Hello, New Jersey! - Macleans.ca

Hello, New Jersey!


Mike Moffatt hops onto the pile-on regarding the incoherence of the Liberal branding strategy:

The Liberals convinced me they had completely lost their minds when the back half of their campaign was based on a song quote from Bruce Springsteen.  That’s Born in the USA Bruce Springsteen.  They might as well had Ignatieff come out to Hulk Hogan’s Real American.

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Hello, New Jersey!

  1. Does anybody really believe trivialities like this had anything to do with the election outcome??

    • Yes, the pundits really do believe this nonsense.

      • Agee. Pundits are part of the entertainment industry – subsections "wishful thinking", and "I learned my liberalism at university".

    • Does any body really believe that we should be taking seriously anything that might be said by someone who repeated over and over again during the recent campaign that nothing would change as far as seat count of the individual parties in the subsequent election ?

      The Liberals have less than half the seats as previously—the NDP have three times as many—the Conservatives have a majority—the Bloc have less than one-tenth as before and the Greens have their first seat.
      I mean some of us may have been wrong about the actual strength of the NDP at the expense of the Bloc in Quebec but there was nobody who so completely missed everything like Emily.

      Wait a minute—Maybe Emily is Frank Graves.

      • Except I didn't say that. I said nothing will change in that we'll still have a Con govt…which we do

        The Opposition switched party places, but other than that it's the same as before.

        • Great point! Other than the differences (the Conservatives have a majority, the NDP is the official opposition and the Bloc was nearly shut out in Quebec), it's exactly the same as before.

          • Yup, pretty much.

            Same thing happened nationally as happened in Ontario with Bob Rae.

            People didn't want to get rid of Peterson, they just wanted to knock him down a bit because he'd called the election early. Unfortunately everybody got the same idea at the same time, and Ont chucked out the Libs and the Cons and we were stuck with an NDP govt for 5 long years. Ont hadn't suddenly turned socialist, it was strategic voting gone badly wrong. Which is why I don't believe in it.

            Before our election last week polls were showing the NDP and Cons in a dead heat….so some voted NDP to throw the Cons out, and some voted Con to keep the NDP out [probably Ontarians…LOL]

            But in the end…as usually happens with strategic voting….we ended with the Cons entrenched, and an Opposition most people aren't happy about.

    • From the blog post:

      " In the end, I am not sure bad marketing mattered all that much; the Liberals have lost 30+ seats in each of the last four elections. I am sure, however, they would have won at least a few more seats if their marketing message was far more coherent."

    • When Ignatieff got booed at a junior hockey game you behaved like Comical Ali.

      Deny, deny, deny, misdirect, misdirect.

      You need to come clean about that or resign yourself to barking into the wind.

      I don’t believe a word you say.

      And ascribe even less weight to your opinions.

  2. When he started saying 'rise up' I wasn't thinking Springsteen, but rather parachute club…

    Rise up to your power…lol

  3. It's an interesting analysis. Part of the problem with being in opposition is that you can only work with what the government gives you. And, if all you have are fake scandals, then I guess you have to run on that. Or maybe don't force a fourth $300 million election in seven years? Duh.

    Regarding Liberal branding strengths, I think two things were in play. First, Liberals probably thought their brand could give Iggy plenty of cover on the nationalism front. Second, that Liberal brand on that front has been eroding. They're no longer seen as the champion of Canadian federalism in Quebec. Indeed, the sponsorship scandal was in large part the result of wrapping the party in the flag, and having it lead to the corruption.

    Regarding the Liberal brand and its fiscal record, again, governments usually don't leave their oppositions with much fiscal room to work with. Once the spending and taxing commitments are made, and there is no surplus, it's very hard to make new promises and pay for them – regardless of what your record in the past was. In fact, that Liberal record involved running big surpluses, which allowed the Tories to come in and spend that money the way they wanted, and leave little else for others. That's what governments usually do politically. Wonder why the Liberals didn't. In some ways, their policies on surpluses and campaign financing while in government led to their own demise. Fascinating.

    • I think perhaps the problem you're having is that you're seeing our government as the game of politics, (which, to be fair, is pretty much all it's been for the past 6-7 years or so) rather than as the executors of governance for all citizens in this country.

      When you look at it in that light, the Liberal actions pre-Harper are fairly understandable. (Especially when you remember that the corruption of adscam was on the fringes of the Liberal party. The governance action from the top was "spend what we need to do keep Canada whole" — and there wasn't near enough oversight applied. It will be interesting to see the auditor general's actual evaluation of EA!P when it comes forward). They built up a surplus because they specifically weren't playing politics, but were governing. Of course, when you look at Martin's last proposed budget, you realize that the governance had disappeared, and he was starting into the politics game; a place we haven't emerged from yet.

      Hopefully the CPC will feel secure enough with their majority to actually try governance rather than politics now.

      • My problem? Politics is an inescapable component of governance. Governments of all stripes, on both sides of the border, engage in this leaving-the-cupboard-dry fiscal strategy.

        You talk about Liberal surpluses being about governance. But they didn't do anything with these surpluses, except leave them to the Conservatives.

        And I think Mulroney is someone who convinced himself that governance trumped politics on certain issues, such as Meech and the GST, and Canadians let him know what they thought about that kind of governance.

        Again, there has to be a balance between governance and politics, or else you'll never get a crack at the former.

        I'm actually surprised at how many political junkies want to downplay the political component of public policy. Unless you can convince others of the merits of your principles, you'll never get a chance to implement any of them.

        • They repaid over $100 billion in debt. I count that as 'doing something' with the surplus.

          • Done with policies, mind you, that were enacted by the Conservatives such as free trade and the GST – both of which the Liberals hollered and screamed against. So, again, you can never take politics out of the equation. The Liberals certainly never have.

          • Well, Dennis, sure. The implementation of GST by the Conservatives was an example of great policy/governance and lousy politics. NAFTA is mixed–it was popular in some areas and less so in others. I'm not sure how much NAFTA had to do with the surplus. NAFTA was good for reducing inefficiency, but the heavy lifting in export growth was driven by the consumption boom in the US and the weak Canadian dollar. I support NAFTA and even more far-ranging trade liberalization, but I think we should be realistic about the scale of its effects. I remember seeing somewhere that Canadian exports to the US are back to where they were pre-NAFTA, coinciding with a weakening of US demand and strengthening of the CAD dollar.

            If the Liberals were purely interested in playing politics, they wouldn't have used that $100 billion for the relatively thankless and unglamourous task of reducing our collective indebtedness. They could have used it to further buy our votes with tax cuts, a national pharmacare plan, etc.

            I think we can all appreciate the benefits of that choice.

          • Not with the $12B surplus they didn't. They frittered that away in a series of small stuff….then foolishly lowered the GST. Now we have a structural deficit….and the biggest one in our history.

  4. A product of twitter facilitated cross pollenation (Potter quotes Moffatt who quotes Potter and Cosh. Cosh quotes Cosh).

    You know when a blog author continuously quotes his work experience (I teach marketing, marketing is my life), then often the discussion/ 20/20 hindsight is also marketing – of a personal note ie self promotion (why these economists love twitter so much).

    Who cares about the nationality of the song's writer? Only economists who favour Canadian content rules. Moffatt is an economist who likes twitteran active supporter/(former?) member, and former EDA President of the GPC.

    Piling on, indeed.


  5. What does Mike Moffat say about the anti-drug and often pro-war Harpo singing peace monger John Lennon's Imagine?

    • That it's delicious irony to repurpose an overly-precious hippie anthem as generic feel-good muzak?

  6. Don't bother. It is obvious your post is just one person's thoughts and all of a sudden it is about something else entirely.

    I thought Springsteen choice was off to – Springsteen is American as apple pie and not sure why Iggy/Libs want assoc with American when Iggy has carpetbagger problem. Couldn't they have picked a Canadian band that has song about rising up against something? There must be dozens.

    I have been thinking about your lithium in water idea – if we are going to add mind altering substances to water I would prefer ecstasy. Makes people happy/loving and it might help us understand better OriginalEmily1 and her mad ravings.

    • It would help Cons greatly if they could disagree with someone without always trying to smear or villify them.

  7. Preston Manning on Cross Canada Checkup yesterday (oh those lefties and Harper haters at the CBC!!!) said he believes it comes from being in power for a long time, that you run out of intellectual capital and stop doing the hard work needed to continually renew your party.

    • Like relying for years on abolishing the gun registry, Senate reform and the classic – low taxes?

      • Well, Mr. Manning described it more as poaching other parties' ideas rather than generating your own and an overdependence on the civil service, etc. Policy-wise, I'm not one to agree with him on much. As far as this explanation goes, I think it resonates somewhat.
        As for the stuff, you list, I would compare the Conservatives' promises regarding the gun registry, Senate reform, tough on crime legislation, etc. to the Libs' promises regarding climate change, national child care, etc: things that can be promised but not delivered for a while without losing the support of those people who are inclined to back you, but things that if you keep promising, your supporters will eventually punish you for not delivering.

        • And I`m not one to agree with you on much craigola but I think you are very wise to listen closely to Mr. Manning.
          Nobody knows you as well as those who study you across the aisle for the years that Manning and Harper have studied the Liberals. I remember Manning describing the Liberal support in Ontario in 1993 as being a mile wide and an inch thick.

          If the only reason people are voting for you is because of habit or because you were the gov`t when they emigrated, or because the other parties are in disarray —soon things will change.

          • You're right, I'm very wise to listen closely to Mr. Manning. With that in mind, what do you think: are the Conservatives?

  8. My favourite part was when the overly-precious hippie's wife made the PM cease and desist.

      • Or "Won't Get Fooled Again," specifically, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

  9. So better music and owning the colour red; that's what the Liberals needed to do to win? What claptrap. Canadians aren't as shallow as the pundits like to believe they are.

    The campaign is only part of the election. The other part is what you do and say and stand for in between elections. The Liberals lost seats to NDP because they collaborated with the Conservatives over and over including on Afghanistan.

    The Liberals lost other votes to Conservatives because they didn't have credibility on the issues they were raising. You can't claim the successes of deficit fighting without also wearing the scandals of the day.

    • From the blog post:

      " In the end, I am not sure bad marketing mattered all that much; the Liberals have lost 30+ seats in each of the last four elections. I am sure, however, they would have won at least a few more seats if their marketing message was far more coherent."

      • Yeah I read that.. And I read it in your reply to someone above. So what was all that malarkey about the colour of the flag and Bruce Springsteen, if you only meant the one endtweet?

  10. Ignatieff’s theme song should have been Neil Young’s “Helpless”