Monday, June 18, 2007

Conservatives Target NASCAR Fans

What's wrong with this picture?

Yes, that's the Conservative party's logo on a NASCAR race car driven by Pierre Bourque (so we no longer need to wonder where Bourque's political leanings really lie).

Now, first of all, I didn't even know we had NASCAR in Canada, so I'm obviously not a fan or a part of the target audience. Apparently the Conservatives think this is a grand strategy to go after "hard-working" middle class Canadians. But, as one political science professor ponders:

...the aim, she [Immigration Minister Diane Finley ] said, is to dispel a misconception that the Conservatives are after an "elitist, Bay Street crowd. We're not."

Which is all well and good, but David Docherty, a professor of political science at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., offers a few caveats.

"What happens if it runs out of gas down the stretch? ... Or it crashes?" Dr. Docherty asked. "This might be one of those things that's too cute by half. It's a great idea and then, 'Oh, what were we thinking?' "

It's probably a better idea than sponsoring the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), he said.

But "presumably, when I sit down on my couch with my chewing tobacco and some Mickey's Big Mouths to watch the NASCAR," Dr. Docherty said, "I am doing that in my leisure time and the last thing I want to be reminded of is politics."

And, as JimBobby rightly notes, sponsoring a gas-guzzling NASCAR car is hardly the way to expect Canadians to believe that you're really serious about dealing with global warming. And beyond those costs, the Cons are taking a page right out of Bush's playbook. Yes, those "hard-working" middle class Canadians the Cons are pandering to are actually paying for the politicians' visits to the racetrack too. Fool me once, as they say...

As to why this campaign is being rolled out now (when Bush made his NASCAR crowd-pandering move some 3 years ago), perhaps what the Conservatives are really after is a Nixon-style diversion. After the problems they've had, they certainly need one. But even the noxious clouds of exhaust fumes and burning rubber from the NASCAR tires won't be able to cover up their political machine's malfunctions. NASCAR fans should feel insulted rather than impressed since the Conservatives are literally and metaphorically blowing smoke in their faces. The fact that the Cons put a big "C" on a race car doesn't mean they actually care about you. That should be obvious.

Sidebar: And while I'm on the subject of vehicles and pollution, let me add a few things -

1) Having the loudest muffler in your everyday vehicle does not make you more manly or sexy. It just makes you incredibly annoying. How would you like it if I had one of those vehicles and sat outside your house revving up my engine? Yeah. Well, that's exactly how I feel about you.
2) Driving a gas-guzzler like a Hummer™ does not make you a superior person. It just makes you someone who spent a ridiculous amount of money on a vehicle that resembles an ugly tank and that uses practically just as much gas. Enjoy the high gas prices!
3) When kids decide to drag race on city streets, people get killed. Wanna race? Do it on a track. That's what they're for. If professionals can lose control so easily, what makes you think you won't?
4) Pedestrians crossing the street are not video game figures that you're supposed to take out to score more points.
5) One last thing: playground and school zones are still in effect when it's raining. I've never seen a sign that says otherwise.

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