An interesting article in the Vancouver Sun last week, where Barbra Yaffe speaks with a reflective Michael Byers, the NDP candidate that was the latest of the many high-profile contenders to be shut down by Liberal MP Hedy Fry in Vancouver-Centre.
The political science professor says he learned there's a big difference between the classroom theory and the political trenches. Very true. He's candid in the interview about his naivete, and reading the piece I was surprised at just now naive he was:
He cites his own naivete in not recognizing the "logical complexities of running campaigns." He didn't appreciate the importance of a campaign apparatus to identify and then pull the vote, nor did he have time to assemble one. He'll now concentrate on building his party's riding membership and fund raising capability.
He has learned some lessons though, namely to blame any verbal stumble on media misquoting or taking out if context:
Byers regrets a verbal stumble he made during the campaign, when he called for the oilsands to be shut down. The quote was taken out of context, he says; he meant the development should gradually be wound down.
If wasn't 'taken' out of context, he misspoke and didn't put his comments in the proper context. There's a difference, professor. First lesson of real-world politics though: it's never your fault.
Anyway, an interesting piece about the differences between political theory and real world politics. If he does indeed run again, we'll see if he's really learned any lessons. At least his poly sci lectures should be a little more interesting now.
I know there's one thing I learned from the race in Vancouver-Centre: never, ever underestimate Dr. Hedy Fry. She's a machine.
Professor learns some lessons in political campaignRecommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, October 24, 2008
As NDP candidate in Vancouver Centre, political science professor Michael Byers, unusually, found himself on the learning end of the equation.
The star candidate who wound up losing last week's election to Liberal MP Hedy Fry now says: "Winning was a long shot in 2008."
Byers also lost 10 pounds and a few thousand dollars in income as a result of a leave of absence from the University of British Columbia.
But "I've gained so much, I've won on a personal level." He still intends to become the riding MP; it's just going to take him a bit longer.