Old Joe Kennedy reportedly told his son, the president, "It's not who you are that matters. It's who people think you are." Old Joe was a master of self promotion. It made him rich and it opened the doors to the corridors of power. The prime minister has taken Old Joe's advice to heart. Michael Harris writes:
Stephen Harper has made an amendment to the old saying that bullshit baffles brains: marketing trumps all.
Playing off that central tenet of Harper politics, perception as reality, there is a rift out there these days suggesting how formidable the Conservatives will be in the next election. Incumbency tends to attract those kind of flies. The belief seems to be that Team Harper can serve up one more baloney sandwich to the electorate and win government again.
However, there are a few caveats:
It must be a fact-free exercise. Use government stats more dubious than Donald Trump’s comb-over, avoid reporters at all costs, and eschew any living form of debate. Most important of all, lots of advertising featuring A pluses for the government and dunce caps for the opposition.
It's worked for three elections. Why not keep the string rolling? Every attempt is being made to accomplish that feat:
I’m not drooling, despite the 7-per-cent unemployment rate, the nauseating comparisons to how well we are doing relative to the G-7, and GDP numbers that might give woodies to Corporate Kahunas but leave the rest of us unexcited. After all, what comfort does an unemployment rate give you without the details of what sorts of jobs people are getting? You never will get those details. Those are only for important people. And what do important people do with their valuables? Hide them.
How many of the government’s job creation numbers can be traced back to the offshore workers program — that hot potato currently scalding Jason Kenney’s hands? Besides, who can trust Stats Can anymore now that it has been politicized like every other branch of the federal government?
But, Harris writes, the public is beginning to see through the spin. The Ontario election was only the latest indication that people aren't buying Harper Inc. anymore. Joe Kennedy eventually became a pariah.
I wonder if Stephen has read that part of the story.