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Of politics and podiums

February 23, 2010

When you cover politics, you learn all about managing expectations.

It’s what political parties do during elections and byelections.

“It’s a Tory stronghold,” the Liberals said during last year’s Haliburton-Kawatha Lakes-Brock byelection in which then PC Leader John Tory was defeated by a no-name Liberal, Rich Johnson. Except Johnson wasn’t all that no-name in the riding. He was well known as a former school board chair. And it wasn’t so much a Tory stronghold as it was a personal fief for popular incumbent Laurie Scott.

When Johnson won, it appeared to be either a massive endorsation of the Liberals or a massive rejection of John Tory. In fact, it was neither. It was just a quirky byelection outcome, like so many other quirky byelections.

But the Liberals managed expectations perfectly.

You can’t help thinking Canadian Olympians really  could have used that kind of deft management. Stating you’re going to “own the podium” when you’re up against countries with 10 times your population is simply foolhardy. We now have scrambled eggs all over our faces.

And the worst thing is? We deserve it.

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