Monday, May 30, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: DOES STRATEGY BREED APATHY?
There is no question that the lies spouted out by FIBerals like Dalton McGuinty and Paul Martin are eating into public confidence in elected officials. Both men were elected with significantly high expectations and have absolutely failed to deliver.
But you know why CH thinks the level of distrust is so high? Because politicians, pundits, staff and hacks keep talking strategy. What do I mean by "talking strategy"? I mean that when we (political folk) are asked for comment on an item, we tell them WHY we're doing what we're doing.
Case in point is a recent interview by CPC House Leader Jay Hill. When asked about whether the Tories will bring down the government during the upcoming opposition days, he has this to say:
"As long as we have this loaded gun sitting there, they're going to have to take it seriously," Hill said in an interview. "The minute I say to you, or to anybody, 'We're definitely not going to even try a non-confidence motion,' then they're not going to take Parliament seriously at all."
You wonder why voters are cynical? Because we're TELLING them that we're playing games. Jay Hill is essentially saying to the public: "Well, we're threatening to hold an election because if we don't, then we won't have any influence".
Yeah I get that--but why would you SAY it?? Why would you not use this as an opportunity to message about the need to defeat a corrupt government, 12 year rule, Canadians' distrust of Martin, representing our constituents, etc.
Memo to Jay: It's about the voters, stupid! This isn't about political parties, politicians, Stephen Harper or anyone else on the, ahem, Hill. Hill. Its about Canadians.
But Mr. Hill isn't the only offender--far from it. Here's a snippit from Star Columnist Chantal Hebert back in late April when the non-confidence saga was just beginning:
"Liberal strategists may feel that, by going down to defeat on the budget rather than on an opposition motion dealing with ethics, they will get a head start on defining the ballot-box question to their advantage."
Or its staff trying to look like they're in the loop. From Jane Taber's Ottawa Notebook on Saturday:
"He's going to be all over the place," the source said. "This summer he's just going to go out and meet people, go to a lot of the ridings that are important for us, and do it from a very personal perspective"
That's good. Now we have a better chance that the people who we need to vote for us see Harper's visit in the best possible light--a transparent suck up gesture to get votes.
I see time and time again so-called "political pundits" get on TV and explain the strategy behind their ads, legislation or policy position. Just go on chapters.ca or amazon.com and look at all the books devoted to "political pundits". Even uberpundit Warring Kinsella does interviews talking about "kicking ass in canadian politics" by manipulating voters. Now, Kinsella gives some of the best explanation for partaking in the "black arts", but still. Yeah, he might be good at it, but why do they insist on TELLING everyone about what they're doing. And why does John Laschinger?
If you want to breed cynicism, then publishing or talking about strategy is a "kick ass" way to do it.
Please stop it. Keep your strategy to yourself.
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