Thursday, July 05, 2007

Too late to make McGuinty appealing

(And by the way, Oak Ridges is two words, dumb dumbs)

I see that the McGuinty Fiberals have launched a website aimed at making Premier Pinocchio more likeable, www.Dalton.ca.

Their first mistake, of course, is drawing any attention whatsoever to the persona of the increasingly Christopher Walkenesque McGuinty. As a friend of mine has often observed, you rarely see McGuinty in the media. No doubt this has been by design.

But, as the Fiberals have by now realized, there’s no hiding your leader during an election. No doubt compounding their stress is the problem that Ontario PC leader John Tory apparently has very high name recognition and positives. As Robert Fisher is wont to say: more bad news for Dalton McGuinty.

So, what to do? Hello, makeover!! But what can you do with 6’4” of shoulder-challenged Wonder Bread? Well, check out the website and judge for yourself. But here’s my take.

There are videos under the tab “Dalton Unplugged.” Wow, unplugged. Now there’s an up-to-the-minute concept. Now, when did that (American, natch) MTV Unplugged thing start? Oh yeah: 1989.

Under "Black and White" McGuinty tries to spin his way around his broken promises, such as the 6,600 homes he promised to stop on the Oak Ridges Moraine and didn't. Except the Fiberals spell it “Oakridges.” (“Yeah, that place where we said we were going to stop the developers, what’s it called?” “Ask Sorbara, dude – he knows all the developers.”)

Another video takes an oblique shot at John Tory and Howard Hampton, by way of the contrived question “Do you [McGuinty], John [Tory] and Howard [Hampton] ever grab a beer together after question period?” McGuinty says no, implying that Tory and Hampton fail the cliched leader-beer test. He neglects to mention, however, that he does not drink, so the question is dishonest to begin with. Personally, I think McGuinty would be afraid to be in a bar with Hampton. Howie looks like he might accidentally break McGuinty’s arm after a night of drinking.

Under “Dalton + Terri Unplugged” McGuinty and his wife relate how they first met. It was supposedly near the “Y” gym they were obliged to use when they were high school students. Unfortunately, this is at odds with a previous tale they have related of their first meeting, which had something to do with one of them borrowing a quarter from the other in the lunchroom. (I am trying to run down the article.)

What can you say about a man who can’t even keep the story about how he met his wife straight? It reminds me of the John Edwards/John Kerry anecdote from Bob Shrum’s book that’s been making the rounds, wherein Edwards tells Kerry about how he climbed on top of his son’s dead body at the funeral home, stressing that he had never told anyone this before. Only he had. To Kerry. Two years before.

Anyhow, moving on. The site includes a PDF of something the Fiberals call “The Record,” a listing of their purported achievements. Unfortunately, they choose to lead with their chin. The first page bears a large graph showing that they have fallen short of their class size target by 35%, despite massive increases in education spending.

And get a load of this whopper on page 8: “We prevented Sharia Law from threatening the rights of Ontario women. We passed legislation to make sure one law applies to all Ontarians.” Actually, it was the McGuinty government that came thisclose to subjecting Ontario’s Muslim women to Sharia justice in the first place. His government commissioned former NDP attorney general Marion Boyd to write a report on allowing Muslims to resolve disputes through their religious tribunals under the authority of the Arbitrations Act, as other faiths were already allowed to do. It was thanks primarily to vocal opposition from the public and some Muslims that prevented the change, not any leadership on the Fiberals’ part. (And how did those other religions get their religious tribunals recognized in the first place? Thanks to Peterson-era A-G Ian Scott, who recommended it, and the NDP government, who made it law.)

Here’s another claim from page 8 that doesn’t pass the laugh test:

Our $51 million guns and gangs strategy includes a new provincial operations centre that brings new police, crowns and enforcement resources under one roof to fight gang violence.

Unfortunately, there was no evidence of this “strategy” or “operations centre” in the recent Project Kryptic gang/drug busts in Toronto. This week the crown attorney was ordered to pay $2,000 to each of 9 accused who waited more than two weeks for their bail hearings. Some roof.

And look here on page 10: “We are the only party that remains committed to phasing out all of Ontario's dirty coal plants.” Now it takes some kind of chutzpah to put that in. McGuinty famously promised prior to and during the 2003 election to close all of Ontario’s coal-fired plants by, er, 2007. Then they promised they would close them all by 2009. Now they’re pinky-swearing they will close them by 2014. As Bill Clinton might say, “it all depends what you mean by the word ‘committed.’”

Anyhow, despite the Clintonesque brazenness of the site's untruths, they will probably have little effect. People's impressions of McGuinty are pretty well formed, which is why we have seen so little of him until now.

7 comments:

gimbol said...

Here's the part that Tory is going to whack the mommy-boy with.

"We passed legislation to make sure one law applies to all Ontarians.”

Did Dalton forget about Caledonia or does he think the voters have short memories?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gimbol - Beauty! Let's remember this one closer to October.

Great post, Joan. The coal-plant one is the best!

Let's see. We could have some fun with this one... "And we're the only party committed to keeping a slush fund away from prying eyes so that our Liberal-friendly supporters can get the grants that they so righteously deserve."

Torian said...

lol, i just finished reading that piece of dreck.

so instead of waiting 7 months for my MRI, I should be ecstatic that my huge healthcare premium bought me 15 days less of a wait??? Whoop-dee-do!!! There's bang for your buck!

And I like how he glosses over how he's cut class sizes...except he doesn't mention the fact that in order to do it, intermediate and senior class sizes have skyrocketed, dedicated classes for music and art have been passed over to make room for more primary grades, and now many-if not all-schools have ugly portables and split grades.

An improvement, for sure.

The moraine? Don't get me started.

I wish them luck on the re-branding of dalty. Ain't gonna work

Anonymous said...

Outstanding post Joan. My fav is the top of the Dalton Unplugged video where he talks about how much he loves his job - while looking at the ground and with all of the enthusiasm of a mortician dealing with the recently bereaved! Oh wait - you don't think that's another whopper do you?

Anonymous said...

Dalton.ca is the best political website I've ever seen - simple, classy. Excellent.

I wish ALL political parties would get back to mature politiking instead of the trash and bash garbage we've had to put up with.

By the way - Caledonia is a "federal" issue!

Oh, don't forget - the biggest mommy-boy is John Tory - he even referred to making mommy happy when he lost weight.

torygal said...

Too bad McGuinty's conversational speed is so slow it actually made me question whether the video was lagging. Anyone who made it full through all those videos deserves a pat on the back. It can't be easy!

Sites like that may look flashy, but its one-way messaging is old school communication. Here, let me spoon feed you this slow, boring drab all about Dalton and you just sit there and take it.

That's not what the internet is about anymore.

Anonymous said...

That's not what the 'net was EVER about, actually. The Liberals have thrown away a lot of cash and resources on stuff that will never be seen by anyone but True Believers on one side or the other. Then again, the "blog" on John Tory's new site is also a pretty painful read. "Golly gee, it was a great day in Southwestern Ontario!" Please. If you are going to do a blog, do it right, or don't bother.

The issue that John Tory should target, in my view, is McGuinty's recent stump speech that can basically be summed up as, "this is as good as it gets". Dalton makes excuse after excuse for the tepid Ontario economy, and then talks about, "the realities of living in an era of modest growth". People want aspiration and hope for a better future from their leaders -- Kim Campbell showed everyone why playing the role of the mortician on the economy is a death knell for a politician. (Not only that, it turns out she was wrong about the employment picture.)

The field is wide open here for John Tory to play the role of the sunny Reagan-esque optimist, talking about a possibility of a new future and a new day for Ontario. If he's smart, he'll grab the opportunity McGuinty has so foolishly left for him.