Monday, May 17, 2010

Election Primer A - Z: 'M' is for Manning

Truth be told this issue is quite possibly the biggest reason as to why the PNM loses this election should they in fact lose come May 24.

The Prime Minister has gone from poster-boy to greatest liability in eight years and is the subject of the hate and derision of more than half of the population due in large part to his perceived arrogance, but more pointedly due to his almost blind
support for the blunders of his government and of individuals such as Messrs Rao and Hart - who have enjoyed the confidence of the PM in amounts greater than many of the members of his own party.

Mr Manning has surrounded himself with ineffectual yes-men who have helped him to dig himself into an even deeper hole. It amazes me that his political advisors have not themselves seen this - and should they have, how is it that they continue to make Mr Manning the central figure of their campaign?

Battle cries such as 'Patrick goin back' may appeal to the 150,000 or so dyed-in-the-wool PNM supporters who will chant PNM until I die until they quite literally live up to that promise. But it does nothing to help court the large pool of swing and undecided voters who will readily agree that the Prime Minister's cocky air of superiority - his arrogance - is their biggest turn off in this election. Without a command of the majority of these voters, the PNM cannot and will not win.

It is therefore against the best advice, that they continue to erect larger than life billboards featuring full-length images of the PM. They continue to write jingles that make him out to be some sort of Orwellian demi-god. And they continue to push Mr Manning to the forefront in this campaign.

Even long standing supporters of the ruling party such as Selwyn Ryan has gone as far as to endorse the People's Partnership in next week's election. And perhaps his article in today's Express best sums up the national sentiment on Mr Manning and the creeping desire for change:

Were it not for Manning the PNM would not be in the mess that they currently find themselves. There would be no need for a 'mid-term' election. And they would not be facing down another defeat at the polls. This could well be the third time (1995, 2000 and now) that Mr Manning leads his party to a loss. Lets hope that in the post-election period that the PNM will follow the UNC and jettison Mr Manning from the party and begins the process of rebuilding sans the baggage of arrogance and allegations of corruption that has plagued it over the past 8 years.

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