Sunday, September 07, 2008

It's Good To Be Underestimated

In my very biased opinion, Dion's speech this morning was perfect on some many levels. On substance a clear vision, but it was the tone of the presentation that bodes well moving forward. Dion was in complete command, articulating genuine passion, measured and capable. I've watched and heard Dion many times in recent weeks, and I can say with certainty, he is finally hitting his stride, poised to surprise.

Jumping outside of the political junkie world, Canadians frankly have had little exposure to Dion (outside of Quebec). Ten seconds here and there, buried by constant attacks, I really don't sense people have a clear measure of the man. It is fair to say, Dion is viewed negatively, but that view is by no means cemented. Within that reality, there is room for optimism.

Here's the catch, and why underestimating Dion is a mistake. I know that Dion isn't weak and ineffectual, I've now seen enough to understand the exact opposite is true. Dion isn't Obama, Dion doesn't possess the common touch, but Dion is entirely genuine and he conveys his ideas with a sense of seriousness that is attractive. On top of that, there is a real passion and conviction, attributes that were on display in spades this morning. Let the bar be low, let Dion come out with people thinking he is weak, because he simply is no such thing, and the only challenge is conveying reality, a proposition which is far from absurd.

Dion addressed Quebecers personally, in a way that even Chantal Hebert was forced to acknowledge, and gently praise. That clear signal tells us, that Dion will attempt to re-introduce himself in his home province, how successful remains to be seen, but people with an open mind may allow him to be heard.

Low expectations may be an asset in the final analysis, an asset because we know there is more to Dion. If Dion really was weak, not a leader, dithering, all these negative frames, then his low polling would merely reflect reality. However, that is a partial perception, and within that, there is plenty of room to change that. Why? Because the current perception of Dion shows no relationship to his real character, it just doesn't, and I don't think that is a rose colored glasses argument.

Dion has the potential to surprise, the hurdle will be getting that message out. That said, if today is any indication, Canadians may well take a second look, beyond the superficial impressions they currently hold. Canadians know Stephen Harper, the don't know Stephane Dion, and he seems determined to ensure that they do.

A great start...

20 comments:

Joseph said...

I agree as well. If voters engage, they will see that as well. Harper is hoping they won't, hence all the sweaters. But I don't believe he can not carry him through the election.

If May gets in the debates, that could change the dynamic of the entire race. She was extremely well-spoken today.

Steve V said...

Regardless of engagement, or degree, Canadians will see more of Dion in the next few weeks, than they have for the last two years. Dion will have opportunities, particularly in the debates, to show people something more.

Gayle said...

Yeah but - his plane won't be ready for a couple days. Don't you know that means he is a bad leader??? :)

Diana said...

Dion was impressive. Very impressive! A wonderful start.
May stole the show. What a firecracker she is.
Harper's apparently my Daddy...Weird!
And WHY oh WHY did Layton even attempt that routine. It was funny, as in laughing at him funny.
Did he steal some of Obama's lines, word for word?
What Layton tried to do, Lizzie did effortlessly. She’s the wild card.

This is going to be one strange election.

Steve V said...

I thought Harper looked petty, when he said he "assumed" Dion was a family man. Apparently, I wasn't alone, several reporters characterized that as "strange".

diana said...

RE: The family man thing.
He looked petty because it WAS petty.
Interesting start for him. He'd best hope that it gets lost in the fog of today. And it most likely will. But a fascinating peak into his mindset this morning. He's far more nervous than he'd like us to believe. Under pressure, Harper's a mean prick. And he couldn't even keep it under control on day #1.

Steve V said...

He alluded to a possible strategy, overtly stating his advisors thought it important to show his "other side". That's fine, but Harper is a known quantity, any attempt to redefine could easily be seen as pandering, maybe "he's trying to hard". You don't need to push that stuff, it should come out naturally.

Joseph said...

I don't think I like the sound of Harper showing us he is not only being petty and arrogant, but also overtly paternalistic.

History doesn't tend to show those type of leaders in a favorable light, putting it mildly.

Eewww, is the phrase that comes to my mind. You don't think that's what they were going for, do you?

Steve V said...

Watching Harper on CTV, he actually just said this is no time for big ideas. What an amazing statement- we have nothing new, don't vote for anyone that does.

Gayle said...

I just watched the video. I like how Dion handled the "family man" question. He seems amused at Harper's attempt to make it an issue. I note that Dion's wife actually stood with him while he made his speech, which made Harper's point seem all the more silly.

Dame said...

I Did like the way Dion started and I see it as a base For build up a very positive Offering .
And I was surprised how Harper Could not Hide his mean "all the time angry" and very Nervous state Openly offering Nothing new but his desire for total power.

Harper just not able to govern in Democracy and the way parlaiment should work.

If this is about Characters?? Dion won the First day.

marta

Anonymous said...

I have just heard the Lizzie May is the only one who speaks from the heart and without a teleprompter.

RuralSandi said...

Did anyone notice that Harper said "Canada needs some common sense".

Here we go - Mike Harris' common sense revolution.

Harper said he doesn't like a lot of attention - oh really, then why is it Harper all the time, everywhere, photos, photo-shots...LOL

Harper more or less admitted he has no vision, doesn't care to and never, ever mentioned those that are struggling. What a kind soul.

I thought Elizabeth May looked like she could burst into tears - I really think she's scared for Canada under Harper's rule.

JimmE said...

I didn't hear the Dion clip, any one have a link?

Gayle said...

jimme - just go to the CTV election site.

Steve V said...

jimme

I've posted the video.

JimmE said...

Steve, you rock.

Steve V said...

Well, Jeff rocks...

ann d said...

Beautifully expressed. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I've heard Tories are "pulling a Russia" & are attempting to overwhelm Lib blogs & sites... typical.