Saturday, May 12, 2007

Advice from Alberta

For those who missed it, Don Martin offered up some advice to Stephane Dion in a column earlier this week. Truth be told, his pointers were mostly spot on. Among the highlights:

- Smile occasionally.

- Get better at pretending you actually enjoy meeting people. Mr. Harper learned to fake it, so you can too. They have consultants who can help.

- Keep on avoiding a script during Question Period.

- Stop giving deputy leader Michael Ignatieff the best questions. You pick first.

- Find and stake your claim on any defining issue except the environment to freshen up the leadership image.

- Never EVER go to Kelekis in Winnipeg and eat one of the restaurant's world-famous hot dogs using a KNIFE and a FORK like you did last month.

- Get a cat to play with your dog called Kyoto and name it Charisma.

- Reach back to the highly successful Jean Chretien era for staff recruitment. They were, after all, the architects of three consecutive majorities. Instead your office is dominated by Paul Martin leftovers, those big brains who delivered a single minority win and thought up the constitutional amendment on the notwithstanding clause.

- Being decent, cerebral and cautious, you should hire staff who are ruthless, fearless and take no prisoner partisan. See Chretien aides above.

- Take Justin Trudeau on the road to boost the heart-throb factor, but skip over Alberta because his daddy's name is still an obscenity there. Let Trudeau be seen. Letting junior be heard before he's received a history lesson or two has proven to be risky.

- Consider doing what the political textbooks call a "Preston" after former Reform leader Manning or a "Peterson" after former Ontario premier David. We're talking the full meal deal - glasses gone, hair style changed, upgraded suits and perhaps a voice coach to amp up those low-projection chords a bit

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12 Comments:

  • Dion ate a hotdog with a fork and knife?

    In front of the media?

    Man, the Liberals are screwed.

    By Blogger Joe, at 1:13 PM  

  • "- Stop giving deputy leader Michael Ignatieff the best questions. You pick first."

    This is kind of tangential but underscores a point about the Canadian Media I'd be curious to get comments on.

    They always seem to mention things that the regular news doesn't cover, and therefore come off as being incredibly clubby.

    Here's this point from Don Martin about Ignatieff getting the best questions. Besides being a columnist and ostensibly talking to lots of people who watch question period, how does he know Ignatieff gets the best questions? I'm living in the U.S. now and not following that closely. But I have not read or seen any news pieces that would allow me to know that.

    An internal battle and how these very recent rivals turned friends are interacting would be news in the U.S.

    Instead, it seems we have to wait for a columnist to make a passing comment like this and read between the lines as to what's happening inside the Liberal Party.

    By Blogger Tim, at 1:33 PM  

  • Surround himself with ruthless partisans? Well, he does count Cherniak as a fan. But that one hardly ever goes a week without embarassing the Liberal Party himself.

    Dion's been in hiding for most of this spring, even refusing to make himself available to media the day of Baird's big announcment. (He was "in transit", his people said. I think Mike Duffy had it right that the timing of the announcement took Dion by surprise.)

    Dion clearly wants to groom Iggy as the next Liberal Leader, just as Chretien wanted to groom Manley.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 4:11 PM  

  • Well said.

    That hot dog thing was just painful, he may as well have put on a John Kerry mask or something.

    Interesting advice.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:14 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:10 PM  

  • Pretty useless advice.

    There's no doubt that Dion is personality-challenged. I’ve said as much for many months. The solution is not for Dion to pretend to be something that he is not.

    harper is an example of what happens when a mask slips. Harper’s honesty is now in doubt. Compare him with Ronald Reagan. You could agree/disagree with him, but you knew where he stood on issues. You could vote against him today, but still respect the man.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 10:15 PM  

  • Yeah, on the personality/charisma question, I disagree. People say you can't be arrogant, you have to be friendly, charismatic, etc., etc.

    I don't buy it. It may be easier to win if you are those things. But that doesn't make you the best candidate. And when you're competing against Harper, you only need to appear charismatic by comparison.

    No, my advice would be capitalize on your strengths: show people that you know exactly what you think, you know why, and you're passionate about it. People love passion, and Dion's got it. He just needs to show it.

    On the question of giving Iggy the better questions, that harkens to the big Diebel article in the Star today. I've seen the two of them in Question Period a few times, and you can tell Iggy is better at it.

    But he isn't asking the better questions. He's asking the questions better.

    Dion's smarter than to hamstring one of his caucus strengths. He also knows that the 45% or so of the party that wanted Iggy as the leader haven't had a general election to help them forget the leadership race yet.

    As for getting ruthless Chretienites, I agree on ruthless. I disagree on Chretienites, for a simple reason: was it really the Chretienites, or was it Chretien?

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 12:29 AM  

  • Well everyone can benefit from a sort of Miss Manners of the political scene and the advice such a source may come up with. But surely the big thing is having a useful idea of where to take the country and a readiness to run big risks to get there. It turns out Harper has no policy at all that reaches beyond the exigencies of the village, and not even the guts to move one inch anyhow. Why does not the Liberal party crash the media gates mounting an attack on this unbelievable act of political cowardice: giving the plantet killers of Alberta a pass on two of the Greenhouse Gases. Each of them is considered to effect a muliple of units of CO2, one times 21 and one, believe it or not, times 310. Does'nt this show a complete failure to do a climate change policy of any substance, beyond doing a little Maypole dance around the topice of lightbulbs.
    I do't think it matters about the Miss Manners stuff, if Dion and co get up and get going.

    By Blogger gary_mh, at 8:08 PM  

  • That hotdog incident will forever be the barrier between Dion and the common man - and basically every Canadian out there.

    Ouch. Painful.

    The Kelekis incident is only known to a few people right now, but once more and more voters hear about that...well, boy, that's a tough orange to unpeel.

    I thought Dion trying to lose the "Starbucks" label to Harper's "Tim Horton's" label would be tough. It seems that Dion has stepped up a rung or two and is fully into "Beluga and Osetra" territory.

    By Blogger alan, at 1:59 PM  

  • What then, unless Dion imitates a Calgary knuckle dragger, picking his teeth while reading posts to SDA he cannot possibly be a leading political figure in Alberta? The poster may be that dumb but I do not believe people in Alberta are. There is far too much pandering to dorks in politics, and it gives them the idea they know or understand that which they do not. In the old days we had people saying "the authorities have this in hand" and that sort of forelock tugging was pretty offensive as well. But this style of talk dirty and show no manners or I hate you stuff is even worse. Nobody can sell civilisation by imitating the inhabitants of the zoo.

    By Blogger gary_mh, at 4:40 PM  

  • Open invitation to either Calgary Grit and/or Don Martin:

    There are over 60 people as paid staffers at OLO. Name the "Martin People" in the OLO they should rid themselves of.

    By Blogger Mark, at 8:57 PM  

  • The guy is totally just, and there is no skepticism.

    By Anonymous best shop for your, at 4:15 AM  

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