WHO'S THE MAN?!!!!!
The entire Tory caucus in Manitoba watched in awe as their favorite punching bag turned into a political Muhammed Ali as he roped-a-dope in the general election last night.
In the blue corner...the WINNAGHHH----ROOOODDDDD BRUUUUUUUINOOGE.
In the red corner...the LOOOSERRR ----REG ALLL-CAAAWWWCK.
Reg Alcock? Lost? Impossible.
He's the Manitoba sugar daddy. Old Grit Macdonald, himself. Here a cheque, there a cheque, everywhere a cheque cheque. He can be weakened, challenged, harassed---but not defeated. Not Reg.
And by who? The guy the Manitoba Tories treated like dirt all year long?
He ran for the nomination to go against Alcock in Winnipeg South and lost to Tory pretty boy Hugh McFadyen. He shook off the loss and, when Tory turncoat John Loewen quit to join the Liberals, Rod announced he would run for the empty provincial seat.
But Hurricane Hugh had decided Reg was too tough, unbeatable in fact, so he sauntered over and said he deserved to sit in John's empty chair. Again the brain trust dumped Bruinooge and let McFadyen get an easy ride.
There's a reason we called Bruinooge the Chumbawumba of politicians. He got right back up again and went after Reg as he wanted to in the first place. He never even mentioned the six month setback caused by McFadyen's waffling and his despicable attempt to sabotage Bruinooge again by supporting someone else on the QT for the Winnipeg South nomination.
HEY HUGH? WHO'S THE MAN, NOW?
Bruinooge demonstrated the perseverance and passion missing in the Conservative party for the past six years. He ran a brilliant come-from-behind campaign. He was given so little chance to win that CBC lumped him in with other also-rans in a filler election story last week.
The papers gushed about a poll showing Anita Neville might lose her seat, but never raised a hint that the Mighty Reg might be in trouble.
Rod is the only candidate in living memory to use television ads in his local campaign. It was a stroke of genius, since Reg Alcock is the man the television cameras hate the most.
While Bruinooge used TV to win, Alcock used TV to lose.
His condescending interview in November with CBC host Krista Erickson showed the bully in him, and his contemptuous treatment of prison guards who questioned him at the CBC televised election forum solidified his image as someone who liked pushing weaker people around.
Meanwhile unnoticed by MSM was the sudden appearance of clever Bruinooge TV ads on Global's newscast, and an anti-Alcock ad during CTV's American Idol that never actually mentioned Rod but viewers definately watched.
Maybe that explains why dejected Global analyst (and Liberal) Dan Vandal said no one could have possibly anticipated this; none of the local pundits noticed what Bruinooge was doing to battle goliath.
* He used his experience and knowledge of the film industry to tailor a campaign using the best techniques of the new media
* He used his established popularity with the online community (as a game inventor) to get his name out.
* His TV ads, cleverly shot like movie trailers, appealed to voters with his sincerity and jabs at King Reg.
So much for the old style of politicking. Rod went full steam ahead.
He shocked the world by knocking out the Sonny Liston, the big bad bully, of the Liberal establishment and Rod gave up a 6 month head start, and didn't have a dime to hand out to voters.
Maybe Hugh McFadyen, that "veteran" of a dozen campaigns, was intimidated. Rod Bruinooge took the fight to the heaviest Liberal in town, and when the night was over there was only one man standing.
The Manitoba Conservatives need to reinvent themselves with the Bruinooge can-do spirit.
They can start by making it clear to the news media that Leader of the Party is not an entry-level position. Hugh McFadyen, the mouse that squeeked, need not apply. When the Legislature resumes, the Tory caucus should tell Hurricane Hugh here's your seat, sit down, shut up, and when you know as much as The Black Rod, raise your hand.
Until then they can ask the New Giant of Manitoba politics to give a seminar on how to run a winning campaign.
And when he asks "WHO'S THE MAN?", they all know the answer.