You know that old saw about imitation being the most sincere form of flattery? How about the one that says politics makes for strange bedfellows?
Combine the two and you get B.C. Liberal Party leadership candidate Kevin Falcon’s campaign slogan, “A New Generation of Leadership.”
It’s a great tagline: take-charge, bold, and forward-thinking.
It also belongs to former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, who first used it in his 1960 Democratic Convention acceptance speech.
Recently, the line was revived by JFK’s brother, Ted, in a touching familial reference during his 2008 endorsement of Barack Obama.
In borrowing the quote, Falcon grasps for the Kennedy glamour while sidestepping the family’s progressive agenda. After all, Falcon, a former Young Socred, has previous ties to the Reform Party and is considered by some to be the most right-wing candidate in the B.C. Liberal leadership race.
It also brings to mind another attempt by a right-wing politician to drape himself in the Kennedy mantle: Former U.S. vice-president Dan Quayle’s comparison of himself to JFK during the 1988 campaign debates.
A comparison, it should be noted, that was met with a stern rebuke from Democratic vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen: “You’re no Jack Kennedy”¦and frankly I think you are so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well-taken.”
Just a little something to keep in mind, Mr. Falcon.