Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Conservatives + NASCAR = ???

The Conservative Party of Canada has chosen to market its brand by sponsoring a car in the Canadian Tire NASCAR racing circuit. This has to be right up there in the “what the hell were they thinking” category as it’s wrong on so many levels as to be laughable.

As has been pointed out by dozens of bloggers already (and many with much more wit than I can muster), this was just plain dumb. Not only does it fly in the face of environmental concerns, but think of the opportunity presented when (it’s always when, not if, in NASCAR) the cameras, in slo-mo, track the big blue logo of the PC party crumpling as Number 29 crashes into the wall or another car at some race this summer.

And what demographic did they think they were reaching with that sponsorship? Certainly not women, which is probably the one big demographic they need to reach in order to improve their chances of a majority next time around. No, they’re reaching out to their base again, which means this is more about financial support than gaining votes – topping up the war chest.

Yup, just dumb. They have given the opposition a freebie - the perfect metaphor for Canada's Now Slightly Used Government: a gas-guzzling (5 miles per gallon, leaded) Dodge Charger, racing around in circles, making lots of noise yet ultimately getting nowhere. The opposition parties script writers will have a field day. Imagine the House of Commons the next time John Baird stands up to proclaim the Conservative's commitment to the environment. The laughter and cat-calls are as predictable as they will be loud.

Now, in an apparent fit of sober second thought, the government has started to back-track with Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon claiming it’s strictly a party initiative, and "there's a difference" between the government and the political party. "I don't think it's something that is related directly with the government of Canada”.

But hold on a minute, wasn’t it four Conservative cabinet ministers that launched the sponsorship as Mosport Park this weekend? As they say in NASCAR circles, “That dawg won’t hunt, sonny”.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

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