Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Just Another Reason Why Unions Should Leave Political Campaigns to the Pros
With a provincial election just around the corner, the Canadian Office and Professional Employees union is gearing up to take a serious run at Liberal BC Premier Gordon Campbell.
Their message for BCers is actually a simple one: Gordon Campbell may possibly hate you.
In an ad recently uploaded to YouTube, COPE seems to poke fun at some of bombastic messages of amateur political ads. An obnoxiously-loud voice asks "did you know", then lists off a litany of imaginary Campbell offenses -- trying to "kill your grandma", "is fighting a secret war against wild salmon and river otters", and "eats children" while a more moderate and evidently skeptical voice questions the assertions, although noting that Campbell has closed down hospitals, approved hydro-electric development and ignored child poverty.
A myriad of poorly-photoshopped images flash by on the screen, including one of Campell firing a gun off into the air while flames engulf fish and otters.
Yet at the end of the ad, the one assertion that seems reasonable is that "Gordon Campbell hates you".
"Hmmmm," the narrator's seemingly-more moderate foil muses. "That actually seems reasonable, based on everything he's done so far."
"Maybe everyone should be asking 'does Gordon Campbell hate you?'" he concludes.
While it clearly has an amusing edge to it, the ad's conclusion clearly falls well short of its evident goal of parodying childish political rhetoric. When the ad concludes that all BCers should wonder if Campbell hates them, the ad's attempt to counter-brand Gordon Campbell as antithetical to the ads' evident targets values instead embraces that childish rhetoric.
The ad is reminiscent of the Albertans for change ads -- which were bankrolled by Alberta unions -- in which some "ordinary Albertans" were shown professing distrust for Premier Ed Stelmach with smiles on their faces.
The ads were a flop, as Stelmach was reelected with a dominant majority government.
COPE's ironically petulant anti-Campbell ad could turn out having the same effect. This, along with CUPE's recent anti-Israel debacles and then-CAW President Buzz Hargrove's 2006 self-humiliation, is just another reason why labour unions should leave political campaigning to those who know how to do it.
Hilarious addendum - It's amazing what can turn up in the "related videos" section: