19 July 2011

Like Momma always said…Part Deux und Trois

The only funnier thing than a guy up on assault charges claiming he is a wannabe Tory candidate are opposition party politicos who campaign for the incumbents.

In the past couple of weeks, comments coming from both parties have highlighted positive economic news.

Liberal leader Yvonne Jones did it before she headed back to Labrador for a series of meetings. She issued a news release that mentioned how the Labrador economy is booming.

Then  provincial NDP president Dale Kirby tweeted a link to a Globe and Mail story about how well the provincial economy is doing in comparison to the rest of the Atlantic provinces.

Wonderful stuff.

Except that in both cases, Jones and Kirby wound up reinforcing the classic argument for staying the course and keeping the current government in power. Things are going well, say the incumbents. Don’t risk all the good times by changing horse in the middle of the stream of cash and jobs.

Opposition parties need to draw attention to things the incumbent party isn’t talking about. There are plenty of issues. Some of them are ones the incumbents just don’t give a frig about but opposition voters do.  Some are issues the incumbents haven’t figured out are potentially decisive. Others are ones the incumbents will scream blue murder about because they are sore issues.

But talking about how good things are under the current administration?

Not really a message that says vote for me, the leader of the party that didn’t deliver all this good stuff.

It’s good for them to be positive, you say.  Otherwise the opposition parties would be all negative.  No one likes it when you are negative.  More people would listen to the opposition parties if they weren't negative all the time.

Well, for starters if you think that way, then you are – without question  - an ardent supporter of whatever incumbent government we are talking about.  Either that or you make Pollyanna look like a suicide waiting to happen.

Only incumbent politicos and their staunch supporters dislike it when others talk about problems.  Face it:  problems exist all the time.  They may not be big problems but they do exist.  It’s natural for people to talk about them if for no other reason than they would like the incumbents to fix them.

But incumbents hate people talking about problems.  The longer the incumbents are in office the more they dislike problems.  The longer the incumbents are in office, you see, the more likely it is that they caused the problems.

Incumbents also know that problems energise the opposition supporters.  After all, talking about the problems at the time are what helped get the incumbents elected in the first place. 

It seems like ancient history these days, but those who can recall the period between 2001 and 2003 will remember Danny Williams talked relentlessly about problems.  He was angry.  He stayed angry even after the 2003 general election. In fact, Danny stayed angry right up to his last days in office.

Tories  - and Danny lovers - don’t see it that way, of course. They think he spoke the truth.  But that’s what one would expect Tories to say, just as Liberals would have said the same sorts of things the last time Liberals were in power.

And when the incumbents hissed at Danny that he was too negative, he just ignored them and carried on about his business.  Danny carried on because he knew what opposition politicians are supposed to do if they ever want to get back into a government office again.

- srbp -