Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Stupid People's party and how to respond to the Stupid things they say

Andrew Coyne is aghast that the Conservatives would seek to be the stupid people's party. He is right to be. As he says, "A society that holds education and expertise in contempt, no less than one that disdains commerce or entrepreneurship, is dying. To whip up popular hostility to intellectuals is to invite the public to jump on its own funeral pyre."

That said, Coyne overstates Harper's Machiavellian inclinations. The Conservatives are not without convictions and neither is Harper. Not everything they do is a ploy to stay in power. Far from it. It is evident what Harper wants to do. It is just that Harper's world view -- particularly when it comes to foreign affairs-- is not terribly sophisticated. Needless to say, this is also true of most Conservative MPs. As for all those stupid talking points the Conservatives have trotted out over the years it is a mistake to assume that they are merely instrumental. That is to say these talking points not merely designed to get the base going. On any number of issues these talking points seem hardly different from what various Conservative MPs (e.g., Stockwelll Day) have said previously on the subject and in private life. In sum, many Conservative talking points should be seen on some level as a reflection of what Conservatives MPs truly believe.

Whatever the case, the Liberals should welcome the opportunity to debunk these talking points and ridicule the Conservatives for having championed them. But that is not what the Liberals have done. Take the census issue. Whereas, most pundits have focused in on the idiocy of Tony Clement has had to say, the Liberals have focused on showing just how many groups use the census and to what ends. In other words, they have treated it as an issue Canadians care deeply about, but that is simply not the case. What has caught the public's attention and what will always grab the public's attention is the ham fisted manner in which Conservatives have proceeded and above all else the ridiculousness of what Conservatives have had to say. The Liberals should not be trying to educate the populace about how useful the census is, but rather be doing their utmost to make Tony Clement into a punch line to various jokes. They should be laughing it up with the pundits. Keep it light. For example: "The Conservatives believe that most Canadians have a secret desire to fail stats 101. I do not believe that to be the case."


Anonymous said...

But do you have any -- you know -- evidence! for this, that it'd be more effective to concentrate on the (admittedly justifiable) character assassination & mockery attacks? or is your punditry just indulging in the same 'truthiness,' wing-it-from-the-gut crap that the Cons are up to? I.e., why should we believe or follow your advice?

Anonymous said...

The more and more I read this site, the more I am convinced that the Maple Three are Con moles.

No ifs and or buts about it.


Koby said...

The very success of "truthiness" critique of the Bush is a great place to start.

Lyn: Let me get this straight. I refer to the Conservative party as the stupid people's party and this is evidence that I am a Conservative mole.

Koby said...

Anonymous said...

So what evidence is there that the "truthiness" critique of Bush succeeded? He might've won again, for all you know, if he could've run a third term. Just cuz the old geezer vacillator & the idiot Palin lost (and only by 46 vs 53% of the popular vote) doesn't mean that Colbert-style attacks were responsible, as opposed to the usual "It's the economy, stupid."

So, what war rooms have you run & who'd you get elected, again?

Koby said...

"Bush succeeded? He might've won again, for all you know"

You are on crack. After Katerina, Bush's popularity numbers were terrible. They were in the 30s for Christ sake. The Republicans tried their best to distance themselves from him. In fact Bush did not make a single appearance for McCain. As for the Democrats, to this day try to connect the current batch of Republicans to the old.

"only by 46 vs 53% of the popular vote"

That is actually pretty big spread.

How do you know whether Dukakis was hurt by the tank incident, or Ford by not being able to shuck his corn or Kim Campbell by Chretien ad or Barry Goldwater by the daisy ad etc etc. The first thing you look for is a down town in polling numbers. Another thing you look for is a resulting lasting negative storyline.

Bush's polling numbers certainly took a hit around this time, but I would not put much took in that. No it is the fact that such a storyline outlived the Bush presidency itself that damn impressive. Stephen Colbert's White House speech was in many ways the Bush's administration's eulogy.

As for economy being a bigger factor, no shit. Of course it was.