Sometimes I think the real bet in any election is that of how gullible they think voters are. All the following are from just one day's reporting: The Star, Jan. 7.
"Najib said the Barisan's candidate was the best man for the job because he has already been guaranteed a deputy minister's post if he won."
First of all, a deputy minister is in charge of FEDERAL affairs, an MP is charge of LOCAL interests. One would think that the DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER would know this... or is he suggesting that one use his FEDERAL role to siphon money to ensure his LOCAL constituents don't ever vote him out of office?
The bet: people will vote someone in as an MP not knowing anything the role of an MP.
Then, note that Najib takes the reigns of the campaign:
"'I have already told the Barisan machinery to explain to the voters that if they vote for PAS, their representative will never become a deputy minister,' he said."
"'This is not a referendum on me, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi or Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said,' (Najib) told a press conference after the close of nominations here yesterday."
not to mention:
"To (Najib), winning Kuala Terengganu is important to Umno 'to reclaim the party's dignity after losing Permatang Pauh', not to mention countering the drubbing it suffered in the 2008 general election." - Suhaini Aznam.
The bet: that readers have the attention span of a goldfish.
The biggest eye-opener, however is:
"He said the Barisan would use a people-friendly approach, with 'Barisan Is People Friendly' as the campaign theme."
The best campaign slogans tend to be about goals, little reminders about how we're all united or we have to work towards a stronger economy or something of the sort. When you have something like "Barisan Is People Friendly", it's like, we've always been people friendly... it's just that the people haven't been reminded that we're people friendly.
The bet: the only reason why people don't realize we are people-friendly is that we didn't have a campaign slogan before. People love campaign slogans.
Sometimes when I read the papers, I don't read what other people think. I read about how stupid other people think I could possibly be, which makes me further convinced how stupid they really are to think I wouldn't notice. And that's why in many ways, politicians would do well to realize that the newspaper is truly a mirror.
But that's just my bet. And it hinges entirely on my fellow readers.