Thursday, March 3, 2011

Harper's Dog Whistle

Here's Stephen Harper's newest touchy-feely ad:

So, at the beginning, he's talking about how Canada is this big egalitarian society where everyone has opportunities and people that have privilege and are in the elite are basically evil. It's subtle, but you can detect the passive aggressiveness in his voice, in the tone, in the words. And we all know where its directed - Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals. It's a clear shot at the perceived elitism of the federal party. That's not a new concept.

Then he talks about how "we're all in this together." While that sounds nice and pretty and inclusive, think in the context of that earlier statement about elitists. Yeah, you get it, right? He may be saying that we're in this together, but we know that we're really means good ol' Tim's swilling Canadians - not us latte-sippin' Liberals and lefties.

It's what's commonly called "dog whistle politics" - essentially where a politician is saying something that may not seem bad to the mainstream of voters, but is actually cued with words and tones to say something a little subliminally. I truly believe this is what this ad is. It's a dog whistle, through and through. Just watch it several times and you'll see it.


  1. If "it is subtle", how is it a "clear shot?"

    Must be just a little disconcerting that the Liberals have absolutley no response, either by deliberate omission or lack of financial considerations. The next election has "Tory majority" written all over it.

  2. The message itself is embedded in a subtle way - but the message is directed very clearly towards Iggy.

    And what are you talking about? We've already played several ads on the air. The problem is that they weren't necessarily very effective, not that this will be either.

  3. Looks like it's "morning in Canada" . . . Harper channeling Reagan these days, I guess.

  4. Difference being I have more respect for Reagan than I ever would for Harper.

  5. How many countries do you think he is referring to when he says "we're all in this together"?

    "Whether Canada ends up as o­ne national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with o­ne national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be."
    Stephen Harper, Speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition

  6. Hm. That doesn't even make sense.