Friday, September 28, 2012


 usually works the reverse in politics…..Too many
 good people have been defeated because they 
tried to substitute substance for style; they forgot
"The old cliche about mistaking style for substance
 to give the public the kind of visible signals
 that it needs to understand what is happening."

Patrick H. Caddell1976

The term “permanent Campaign” was first coined by Patrick H. Caddell, an advisor to then President-Elect Jimmy Carter. In 1976 Caddell wrote, "it is my thesis governing with public approval requires a continuing political campaign."

Political parties and staff have adapted to new technologies and mirror the round the clock schedules of the media. Perhaps I have that wrong, perhaps the media mirrors the schedule of the politicians.

Dr. Greg Elmer is Bell Globemedia Research Chair and Director of the Infoscape Centre for the Study of Social Media, Ryerson University, Toronto.  He is  co-author with F. McKelvey and G. Langlois, of "The Permanent Campaign: New Media, New Politics". The book is hot of the presses. It investigates and analyzes the campaign organizations of Canadian political parties.

The permanent campaign is obvious and stealthy. There are the tax payer subsidized staff, the party staff and bloggers. In addition there are the more covert operations like the robocalls, organized letter writing and open-line campaigns. 

Considering that we have endured  four national elections, since 2004, the three minority governments ensured that the parties were always on alert for a sudden election. It impacted the way politics, governance

The book talks a great deal about the role of political bloggers and argues that contrary to myth about the internet as distributed and decentered, the blogosphere is dominated by select few bloggers who serve as opinion leaders.

They explore the use of technology to raise funds, to keep in touch with supporters, to target and attract potential supporter. It also discusses the potential for abuse and furthering direct democracy.

If you are a political operative, a member of the “permanent campaigns” team or someone who is just interested in real politick in Canada, this book promises to be informative. There has been a lot written about the permanent campaign and how it has changed American politics, I am looking forward to reading this analysis of  the new political machines that exist here in Canada.

 Caddell made  suggestions about ways Carter could sell his substance: by conducting a humble, informal presidency, cutting back "imperial frills and perks," giving fireside chats, wearing sweaters instead of suits. Sound familiar!

How much is the public spoon fed and manipulated, and how?

This book is now on my birthday list?  Hint...Hint

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