Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Belinda's Magical Mystery Tour!

Well with one full day of campaigning under her belt, one wonders if Belinda Stronach knows what has hit her. The Billionaire candidate spent the day jetting from Winnipeg to Vancouver, meeting and greeting in closed door sessions with "supporters" and generally treading carefully through the media minefield.

Her stop in Winnipeg featured a visit with Charles Adler at CJOB, Adler apparently invoked the mercy rule during his radio show. As in an interview with Global TV he said he went rather easy on her, as he put it, who wants to be the guy who shoots Bambi. And that is probably going to be the fatal flaw in the long Stronach march. If they think they are going to be allowed a learning curve, free of critical commentary they are sadly mistaken. After a couple of weeks (if it can wait even that long) that media beast will start to salivate, snort and growl and it will be have to be fed. Any gaffes, mis-spoken policies and generally naive utterances, will be welcomed as if a banquet for a starving army.

Indeed it would appear that her political debutante ball has already ended. Probably you can track the time as five minutes after she took to the stage in Aurora at the Canadian Legion Hall, a hall that she probably couldn't find again if she needed to. The teleprompter didn't work and well that was seemingly the end of the communications part of the launch. Eventually they replaced the batteries or fed the chipmunks and she continued on with the platform, but an inability to ad lib will be a quick death for any politician.

Her first batch of meet and greets seem to have been reserved purely for the monied folks in the cities she visits, in Vancouver she arrived an hour late for her greeter and the media jackals promptly found themselves banned from the festivities, left to look in through the frosty windows of a downtown Vancouver Pub, nothing to say tonight boys and girls.

It would appear that this may be the peek a boo campaign, maybe an interview; maybe not. So far it seems to be based on the idea of maybe we have an answer, then again maybe we don't. Her boosters aren't exactly resonating with enthusiasm, former Tory cabinet minister Tom Siddon says he thinks she'll be a good candidate, even though he hasn't actually met her yet. Now that's an endorsement! The walking undead of the Mulroney years currently handling her campaign, must find a way to project her image. At the same time they'll have to protect her ego from being crushed by a tsunami of negativity.

Time will tell as to how she is received by the actual voting public, but the formulators of public opinion are busy sharpening their knives, er pencils. Already today, she was eviscerated in print by Chantal Hebert and Margaret Wente. No doubt Rafe Mair is polishing his vocal cords to admonish her for not showing up on his chat show. Peter Warren says his producers are negotiating with Ms. Stronach's people for an appearance, I would think that those negotiations will drag on for a while yet. Surely even the most cruel hearted political handler won't subject her to the twin fates of Peter and Rafe in the same week, just wouldn't be fair. It's doubtful either would give her the mulligan that Adler felt necessary.

So far not a peep from the NDP about a billionaire candidate, who just happened to be Chariman of a company that wasn't particularly union friendly. You would think her candidacy would be like a gift from Socialist Heaven, but Smilin' Jack Layton has nothing to say, for the second day in a row!! Of course this new development kind of throws a wrench into his strategy of painting Paul Martin as the Millionaire candidate. Hell, Martin looks like he's on welfare compared to the candidate from Aurora. Won't be any beneficial bashing of him anymore. Maybe they don't fly the Canadian flag at Magna!

Even the socialist worker has weighed in with an article about her candidacy, needless to say it's not an endorsement. At least the negativity was expected from that corner, the test for her will be when the right wing and centrist press pass judgment. So far they don't seem to be laying petals at her feet as she travels on by.

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