Monday, September 07, 2009

The Conservative war on success

Reading through the coverage of the Liberal television ads that were pre-released to the Web yesterday, I found the comments of Patrick Muttart quite striking. A former senior Conservative campaign and PMO staffer who played a big role in the party's demographically-targeted campaign strategy, Muttart is expected to be back in a key campaign role for Stephen Harper in the next election.

Patrick Muttart, a Conservative who had a hand in developing his own party's advertising, argues the Liberal ad actually does the opposite, playing to a "rich, urban, internationalist" segment of the population.

"Quite frankly, he doesn't need additional "snob" votes as there are none left on the table," said Muttart, former deputy chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper now at an American public affairs firm.

"He's got a lock on this corner of the political marketplace."

Gee, with an attitude like that, by demonstrating such disdain for millions of Canadians, is it any wonder the Conservatives have had continual difficulty penetrating many urban centers across Canada?

But this is indicative of the ingrained attitude held by so much of the current Conservative leadership. There's whole groups of people they just don't like, and they don't care if you know it. Indeed, they're not above pitting one group of Canadians against another group for political gain. Like decrying fancy arts galas to stoke hatred of mythical urban elites, or attacking BQ politicians as illegitimate to gain support in the West.

The Conservatives seem to be against internationalism, against success, against education. It's no mistake that, in those poll numbers I mentioned yesterday, those with university degrees are much less likely to vote Conservative. They look at education as something to be mocked, not valued.

Is this really the path to success in the 21st century? Because if we're going to build the economy of tomorrow, if Canada is going to compete and succeed in the global marketplace, we're going to need higher levels of education. Government should be encouraging it, not mocking it. And we're going to need internationalism. It's the only way we're going to succeed. The world isn't getting smaller, and Canada is just one small corner of it.

When contrasted with Muttart's arrogant and short-sighted remarks, it makes the contrast with the Liberal message of competing globally, of embracing our internationalism and reaching out to the world, all the more stark.

By the way, you know who actually agrees with me on the value of internationalism? Why, Patrick Muttart. Because, when Muttart joined the mass exodus from the Harper PMO he moved to the United States to further his career, taking a position with Mercury Public Affairs, an American political consultancy.

But don't worry, he'll still visit Canada to help the Conservatives on the next campaign. And then go back home to the U.S. after.

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Tof KW said...

"They look at education as something to be mocked, not valued."

Excellent point, because educated voters are the Conservatives worst nightmare.

Tof KW said...

"They look at education as something to be mocked, not valued."

Excellent point, because educated voters are the Conservatives worst nightmare.

Kirbycairo said...

Well just look at Rona Ambrose. . . She actually thinks Ayn Rand is an intellectual!

The Rat said...

Whereas Liberals have never, ever, pitted groups against each other or shown their disdain for entire segments of the Canadian populace? Does the term "redneck" ring a bell? Alberta, maybe? It seems to me that Liberals show disdain for hardworking, independent, and personally responsible voters throughout rural Canada and have no problem doing it. The wealthy elite in the cities? You can have 'em, I'd rather stand with the guy who can fix his own car.

Oxford County Liberals said...

Very good Rat, you've parroted your Conservative points perfectly.

The fact of the matter is, the Conservatives are implicitly and explicitly questioning whether Ignatieff is a "real Canadian" or not. It's disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

Because the decision is you have to stand with one or the other?

So much for "standing up for (all of) Canada."

And pity the gal in the city who changes her own timing chain. Who will stand up for her? Guess she's sh*t out of luck with that attitude.

As far as I'm considered you can crawl back into your hole, rat. You display fully the attitude that drove me from the ranks of "persuadable" Canadians who Harper might have at one time had a chance of reaching. Epic fail.

CanadianSense said...

Is this the candour that MI was going to have to give up?

Calling the supporters of the CPC party stupid?

Is this really going to help rehabilite the image of the party by having bloggers trash each other who is smarter, stronger, nicer, more Canadian?

Looks like the Bloc are going to win that battle when the three federal parties continue their mutual destruction and fight over 24/75 seats.

Jon Pertwee said...

Hey Rat, there are plenty of hardworking, independent and personally responsible voters within rural Canada. 85% of Canadians are rural residents and most of them live in three cities. This really makes your point rather unfair with the way you paint urban Canadians and there is the flaw of your argument. How do you expect to get a majority with such a small amount of supporters and then such a nasty and frankly, unnecessary attack on urban Canadians.

Then again forget it Rat. You're far too angry to want to be open minded. Good luck with that anger. It's not good for your health

CanadianSense said...

Are posts not allowed if they don't support the Liberal Party?

A difference of opinion will not be tolerated?

RuralSandi said...

Hey, if a Harvard snob/elitist is good enough for Harper - so is one good enough for us

Tim Power, Summa Communications
Studied: Public Sector Management
Harvard University

kirbycairo - funny you should mention her - I saw her in an interview with Catherine Clark, CPAC. Rona spent most of her life (because of her father's work) outside of Canada, mostly in Brazil AND she said that she advises young women to work around the world, in other countries - it's a great experience.

Jon Pertwee said...

Canadiansense, maybe people are just more irritated by your Conbot talking points.

Tof KW said...

The Rat, though you probably don't realize it, your earlier statement shows quite perfectly why the Reformatories will never win a majority government. Pitting one side against another? That's what your side does to win, so I guess you figure all political parties must do that. The old us & them routine.

And I am convinced that Albertans like to think of themselves as victims no matter what. Even with one of their own as PM, Stelmach is still trying to pin Alberta's economic mess on Ottawa. Gee, where did all that heritage fund money go Ed? I'm surprised they don't blame the NEP, yup it's still screwing Alberta 30 years after the fact.

Getting back to the ads, what strikes me is the difference between the messages being given by the two major parties. Ignatieff is asking us to think bigger, and for us to do better. Meanwhile Jason Kenny's been all over the CBC slagging Iggy's personal character.

My My... it looks like the 2003 Ontario election all over again. The Connies are one 'reptilian kitten eater' comment away from losing it all.

Gerry Nicholls said...

I have never liked the Tory populist-style communication strategy.

To my mind, it's better to campaign more on ideology and less on that kind of classwarfare stuff.