner had “the royal jelly.” He campaigned wretchedly and lost to Brian Mulroney. In 1988, they said he couldn't even control his own caucus. In that election, he brilliantly outperformed Mr. Mulroney and NDP leader Ed Broadbent, though he didn't win.

In 1993, they called new Liberal leader Jean Chr├ętien “yesterday's man,” just before he won the first of three straight majorities. He didn't fall to the “refreshing” new face of Kim Campbell, who reduced her party to two seats. That same election, they said Preston Manning and his Reform Party had “peaked too soon” and would never amount to anything.

In 2004, new Liberal leader Paul Martin had a “juggernaut” that couldn't be stopped. If you're a Liberal leader, you might prefer not to be anointed by these prophets.

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paulsstuff said...

Dion might have made his biggest mistake yesterday on Duffy.

When asked about the Conservative attack ads he stated he was not going to stoop to that level and Harper was being a bully.

Both the host and the two commentators from the G+M and whatever news organization said Dion just handcuffed any attack ads they run in the next campaign. By playing the clip of Dions comments they neutralize the ads and make Dion look foolish.

Just say you disagree with how you are portrayed in the ads.Any attack ads used in the next campaign will now blow up in his face.

A BCer in Toronto said...

It was an unnecessary comment for him to make, but anyway, I could dredge up many quotes from Harper on the Cons on how neg ads are bad, they don't like it, etc...Politicians always say negative ads are bad, politicians always run negative ads. That's how it goes.

Ti-Guy said...

I really dislike the word "buzz." It's vacuous and pretty dishonest. It suggests a concensus among insiders without really proving there is. It's borrowed straight from corporate public relations and marketing firms, and frankly, I'm getting tired of governance being sold to us like...Coca Cola.

Just say you disagree with how you are portrayed in the ads.

Isn't that always the problem with the Liberals though, eh? They never listen to the advice provided by their political adversaries on how to devise their communication strategies.

*tsk*...No wonder the Liberals never win elections.

ottlib said...

I remember the 1988 election. Mr. Turner was well on his way to winning that election but then the business lobby spent an obscene amount of money, in the final 10 days of the campaign, on flashy ads promoting the FTA, and that handed the victory to Mr. Mulroney.

It was that event that provided the impetus for the restrictions on third party advertizing in this country. Many people believed that big business used their very deep pockets to buy that election. I am not so certain they do not have a point.

As for the subject of this post. It was conventional wisdom up until about the beginning of January 2006 that Stephen Harper could never win an election.

So Mr. Salutin has a point.

JimBobby said...

foWhooee! Well Jeff, I know yer guy Dion just started out on a publick relations tour an' maybe that'll do him some good but, I gotta say it, up til now, Dion's been like the invisible man. Harpoon's out every day tossin' money around an' makin' believe he's a green giant an' Dion's sittin' on the side sayin' nuthin'. At least that the impression I get from what little coverage I see o' Dion.

Harpoon's eatin' Dion's lunch an' Dion's lettin' him do it. Dion's gotta show that PM Dion'd be more effective than PM Martin. He's gotta tell voters howcum the green stuff Harper's pushin' is too little, too late.

Sure, Dion's gotta show that he's more than just an enviro-guy but he ain't even winnin' on the green file an' the reason he ain't winnin' is on accounta he ain't even playin'. He's just layin' there lettin' Harper score points with $1.5 bn here an' $1.5 bn there.

Here's what he needs -
1. Bold, definitive plans on green stuff, delivered as counterpoint t' Harpoon's provincial giveaways an' half-hearted efforts. Bigass, detailed endorsement of cap and trade.

2. Vigorous defense of Liberal reign wrt crime, gun control, social justice, the economy.

3. Convincing rhetoric on LPC accountability to counter valid claims of past Lib corruption.

4. Strong argument against Harper's increased focus on military action vs. rebuilding in Afstan. Negative ads on untendered Harper spending on wasted efforts in Afstan and big budget military purchases.

Harper's been doin' the same thing every gummint does wrt money announcements. They make a big deal about a $1.5 ecoEnergy fund at the same time they're dolin' out $1.4 bn a year in corporate welfare t' Big Oil. Dion's gotta put these socalled green dollars inta perspective.