So This Works, Apparently
How to you rehabilitate the image of your stuffy, intellectual, furrowed, Toronto-born, Oxford-bred party leader into a likable dude with a common touch? Why you put him in a pair of jeans of course!! No seriously, what are we going to do about Micheal Ignatieff’s image? I told you, blue jeans… and some burgers. Beer too, also… baseball cap. Hockey. Tim Hortons. DO IT!!
While it may seem like hopping on the a well decorated locomotive to feel the wounds of the people is better suited to reelect R.B. Bennett in the great campaign of 1935 (“I hear you folks have been suffering a depression out here, well I say that’s terrible, just terrible” he would cry from a caboose covered in streamers) it turns out, all you need to do to get popular in Canada in 2010 is pile yourself, a photogenic spouse, a few handler-buddies and about a dozen photo-journalists into a bus, crank up the Tom Cochrane and follow the smell of BBQ. Make sure when you get there that you’re dressed in some kind of plaid and that all your cue cards are in order. What you’re going to need to know is where you are, the local hockey team, a local microbrewery, and who they hate (don’t stump yourself on this one, “Toronto” is generally a safe bet). Whatever you do, do not talk about politics or issues of any kind, then you’re just an old snoot. Keep it simple, fill in the blanks. “It’s great to be here in _Guelph__!! It’s towns like_Guelph_ that make Canada great, and it’s not just because_The Storm____ are having such a great season. (take a swig of beer while the audience chuckles) They sure don’t make beers like __Stone Hammer Pilsner___ in Toronto!”. After this, a good round of handshaking goes over pretty well. Try to express a genuine interest in people’s problems, and failing that, show an interest in their babies. Then you’re going to want to swallow the beef. After you’ve talked to those local fundraisers, help yourself to a burger!
I kid you not, some version of this act is putting Igniatieff’s star is on the rise. Less as a world-renowned truth-seeking journalist-intellectual, and more as like, a guy who eats burgers, but who do you like more? The lovely Chantal Herbert at the Toronto Star says this is how Chretien got his start, and say what you want, that guy knew how to win an election.
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