Sunday, September 14, 2008

Catch a glimpse into a leader's soul

I was listening to CBC's The National, which is exceedingly brilliant - an election must-see. Anyway, it mentioned the idea that Canadians would, as during previous elections, reach a certain point in the campaign whereas they catch a glimpse into the soul of a particular leader. It sounds a bit wonky but consider this... As a general public, in some fashion, the segments of the population who actually bother to vote, not only recognize that an election is underway but also spends time witnessing the different leaders present themselves. A moment comes when a large part of Canadians set their minds onto a particular candidate, you could maybe call it a tipping point. Jean Chretien experienced such a moment during a campaign in 1993; Conservative attack ads were released that appeared to focus on Chretien's mouth that had been distorted by polio when he was a child. Chr├ętien replied while speaking in Nova Scotia, "God gave me a physical defect, I've accepted that since I was a kid." Almost as though he were comparing the Tories to school children he went on, "When I was a kid people were laughing at me. But I accepted that because God gave me other qualities and I'm grateful." The speech moved some in the crowd to tears but it also cut nicely into sound bites on the evening news, which was hugely effective in sky-rocketing his popularity numbers among Canadians. As though Canadians, saw into his soul that moment and caught the interest and attention of the voting public. This effect can boost, solidify or even deflate and ruin a leader's reputation. I am not going to even try to predict that moment but if it were to happen this time around, wouldn't it be swell to catch it in the moment?