Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Going Bat Sh*T Crazy With Alberta Premier Jim Prentice

The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. - Michael Porter

The election is on in Alberta and the Twitterverse has lit up with its usual cacophony of taunts, counter-taunts, jokes, lies, exaggeration, promises, counter-promises and the usual medley of stuff often found on #ableg and #abpoli.

As a strategy guy, I am always intrigued by choices people make – choices in their thoughts, words and actions and how such choices are in alignment (hopefully) with their intentions and goals.

And that’s why Premier Jim Prentice’s choice of songs to kick of his campaign is so intriguing.

He chose Nickelback’s Burn it to the Ground.  For those not familiar with the song, I have included a version below with lyrics although I will warn you that the lyrics are not safe for the office and possibly not safe for younger kids.

It is an interesting departure from the typical “rev up the crowd” song often used in political events in that the song contains lyrics like these:

Well it's midnight, damn right, we're wound up too tight
I've got a fist full of whiskey, the bottle just bit me
That shit makes me bat shit crazy
We've got no fear, no doubt, all in balls out

We're screaming like demons, swinging from the ceiling
I got a fist full of fifties, tequila just hit me
We got no class, no taste, no shirt, and shit faced
We got it lined up, shot down, firing back straight crown

It is intriguing as it is not only a song that one can’t play in public at many events (for example: a typical political stop at a senior citizens’ residence, any place where kids hang out or how about getting a women’s group to yell enthusiastically “all in balls out” ), it also reflects an attitude that is crude and classless.

And that is just the opposite of what one expects when it comes to the rules of decorum for places such as that of the Office of the Premier of Alberta.

Well, unless you are a blind follower incapable of independent thought who thinks that use of this song is hilarious or brilliant.  For those people, I would recommend that you find a nice public place, plant your PC Party flag proudly, start singing the song at the top of your lungs and see how cool it is (and how brave you are).  Better yet, have the guts to start using the lyrics in your social media streams.  Show courage – make sure your name and photo are clearly displayed for people to be able to identify you instead of using a gutless, unidentifiable pic and bio.

While there, make sure to add a line or two to your social media bio’s.

How about a nice poster at work?

Why not teach it to your kids for door knocking purposes?

You get my meaning.

Meanwhile, if I met the Premier (or any MLA or almost any human being in a professional setting) and made a comment like “Let’s go get shit faced and …”, I’d expect to be thrown out and to never be invited back.

And yet that is the message being used in the kick-off of a campaign???

Maybe he thinks it will appeal to the many Alberta drivers who like this vehicle embellishment:

Vehicle testicles

Fortunately for Alberta, most Albertans are too classy for this embellishment or the use of a song that suggests to other Canadians that the redneck jokes may be closer to reality than they really are since this is the best that the Leader of the Province can produce when it comes to rallying or inspiring people.

Bottom Line

It’s one thing to be confident going into an election.

But it’s another thing to be so overconfident (or arrogant) that one thinks that one can break rules of decorum and classiness with a song whose lyrics smack of ignorance, crassness and yes … a little too much redneck.

This is the downside of wiping out the Official Opposition as Premier Prentice did - it has given him licence to take the low road without fear of a negative backlash that would ordinarily have taught him that such strategy is a poor one … or potentially a losing one.

And when a leader or role model chooses to take the low road out of an excess of hubris as in this case, it sends a message to the people of Alberta (including our youth, the future of the Province) that the low road in anything is now an acceptable standard - that the principle of character doesn’t matter anymore.

Do you believe that the low road is an acceptable standard?

Do you think that the manner by which leader or role model thinks and acts matters?

What do you think?

May 5th is Election Day in Alberta – may what you think shout loudly in the polling stations.

Because politicians don’t seem to hear anything nor do they seem to care about anything unless the people tell them what the people think with a ballot. 

Well … that is unless the people like the label “no class, no taste, no shirt, and shit faced” … for themselves or for their leader.

Do you?

In service and servanthood,



Do you remember when this faux pas contributed to the list of concerns about former Opposition Leader Danielle Smith’s campaign a few years ago?

Danielle Smith campaign bus

I think today’s faux pas is much worse.

What do you think?

I also wonder what female PC candidates think of the line “We've got no fear, no doubt, all in balls out”.

I don’t think it sounds very respectful to them.

What do you think?

Addendum – Alberta PC Party Goes Down In Defeat - May 6, 2015

Former Premier Prentice guided to the PC Party to a crushing defeat in the Alberta election on May 5, 2015.  I guess the song proved more prophetic than he realized it would be.

Those of us in the PC Party who warned the leadership about the importance of being honest with citizens, about being respectful and to use data instead of fear mongering were told to mind our own business.

I guess a few voters felt the same way also and made it their business to tell the PC Party what they thought of them.

To know the difference between confidence and arrogance is to walk the fine line between great results and embarrassment.

The PC Party just learned the difference.

Hopefully they will also learn the art of branding, having discovered the danger of dropping the corporate brand in favor of a personal brand as demonstrated by the PC Party membership card which will obviously be changing.

PCAA Membership Card

Go here for an insightful analysis by Jordan Pinkster, President of the Calgary Southeast Constituency Board for the PC Party at the time this blog was posted.

The PC Party of Alberta should listen closely to his observations – there is much insight contained within.

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