Friday, 18 September 2015

Globe and Mail leaders debate really regurgitated propaganda messages. Where is the election meat?

Still too close to call. We know their stories but how
 does anyone break out?

Globe and Mail economic debate was a disappointment because the moderator allowed the all three leaders to spout their usual campaign stories.

I was hoping that moderator David Walmsley, the Globe’s editor-in-chief would tighten the screws on all the leaders with more acid questioning. That didn’t happen Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau were allowed to stay on their propaganda messages. Walmsley allowed continual regurgitation of their standard messages without checking them for real answers. I expected better of my favourite newspaper.

Walmsley’s misfire was too bad because before the debate started Globe staffers had an excellent 15 minute discussion. They should have been part of the debate and been allowed to engage the leaders to get them off their standard messages. The editor-in-chief was more the managing editor of the paper which was his former job. I think anyone of the Globe’s columnists could have done a better job than the editor-in-chief. My choice would be Geoffrey Stevens as moderator.

Did anyone win any ground? Harper did his steady state message stuff about being a good economic manager. Trudeau managed to get his fairness for the middle class messages out but most of the time he fought with Mulcair instead of getting at Harper. Mulcair revealed a swarmy aspect of his character when he enjoyed his eye rolling zingers too much about his balancing budgets platform. 

There is something about NDP self indulgent rhetoric that has a self-righteous air that is obnoxious especially when it comes from a political chameleon like Mulcair. And when he invokes Tommy Douglas I can only wince that he would dare to compare himself to that important and principled Canadian.

Trudeau’s performance was a bit too hot for television but I suspect that if you heard him on radio or audio alone he would come off well. I watched the debate on CPAC which I get at 420P so Trudeau’s hot argumentative performance was softened by low resolution. Comments by a panel after the debate went from calling him the debate winner to “just not ready” which shows the power of that Conservative destruct commercial. 

I have to say that Harper is steady and a good television performer. He allows the opposition leaders to attack him and he never flinches. He is cool for television even when he is righteously indignant or in a state of denial. In fact he can be effectively dismissive of their attacks and get away with it. However, his steady state story is not really true and is wearing thin. His record is not quite as free from fiscal foibles as he would have us believe. Both opposition leaders made good points about Harper’s economic record.

The bottom line is we got a propaganda debate. It bordered on boring and was very repetitive with each leader’s standard story going without serious challenges. In advertising telling your message over and over is seen as a promotional dictum to register enough times to make a difference. Sadly our political encounters with all three parties is stuck on that level.

Trudeau from a promotional point of view is trying hard to differentiate himself from Mulcair and Harper by running deficits which is a risky strategy. That is risky when two parties create promotional messages that promote balanced budgets. That means Liberal promotion is fighting on two fronts simultaneously. The Liberal plan over the next four to five weeks has to be very special to break through the glut of steady state thinking.

Harper can show a smoke and mirrors surplus. The Liberals will need to show how that surplus is at a cost to programs and hurts people. They need to show that provinces and municipalities and fiscal experts endorse their plans for infrastructure spending. In short we know the plan to run deficits. Now they have to show how Canadians benefit from this plan. That is a lot to do before 19 October. 

No comments:

Post a Comment