Tuesday, April 20, 2010

David Cameron More John McCain Than Barack Obama

In the British Conservative party's second TV address, David Cameron seems to emulate US Senator John McCain, famed for his "straight talk" on political issues.

In the second address, entitled "What it Takes to Change a Country", Cameron promises precisely that: straight talk on political issues. He also further explains his "big society" vision.

Cameron proposes the "big society" theoretically as an alternative to big government. The goal is clearly to brand the Conservatives as the party that can still deliver on social policy-related goals while cutting Britain's looming deficit.

This will prove to be an especially important message as talk of a coalition government between Labour and the Liberal Democrats becomes more and more prevalent.

While Cameron's message is a strong conservative message, one challenge for his party will be the presentation. While the Liberal Democrat messaging has proven to be eye-poppingly slick, deeply engrained with symbolism, the Tory addresses have, to date, been (unfortunately) characteristically bland.

While those predisposed to be receptive to the Conservative message will likely pay attention to this ad, others may be more likely than not to tune out.

This was the same challenge that confronted John McCain during the 2008 Presidential Election: convincing Americans to stay tuned to his message, favouring it over the more glamourous message of eventual winner Barack Obama.

Obama reportedly once remarked that Cameron is more sizzle than substance. Now the notion that the sizzle may be gone is becoming utterly unignorable.

This has become the challenge for David Cameron during this election: preventing Britons from simply tuning him out. To date, he hasn't been doing himself many favours.

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