You've seen it. You're at a party and some strange dude loudly declares he has a great joke to share with the room. Everyone quiets down to listen as he delivers it...and when he gets to the punchline...it falls completely flat. Dude laughs and says "Get It?", while everyone cringes, groans and moves away.
Those who know the dude needle him a bit for being such a goof. Those who don't know him, say to each other "What a Loser" and try to avoid associating with him for the rest of the evening.
The party, in this little parable, is the 2015 Federal Election. The partiers are the national electorate. And the strange dude...the Conservatives and their utterly asinine anti-Trudeau ads.
If you haven't seen the "Job Interview" ad, it has these 3 “actors” (I use the term loosely) sitting around discussing whether they should hire Justin Trudeau as their Prime Minister. They go around the table stating how he apparently supports ISIS, has no experience and wants to legalize marijuana, among other sins. And then the punchline is some 60-something man looking at Justin's picture stating "Nice hair though" followed by the tag line "Justin Trudeau; he's just not ready."
It's bad...real bad. Cringe worthy on so many levels. I can just see the ad's creators (likely five 20-something man-boys in short pants, laughing hysterically at their sheer brilliance).
Now let me be clear, I'm voting Conservative (I'm sure everyone is
surprised). I'm like the strange dude's friend at the party who cringes at the
joke, but knows that strange dude is still a good guy, even if he is a bit of a
|The "Job Interview" Ad|
Look, nothing policy-related in the ad is incorrect (although the jab regarding ISIS is in bad taste). The reasons it is such a poor campaign ad are thus: it plays into the Harper Conservative stereotype of being a mean and unlikeable group run by childish political science majors in tight pants; it creates compassion and even a sort of defensiveness for Justin Trudeau; and most damning, it undercuts what should be a very strong Conservative record and message on the economy and international relations.
But instead of seizing the opportunity to talk about having the strongest finances in the world, we're talking about Justin Trudeau's friggin’ hair!
There is, of course, a time to rip into the policies of Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair - and it’s a target rich environment to be sure. But there are far more effective ways to use campaign commercials to point out those policy flaws without looking like goofy teenagers intent on damaging the Conservative brand long term. Not to mention the opportunities provided by debates, effective campaign surrogates, and plain ol' fashioned earned and social media, to take the high road and demonstrate why Harper is by far the best choice for Prime Minister of the available choices.
Conservatives are supposed to be the adults in the conversation remember? Perhaps they should start acting like it.
Rob Anderson is an Airdrie lawyer with Warnock Rathgeber & Company and Airdrie’s former MLA.
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