31 July 2007

Off target

It's amateur hour in Queensland politics again, with Family First talking about one target but aiming at another in this article, and the journalist not bright enough too read her own copy and think about it.
Jeff Buchanan, lead candidate and campaign manager for Family First

One of the basic rules of politics is that the campaign manager must not be the same person as the candidate. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, this leads to a situation where time is devoted to, and money spent on, issues that don't translate into votes. Where you have a choice for one of these to be sensible, go for the campaign manager to act as Jeeves to the candidate's Wooster. This is an affront to democracy in that the elected representatives tend to be less capable than those who lobby them, but what sort of country do you think we're living in here? The only cases where the candidate=manager thing works is for members of one party running in the other's safe seats (insufficient resources and no harm done either way), or for singular independents like Peter Andren or Tony Windsor.
Mr Buchanan said Family First was already drawing support from disillusioned former Nationals members.

He said business - including the construction and mining sectors - was also "more interested in Family First than ever before".

If that's true, and given the probable collapse in the joint Coalition Senate ticket in Queensland, this means the target for Family First in the coming election is Nationals Senator Ron Boswell, or else the second Liberal on the Queensland ticket. No?
there's no polling or analysis around that says the Democrats are a chance of hanging on to their seats," he told The Australian ... "Clearly we're chasing Senator Bartlett's seat ... I don't think we're star-gazing; we're being quite realistic," he said.

You can't be realistic if you're targetting the wrong guy. By badmouthing environmental policies, or drug treatment (on the rare occasions I go to Brisbane, I don't want to be stepping over dead junkies or discarded syringes - those programs are to protect the community, not to encourage drug use you fool), you're not actually winning any votes from Bartlett. What you're doing is muscling in on Boswell's conservative constituency and splitting the conservative vote away from the Coalition, stopping it going all the way to Labor.

The Democrat vote has collapsed, but what Bartlett needs is preferences from the Greens and third-Labor (asuming they don't pull ahead of him) as well as disaffected Libs. Yes, the Chipp-era moderates who formed the core of the Democrats from Chipp to Kernot have to come through for Bartlett.

It may be that Buchanan is genuinely not clever enough to make this connection, that his competitors are those for whom his would-be constituents have voted in the past. Those within FF who have political brains have made this connection I'm sure, and as such it is the responsibility of the journalist to show readers who are FF's real targets, not just Bartlett as whipping boy. Either Buchanan is thick, or he's foxing, and either way the journalist has let us down by leaving it to the reader to do her job.

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