Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Tim Horton's vs Starbucks

Jeff Jedras aka "A BCer in Toronto" makes a good point about the Conservative Party's communication strategy with its emphasis on populist class warfare.

Writes Jedras: "The Conservatives seem to be against internationalism, against success, against education."

I think he's right, that does seem to be the Tory message: pander to Tim Horton's drinkers; alienate Starbucks patrons.

Simply put, that's a poor strategy.

Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against "wedge style" politics, but I believe it should be done on an ideological not class basis.

For conservatives that means polarizing voters on issues like tax cuts, smaller government and individual freedom. And yes, some Starbucks drinkers could be won over with such an approach.

Instead the Tories are focused on a populist style approach, reminiscent of what the NDP does with its own version of class war rhetoric.

And populism is not conservatism. See a column I wrote on this topic not too long ago.


Brigitte Pellerin said...

I drink Starbucks and hate Tim's "coffee" (Timbits are OK). Where do I fit?

Gerry Nicholls said...

Hmmm, Brigitte, politically speaking that puts you in a grey area.

Ted Betts said...

What does this make our Starbucks swilling Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages?

But give them a bit of a break, Gerry. When you don't stand for anything anymore, and all you seem capable of campaigning on is making the other side look worse than you (and using decades old quotations to do so while telling the world your own old quotations are irrelevant)... suddenly you will see more clearly why what hot caffeinated beverage you drink is the difference between freedom and tyranny.

Conservative Party of Canada: Where image matters most and only images matter.

Anonymous said...

"..where image matters most and only images matters.." Your describing every successful political party Ted..right or left.
Stop blaming the referee. You guys know the rules because over the past 30 years the LPC has written them. You guys set the standards with Kinsella on image and ads, now, reach them or step aside. The best win Ted...always have and always will. billg

Ted Betts said...

"The best win Ted...always have and always will."

The best at what, Bill?

I take it that that is your endorsement of McGuinty and Obama and Dexter?

I think there are lots of counter-examples to Harper's "image is the only thing" approach to campaigning and governing. Mike Harris comes to mind. I think Turner and Mulroney were more focused on issues than image in 1988, as was Trudeau in 1981. I think Bush framed Kerry out of existence, but most Americans voted for some pretty substantive issues and not what kind of coffee Bush drank.

And the proof is in the pudding. While Harper may have won more seats than Dion, he did so even though fewer Canadians voted for him than in 2006 (despite population growth) and he has weakened our democracy as fewer and fewer Canadians vote and he is currently the Prime Minister with the lowest support among Canadians than any prior Prime Minister, with only 22% of Canadians voting for him.

At some point, it has to be more than 'I win, You lose' and someone has to realize that we are all losing the more politicians like Harper (of any political stripe) run the show.

Anonymous said...


You have taken as fact the causal link made in the article that, because the Tories are opposed to Iggy and he possesses these qualities, then, ipso facto, the Tories are opposed to those qualities.

In fact, we are opposed to someone who has hardly lived here from being PM; it is critical to their qualifications that they truly understand the country and its politics.

You are basically accepting as fact the Liberal talking points on this critique.

JC Kelan

Anonymous said...

You got it wrong Ted it should read:

Making sense with Nichols where Gerry matters most and only Gerry matters.

But you are correct when you wrote "you don't stand for anything anymore." other than for Gerry that is.

AToryNoMore said...

The conservatives may think they make the rules, but the liberals are about to show them once again, how the game is played.

Iain G. Foulds said...

... Of course, Conservatives should always take the high road.
... However, Jedras is a Liberal party blogger, and lacking anything constructive to say about his own party, has nothing to write about except to criticise other parties.

johndoe124 said...

Gerry, if you think that this single quote is representative of Conservative messaging then it should be quite easy for you to provide several more quotes, not from the hired help, but from actual high level Conservatives speaking under public circumstances, to support your contention.

Otherwise, this is just Liberal-style rhetoric where you take a few isolated incidents and contend it's the status quo. It's sleazy and hopefully beneath you.

Blame Crash said...

Good Grief Gerry!

“Populist Class Warfare” !?!

So the minions of a political ideology like Liberalism, which is totally based on snobbery, elitism and supremacy in the true meaning of the word, accuse Conservatives of “Populist Class Warfare”. And you sit there and nod your noggin, saying “ I think he’s right”

Let me read between the lines to interpret what you’re supposedly saying : All you normal, everyday, Tim Horton drinking Canadians are engaging in class warfare because they don’t voluntarily submit to all us Starbucks sipping, know nothing, know it all supremacists.

Now that’s #%*^&$ hilarious!!

But Wait !! There’s More!! Your post title is apropos. It can be summed up this way.

Tim Horton’s = Conservative = Harper = Canada.
Starbucks = Liberals = Iffy = America.

I know who I’ll vote for.

You’re more than a little predictable Gerry.

Barista Bob said...

Yeah, except the notion that Tories drink Timmies and Liberals swill Starbucks is a urban myth that has been debunked...


Unknown said...


I prefer Williams coffee. Ummmm, who should I vote for?