Tuesday, 7 May 2013
"Mr. Angry" becomes "Mr. Bland"
|A february 5-6, 2013 Abascus poll showed that|
43% of Canadians had a "neutral or unsure"
view of Tom Mulcair, compared to 21%
for PM Stephen Harper.
Image Source: Wikipedia
The bad news is that you're consider blander than whole wheat bread.
When Mulcair was running for Federal NDP leader and during his early days in the House of Commons the few people paying attention, the Ottawa media, spilled much ink (digital or otherwise) about his "anger". "
Thomas Mulcair is Mr. Angry" typed Maclean's Aaron Wherry. Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Free Press's Frances Russell wrote this:
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic." Those were the late NDP leader Jack Layton's last words to Canadians before his death on Aug. 22, 2011. They galvanized his party, moved many Canadians to tears and earned him a lasting place in Canada's political pantheon.Meanwhile, a Liberal blogger who asserted that it was time for an "angry Jack [Layton]" after the 2011 Federal elections noted the perception of Mulcair as having a "volcanic temper", further discussing the need for the NDP to be offer more than an "anti-Harper". Despite some attention to a potential verbal match between CON MP Peter Van Loan and Mulcair, the "angry Mulcair" talking point has fell out of use with the Ottawa press gallery.
But in Toronto on Saturday, facing the most ruthless and polarizing government in Canadian history, Canada's Official opposition turned the page on turning the other cheek.
With former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister Thomas Mulcair as their new leader, they're going back to Parliament this week with their elbows up -- and sharpened. If Stephen Harper's Conservatives want nasty, they'll get nasty.
It may not be pretty. It may turn even more Canadians off politics, at least in the short term. But it will level the playing field. Finally, Canadians will have an Official opposition that won't, in the words of political columnist Susan Riley, be mere "puppy chow for Harper's front-bench attack dogs... Like it or not, we get two angry men -- one icy and vindictive, the other hot-headed and ungiving -- facing off across the Commons aisle."
("NDP turns page on turning other cheek". Francis Russell (Mar. 26, 2012) Winnipeg Free Press)
Since then Mulcair has voiced views on energy & environmental policy and travelled to Washington. He's also, in the words of Colin Horgan,"delivered specific policy-based speeches across the country to very particular kinds of crowds – ones that probably would usually look upon the NDP as a bit of a joke".
But aside from one French and one English leader defining ad, Mulcair hasn't done a good job at presenting himself to the greater public. He's put all his eggs into the basket of appeasing the Very Serious People of Canada's political-media elite rather than focusing on most Canadians.
|Tom Mulcair has become "Mr. Bland".|
Image Source: Monash University
But, this policy and elite-centric focus in Mulcair's campaigning have resulted in a dull at best and ill-defined at worst public image. Even the media elite might be troubled by this, as well entrenched political stereotypes are a lot easier to write about than mushy, undifferentiated characters.
This is all made worse by the highly charismatic Justin Trudeau's recent election as Liberal Party leader. While Justin may be enjoying a considerable leadership race bump, there's still a great risk of Trudeau knocking out any chance of a Dipper government. This is especially the case given Trudeau's fundraising prowess.
Tom Mulcair has dug himself a grave by embracing the bland, Ottawa-elite-centric method of messaging. The media elite left him in a heartbeat to cover the "flashy" campaign of Trudeau. Dippers can only hope that he digs himself out've that pit.
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