Liberal green ad and the election year of the regular guy

Posted on: September 14, 2008

I’ve seen a lot of Conservative ads on television, beginning two weeks before Prime Minister Steven Harper asked Governor-General Michaëlle Jean to dissolve parliament. However, I can’t remember one single Liberal ad since the campaign began on September 7. I had to turn to You Tube to find one.

I hope the ad was not supposed to be endearing, because it’s not. It does look like it is supposed to be a wake-up call. Nothing wrong with a wake-up call, but where is the motivation to vote for these people?

The message here is not a statement of concern. That’s the problem.

Political messages manage, if successful, to fall in line with concerns of the viewing public. The clapping hands (I really hate to use this as a comparison, but it came immediately to mind when I heard it) sound like storm troopers marching. I was puzzled at first, then a bit reassured when I saw Stephane Dion (beside him Bob Rae and Michael Ignatief, and in a later shot, Ken Dryden) joining in on the Russian clap-pause-clap-pause-clap theme.

Yes, yes, I’m sure everyone cares about the whole God-damned global warming thing.

But this ad is even more irritating than Rich Mercer and his supremely smug presentation in those “one ton challenge” ads he was paid handsomely for.

I get it. Global warming is a problem. Species are threatened, the earth is warming, we’re oil addicted, and we could eventually turn this planet into a Venus look-alike. Yeah, I get it, but I still have to drive to work, keep warm in winter and I still want to fly in a jet once a year to somewhere else. All that costs money. (A ton of money.) Taxing my doing it is not a welcome thought. Sound harsh? I know I am spewing carbon. Saying Stephane Dion and his M.P. friends each heat a bigger house than I do is a poor answer but it’s still there as a thought.

I may be becoming immune to listening to crisis warnings. In my life I’ve been informed we could blow ourselves up with a button push, turn Earth into a toxic desert, turn the oceans into giant dead zones, kill a species a day, and create planet-eating black holes with the Hadron Collider. I’m crisis-proof. I don’t need more doom messages. I need ear muffs so I don’t have to listen to more doom messages.

The Green Shift plan of the LIberals hasn’t been explained well. Tell me that I’ll play less in income taxes and I’ll be taxed on carbon outputs instead, and maybe it’s a sell. Maybe. But don’t clap your bleeping hands about it.

The Libs should have sold the strong points of their Green Shift plan. Lower income taxes.

By contrast we have Steven Harper in a sweater vest who hasn’t shown much sympathy at all for global warming, but he sounds like a regular guy. And you know, that’s the whole key right there. It’s like the pilot of a plane in turbulence. You know he wants to land the thing safely just as much as you do. You’re in it together. He understands you want someone in control who knows the regular guy fears and can fly the plane. Here is the Steven Harper sweater ad:

It starts off patriotic. The flag waving. Then the ad makes patriotism equal to love of family with three words superimposed on the heart-warming scene of that slow-waving Canadian flag: family is everything. There is not one word of policy or politics in the whole thing. The whole message is one ordinary people understand. Love of country and love of family. Full stop. Steven Harper as a regular guy.

The regular guy theme may be a chief reason in the United States Sarah Palin raises such excitement. Though obviously not a guy, she is “one of them” in being a self-proclaimed hockey mom and former small-town mayor who says she has a record of kicking crony ass. She lives in an ordinary house, drives an ordinary car, has ordinary kids, has a husband with an ordinary job.

Staying with the U.S. election for a moment, one right-wing columnist’s blogsite, Michelle Malkin, has had featured a small bumper-sticker-like cartoon of Barak Obama with one four letter word, SNOB. I believe the charge is damning this year, in either Canada or the U.S. This is the year of regular folks. This is the year of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Experts can’t be trusted. There have been Enrons and Bear Sterns enough. Ordinary folks, people we understand, have to be in charge.

The sweater-wearing Harper talking about his family is reassuring and definitely not the image a snob. (Actually Harper has come across a supreme snob which is why the whole flag-sweater-family thing smells so much of gimmick even though it works.) Stephane Dion performing a Russian hand clap among shots of foxes and snails and polar bears along with a glance at the ever-snobbish face of Ignatief spells SNOB with capital letters.

In the U.S. the mantra is “change”. In Canada, the mantra is “trust”. That sweater vest of Steven Harper is meant to make the man look cozy (or at the very least warm a cold heart). Cozy equals trust. It means come on over for coffee. It’s okay. You’re welcome. Really. Clapping hands loudly means lets get this damn game started already, or, wake up, you big stupid cow and get off my lawn.

What in the name of our warming earth possessed the Liberals to think this Russian hand clap ad would either raise enthusiasm or get a message of trust across?

Who knows? Maybe it didn’t run. I haven’t seen it on tv. Maybe the ad is only a reject from a ad company who only suggested it. If they suggested it seriously, they should be fired. Harper’s sweater may be the most obvious gimmick since the prize in Cracker Jacks, but it worked then and it’s working now.


1 Response to "Liberal green ad and the election year of the regular guy"

Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.NadiaBoulangerNadia Boulanger

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