Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's in a Label?



Most of my readers know by now that I work for the Official Opposition here in Alberta. Here's a little something we released this morning.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah the wonderful world of back-seat drivers.

Earl J. Woods said...

When the front-seat drivers are headed into the ditch, sometimes the other passengers need to take over - or at least point out that a course correction would be prudent.

Anonymous said...

They came to the table and complained...it's easy enough to point out that course corrections are needed, but they come up short with presenting solutions.

These are lovely examples of people who were in office at unfortunate times. You really think George Bush is single-handedly responsible for...anything? I doubt he was responsible for choosing his socks.

However would you spend time finding evidence of "fiscal conservatives" that were present during good times? No, because that doesn't serve the agenda of slandering the party in power. I in no way support them, but I think that the liberals come up short on presenting a desirable alternative. This province has slim pickings on our menu.

Earl J. Woods said...

Pointing out that fiscal conservatives don't always live up to their own billing doesn't count as slander.

As for providing solutions, a video of only 50 seconds isn't long enough to both critique and provide detailed policy alternatives. However, I agree that Alberta's opposition parties, including the one I support, must do a better job of providing alternatives - and I can tell you that the Alberta Liberals, at least, are working on it. Keep watching.

Finally, thanks for providing a very good laugh with your comment about George Bush's socks! That was genuinely funny.

K-19: The Jeffermaker said...

I wonder why you posted this?

An attack ad seems out of touch in a time when political parties could stand to be a lot more optimistic. Granted, the Feds are using negative ads, but they are fighting over the slim margin of seats that is propping up a minority government. Alberta elected Mr. Stelmach's party almost unanimously.

There are tremendous opportunities to redress the mistakes of the recent past. I feel it's a waste of energy to point fingers at Mr. Stelmach. I wonder if many voters will care for your message.

There's no easy way to put this, other than I don't like the ad very much, and I think whoever is behind it wants to take Alberta in the wrong direction. I don't agree with the Stelmach Conservatives either, but this ad fails to make the Liberals look progressive at all. It doesn't help that Canadian politcians are lumped in with the Americans.

It makes Albertans look like fools for electing Mr. Stelmach, and it makes the rest of the political parties look unappealing because none of them have the power to say "boo" to the man. Only now when his star is fading can any of the other parties muster enough political capital to go after him.

As appalling as the Alberta deficit is, I doubt that dollar signs will win or lose the next election, at least in the media. It's going to be another emotional appeal to the Big C/little c conservative ethos that bewitches Albertan voters every time. Well, that and back-room tax breaks to Big Oil. You can't beat good ol' down home values coupled with cents off at the pump!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the slander was an exaggeration, but I write first, think later. I stand by the statement for its effect. :P

Now you've gone and made me feel even better about my own reservations - explanation below.

I'm absolutely annoyed with people - news reporters and Liberal Party supporters - that are demanding answers from the government regarding program cuts when clearly these cuts take time and careful consideration. We all know they're coming, and we all know they'll be distasteful in any regard.

What annoys me even more is that Stelmach won't state what I've just said. GlobalTV did an interview yesterday that you would love that makes him look even more pedantic. I think his leadership is in for a serious test this fall. I pity his situation, but he definitely has better answers to give, even if it's just
However, your comment that the Liberals can come up with alternatives, just "wait and see"

Your comment about the Liberals coming up with alternatives..."keep watching" made me laugh, specifically for the reason of it echoing my thought about Special Ed above. Sounds like everyone's in the same boat, so let's just get it done and try to be honourable in the process. Boy, would I love to vote for someone who could earn my respect instead of subscribing to political shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

Ugh..forgive the editing error above. Hard to see the whole thing in the little box provided. Preview? What's that? Ha.
Anyways, the

However, your comment that the Liberals can come up with alternatives, just "wait and see"

should be removed.

Earl J. Woods said...

No worries about the editing error; it happens, especially in these tiny little windows. It's also hard to respond when you have to scroll up and down all the time...

Anyway, Anonymous, you're quite right in that politicians have to work hard to earn the respect of the voters, especially these days. People are cynical because we've been let down over and over by the folks we elect to office.

If I really believed that the Tories were actually making cuts with due consideration, I'd have more respect for them. But my honest feeling is that conservative politicians don't value our public health care system, for example, and that they're freezing hiring of nurses, shutting down beds and so on because they'd rather move people toward private solutions. I think it's easy for them to make cuts to the public sector; I have a feeling they enjoy it, because it fits their worldview, at least if they're true-blue conservative types. (I'm sure there are some Red Tories who don't like what's happening.)

K-19, I was sincere when I said solutions are coming. In fact, the Official Opposition has pushed plenty of them in the past - the Alberta Liberal platform in 2008 was the most detailed of any party, chock full of progressive and fiscially responsible policy alternatives. And look what happened on election night.

For better or for worse, attacks get more attention. I wish it were otherwise.

In any event, if folks are still reading in the weeks and months to come, I hope you'll all provide feedback on the more positive messages, too. I'll be linking to them.

Anonymous said...

Much better...some actual material in your last post and I have little to refute. I do know though from the people I know that work in our hospitals that before any budget increase should be made to health care there needs to be much better control of how the budgets they currently have are spent. Giving examples I've heard would give away my sources and I don't want to risk it getting around but there is definitely money to be reallocated internally. No idea on the amounts relative to the needs though.

I'll pay more attention to the platforms in the future to see if they are realistic. However what has always pushed me away is still your illustrious leader's ridiculously tainted comments. Go and read (or reread) his October 2nd post. You sound like you'd agree with all of it, but saying the PC party doesn't care, is full of arrogance, implying incompetence, has lost control, and so on, is just not going to win my respect. It sounds like an extremist newsletter. I will not endorse this kind of blather ever.

While little information of use comes out of Stelmach's mouth, at least he doesn't respond to these taunts in kind.

This is more of an indication of the respect I was mentioning. Platform or no, I want someone intelligent and competent, but most of all...sane. Jack Layton is a great example of someone I can respect even though his ideals aren't in line with my own. Swann to me is more Simon Cowell than Jack Layton. :P

Lost In Jefflation said...

When I said, "I wonder why you are posting this?", I thought that was a valid question.

Is your blog going to be your focus group for Liberal ads? You want us to provide feedback on your attempts. From what I have seen, the responses you are getting are thoughtful and honest, especially compared to other political blogs I have been to.

As for attack ads, I stand by my statement that I don't like this particular one. I can expand on that in detail:

1) I don't understand the timing of this ad. For one thing, it appears that you are kicking at Mr. Stelmach as his career as party leader is on the wane. It's not like the bad economy is breaking news... why didn't you go on the attack much sooner (assuming that a strategy of attack is what you want)?

2) Is Alberta in an election right now? Attack ads only work well if you repeat them over and over again. Usually, the best time to do that is at the very beginning of an election, and at the end. That's when the voters will recall the most about an election. You're going to have to repeat this ad dozens of times before you get any return on your investment.

3) Ed Stelmach appears in only 7 seconds of a 50 second attack ad, and only towards the end. That's only 14% of the broadcast time you had available to you. If I wanted to attack a politician, I would make sure that he or she was the complete focus of the ad. It looks like you are going after Prime Minister Harper as well as Mre. Stelmach.

The Feds have launched a successful series of ads against Michael Ignatieff. The opening image is of Mr. Ignatieff, and the ads wail on him continuously until the last couple of seconds. That's how you put together an attack ad, in my opinion. You focus your viewers directly on the problem, you make your point, and you hammer it home. You set the tone of the commercial before the viewer has a chance to change the channel. Even if you are flipping past it, you know when you have seen a Conservative attack ad. Your piece does not pass that test at all.