Monday, December 12, 2005

Scott Feschuk's Almost-Hidden Agenda

When it comes to blogging, Liberal official blogger Scott Feschuk can't be accused of being a flogger. Instead, he's trying to pull off something that neither Jeremy Hunt nor the TCFlogger seem interested in: pulling out something of the human side of the leader he's working for.

Thanks to Scott, we now know:
-- that Paul Martin likes Mary Ann over Ginger
-- that Aristotle is his favorite philosopher
-- that he has Nana Mouskouri in his iPod
-- that he can't sing his way out of a paper bag
Is this important? Actually, as a campaign strategy, yes it is. I've always maintained that a good campaign blogger will portray his candidate, while a bad one will only sell him. No one is going to vote for Paul Martin because he likes Nana Mouskouri. Some people, however, might feel comfortable arguing with Paul in Hooters over the merits of Ginger vs. Mary Ann.

Understand: these little details are meant to show Paul Martin the person, as opposed to Paul Martin the prime minister. People have pretty much made up their minds about Paul Martin as prime minister. By portraying Paul's human side, Scott may be able to lull the voters into feeling more comfortable about him. ("Hey, he's just a guy doin' a job, y'know?") And if they feel comfortable at that level, they might feel more comfortable about voting Liberal. (Irrational, yes. But politics is about more than logic.)

Contrast with the TCFlogger. Writing about singing "Sweet Caroline" is a step in the right direction (the ability to sing is apparently something they share with Paul Martin), but apart from repeating Harper's campaign promises, he's written bupkis about Harper the human being.

One other thing that should keep the TCFlogger up late at night: the reason that Scott isn't flogging the Liberals? He doesn't need to.

If you look at the blog designs for both the Liberal and Tory sites, you'll realize that Scott has a significant advantage, in that the news release page (with headlines) is visible in the menu right beside the blog entry. So readers, after being "entertained" by Scott's writing, can click straight into the flogging headlines if they want. Why should Scott do the hard sell, when the news releases beside his entries can do it for him?

It's an almost insidious design, and you have to give props to the Liberal webmaster for it. The TCFlog design simply isn't that good.

So, if you want to look at this as a National Campaign Blograce, at this point you could compare Scott to Sebulba, Jeremy Hunt to Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd version), and the TCFlogger to Ben Quadinaros. Not exactly a good sign.