Political genius defined, more or less - Macleans.ca

Political genius defined, more or less


A profound or important, or possibly just amusing sentence, from a bulletin announcing the addition of Peter Donolo to Michael Ignatieff’s office.

Among other things, Donolo helped persuade Chrétien, then 59, to pose in a blue denim shirt for the 1993 Liberal campaign poster, which Chrétien won in a landslide.

Mr. Ignatieff wore a blue button-up shirt in his most recent television ads, so he is perhaps already halfway there.


Political genius defined, more or less

  1. "Among other things, Donolo helped persuade Chrétien, then 59, to pose in a blue denim shirt for the 1993 Liberal campaign poster, which Chrétien won in a landslide."

    That's pretty thin gruel if that is best example of what Donolo can do for Lib party. Hopefully more informative articles tomorrow.

    Libs really don't need to focus even more on image over policy than they already are.

    • That's some fine communicatin' there, fellas. Reminds me of:

      "There's nothing wrong with the photos on the website"
      "We did not remove any photos from the website"

  2. That's pretty rich when you consider how image conscious our timmies swilling, sweater loving, piano man of a PM has become.

    • Completely different set of challenges and circumstances.

      Our PM is in gov't. That means policy is automaticly on display all the time. He has a record. He's doing stuff with every new legislative announcement.

      Thus he can afford to spend time worrying about branding.

      Ignatieff jumped the gun. You don't get elected on style alone. You need the substance. He shouldn't be worrying about whether or not people like him, he should be worrying about whether or not people embrace his vision of Canada.

      • "Thus he can afford to spend time worrying about branding."

        I doubt that. Achieving a majority is a top goal, so therefore branding is as well.
        At the least, he's got a bunch of people working on that for him.

        "Ignatieff jumped the gun. You don't get elected on style alone. You need the substance. He shouldn't be worrying about whether or not people like him, he should be worrying about whether or not people embrace his vision of Canada."

        Sadly, I think you give too much credit to Canadian voters.
        He really has no choice but to worry about likability, especially after attack ads were launched at him that aimed to melt down his likability. He's in a tough position, because like or not, Harper really hasn't screwed up all that badly (I would not say he has done too well either), as indicated by the polls. I don't think he's revealed all that much of his vision of Canada, but we all know that this all part of the game.

        • Also, much as we might deplore it, in the visual age image matters. Manning couldn't reach the top rung partly because he looked and sounded a little geeky. Day – tried to be charismatic but wound up looking phoney. Chretien masterfuly put together the tough little guy image. And then there was Trudeau's infamous gunslinger pose. Image is important, but it has to be or appear to be authentic/plausible. We live in a visual age and all to often image wins out over substance – now if you can pull both off, you got it made. Ignatieff has yet to decide on his. Unfortunately his image so far has looked vascillating, notwithstanding Harper's character assasination adds.

          • His image has _looked_ vacillating, huh?

            Let's see… he was for invading Iraq, then he apologized for it when it became inconvenient.

            He wasn't losing sleep over the Israel-Lebanon thing, then said (in French) that it was a war crime.

            He was for — pitched! — the carbon tax, then gave speeches lauding the tar sands, and now… where is he? (I'm genuinely not sure.)

            He was against the coalition (we were told), signed a document for it, declared "the coalition if necessary, but not necessarily the coalition", voted for the government, put it on probation, named conditions, went back on them, declared "Stephen Harper's time is up", and now is not seeking an election.

            He had a riding fight — sided with his Quebec lieutenant, then pitched a compromise, then capitulated.

            Is the Quebec nation thing still a go?

            But no, he isn't indecisive. He just hasn't decided on an image yet…


            Only defense possible to this is: well, look at Stephen Harper's own policy backflips…

          • It can be argued that Iggy has been indecisive on some things, but is that a bad thing?
            For a politician, yes, because it makes you weak and susceptible for all sorts of character attacks.
            As a human being – no, or at least it shouldn't. Iraq or Afgan… who hasn't had second thoughts?

            Carbon tax – this was the policy of his predecessor, and instead of stabbing, he fell in line. I'm sure Harper has plenty of party members who have not completely agreed with everything he has done, but they fall in line because this is how the system works.

            Anyways – I don't want to be making excuses for him.

            Just keep in mind that this is what politicians do. They flip-flop.

            Need I remind you how Harper promised there would be no recession, and how out of principle he was a fiscal conservative against big deficit spending? Need I remind how far into the election we were before Harper revealed his actual platform?

            Iggy's in a tough spot, and Harper is playing him well. Neither side is really declaring anything on principle – it's all about what will give them the advantage….

          • No, the carbon tax was Ignatieff's idea, which Dion adopted after he won.

            But as I said, the only defense here is — "well, look at Harper!" It's not a bad one, but the reason the image of a vacillator has stuck is that, well, that's what Ignatieff has been.

          • Carbon tax is and always was a good idea. Much better than the proposed baroque system of tradable carbon credits. It would be more transparent and predictable than a market system, harder to grant exceptions for powerful lobbies, etc. etc. And as a bonus, we all get personal and corporate income tax cuts.

            There are two reasons it was campaigned against in the last election:
            -bad for the oil industry (not if offset by royalty reductions)
            -it wasn’t their idea

          • If you wanted to be a cynic you could argue that he oil lobby already have their man in Ottawa, maybe even a backup if he falters.
            I give Campbell a lot of credit for pushing the carbon tax against the run of his parties philosophy and against popular support. I don't like the man or his party, but it was/is a principled stand. Campbell is the wave of the future for conservative greenies, not Harper, who's yesterday's man – at least on this issue.

          • It's better than cap and trade, absolutely.

            Why not go with it?

            1. Realistically, Canada will do what the Americans do — too much economic integration.
            2. There _is_ a third option. It's one the opposition accuses the Tories of, from time to time, and it's one that the Tory partisans probably hope their man's real position is: do nothing. No caps, no taxes.

          • Tiger – vascillating huh?
            You don't like the word. It does imply indecisive…yes? My point was your point yes?

          • Almost.

            You said it's his image — I say it's his reality.

          • "in the visual age image matters"

            Remember the makeover Manning went through? Hard to take the geek out of the geek!
            But things are way harder now! The internet age has changed everything.
            Now it's not just professional journalists sounding in, but anyone and everyone using all the various communication tools that are out there. You have to wonder how PET would done under the scrutiny of the internet, where it is ever so easy to plant the seeds of doubt. Look how many people were doubting the authenticity of the blood of that protester who was interviewed.

            In the age of spin, anyone can be made to look a fool, whether they deserve it, or not….

          • Too true. One wonders if objective truth [if it ever existed] is soon to be a thing of the past. Obama made out ; Trudeau would have made out. We still value intelligence and authenticity…i hope. No doubt it is much tougher today.

      • 'spend some time worrying and branding – that's all Harper does for God's sake.

    • Proof is in pudding, or in this case polls. Cons are happy with whatever they are doing but Libs are not.

      All I am saying is that Libs don't need to be even more substance free than they already are. Do you agree or do you think pollster is just who Libs need to be in charge now?

      • I really don't know much about Donolo. I'd imagine he's more than just a pollster. If he's a competent CoS it'll help an inexperienced Ignatieff find his feet.
        As to con polls. Well we all know how quickly they can change. I don't think the public's particularly concerned about how substance driven Ignatieff is. But they clearly have decided who to blame on this particular occasion for not making parliament work. Ignatieff''s error – he shouldn't make it again if he knows what's good for him. His job as opposition leader is to hold the govt's feet to the fire and convince the public he's a credible alternative. He has to find the balance between the two. So far, he's looked too hungry for power – you gotta earn it.

        • I do have to wonder – how much of his blunders have been his own, and how many can be attributed to his advisers? I've always had the feeling that much of the blunders have been the result of his listening to other people's advice. Absolutely nothing to substanseate this – just a feeling! Kinda like spidey-senses….

  3. So…

    I guess my main question is – how did things end off back in the 90's?
    How long was he around for with Chretien, and how did he leave??

    • in a blue shirt, no doubt.

  4. He left in 1999. Just before things started falling from the sky.

  5. Any ideas as to why?

  6. small, tiny.

  7. From a liberal perspective i hope the new old guy works out. Ignatieff has shown himself to be woefully inexperienced. He needs an experienced, consistent, competent chief of staff ; but hopefully one who knows how to play to Ignatieff's strengths [ yes he has some ]
    However, if all Donolo tries to do is turn Iggy into JC i predict failure.

    • Donolo's profession is segmenting voters and listening to them. If he helps the Libs develop a strategy then he has done his job. And a strategists job is to match capabilities with the political environment. I doubt very much the answer is turn Iggy nto JC, mostly because he isnt JC, it wouldnt work and someone liek Donolo would know that.

      The question is does MI know that? But any CoS relies on their leader to listen to them and enforce the CoS authority. We will see if this happens

  8. So does this mean Iggy is just da little guy from Ha'vahd!

    • Whatch out or he might choke…er slap you. Oops…am i guilty of stereotyping?

      • Best thing he could do, image-wise, is get POed and belt someone.

        • He could try, but I'm betting Tony Clement throws himself in front of the punch.

          • And that's bad for Ignatieff how?

          • Who said it's a bad outcome? Everybody wins!

  9. Yeesh…watch

  10. Photos if necessary but not necessarily photos.

  11. Iggy to Ian Davey sometime last night….

    "Ian, your time is up."

    • Unfortunately for Davey, it sounds like that conversation took place well after news leaked to CBC and CTV.

  12. donolo is an impostor, he will ruin ignatieff.