14 September 2011

The Clinton Paradigm #nlpoli

Premier Kathy Dunderdale scrummed with reporters on Tuesday and right off the bat, CBC’s Chris O’Neill-Yates went at the Matthews fiasco.

Take a look at the entire scrum.  It is worth the time and effort.

For starters notice that reporters don’t give a frig about the feud. that’s purely crap for Tories.

Reporters are on the core issue:  what Dunderdale said last spring and what actually happened are two different things. They get on it and they don’t let go.

Note how quickly Dunderdale’s smile goes and then reappears in a fairly obviously forced way.

When asked about Williams role in the effort to get Matthews on the offshore board, Dunderdale claims Williams didn’t have any.  She tries to pretend he was nothing more than a supplicant like all the others, tugging his forelock and begging the indulgence of the powerful.  Would she please consider his friend for a favour or some such.

Her story is unbelievable.  There’s no other way to say it. 

Dunderdale is trying to deny Williams’ claims in order to assert her own authority.  She doesn’t want to come off like John Turner.

So instead, she tries to take credit for the pork-barrelling herself and to dismiss Williams like he was just another schmuck.

Dunderdale goes on way, way  way too long in her answers.  That’s another sign, by the by,  that what she is saying is likely at odds with the full story.  Dunderdale seems to be trying very hard – too hard – to convince people. 

Simple, straight, factual answers work best. 

Q: Was Williams involved?

A:  He made a recommendation.

That kinda thing

The fact Dunderdale can’t say it that succinctly is what looks to the reporters like blood in the water.

O’Neill-Yates shows her experience by not taking the bullshit – interspersed with fake smiles – and leave it there.  Instead she goes back at Dunderdale, referring to a specific occasion when Dunderdale was asked several months ago about Williams’ role and Dunderdale said he’d had none.

Everything in the public domain since Monday makes false Dunderdale’s earlier claim that Williams had no role. Williams did have a role.  He made a recommendation, as we now know.

When asked last spring, as Chris reminds her, Dunderdale said he had no role.

That isn’t true.

When she tries to downplay Williams role or claim he had no role, Dunderdale is using the Clinton Paradigm. That’s where Bill Clinton started to debate what the definition of “sex” was.  To most people, making a recommendation was having a role.  by denying the simple, Dunderdale looks deceptive.  She may not be deceiving people.  The problem is she looks like she is.

At that point, O’Neill-Yates reminded Dunderdale of the core problem the Premier now has:  your credibility is garbage as a result of your own actions. The most recent revelations reinforce the earlier experience with this story:  Dunderdale and her natural resources minister Shawn Skinner did not come clean then and they really haven’t come clean now.

Dunderdale even tries to claim that what she is saying now is the same as she has always said.  And at 3:12, Chris immediately points out that Dunderdale’s comments are the same except for the fact that now Dunderdale acknowledges a conversation with Williams she never revealed before.

Dunderdale’s discomfort with the questioning is easy to see:  her head bobs repeatedly and she shrugs and gestures emphatically.  She carries on for a total of 13 minutes, repeating the same thing over and over:  it was her choice, Williams had no role – even though he did.  The more she sticks to what is at best a highly technical interpretation of “role” and insists she has always been consistent and clear when she hasn’t, the less convincing Dunderdale is.

Funny thing, that.

This is not the first time in her political career Dunderdale has been caught flatly saying something that wasn’t true and then denying it. 

In December 2006,  Dunderdale got into a pickle when a patronage appointee violated the Public Tender Act at the Bull Arm construction site. Dunderdale said one thing at one point and something dramatically different shortly after.  To make matters worse., Dunderdale misrepresented what she’d previously disclosed and insisted she hadn’t.

 Old habits die very hard, it seems.


- srbp -