Let’s face it…with the upcoming provincial election in Alberta (expected to be called soon), we’re all going to need a sense of humour. I thought I should start things off by stripping it down for first-time candidates wondering how to approach their campaigns–which policy positions to profile during the campaign and how to make that choice.

You may have heard the joke about “A Team” vs. “B Team” panties, mostly in relation to women (unfair, I know). I’m not sure who originated this phrase. I thought it was Seinfeld, but my Google searches on this subject turned up a lot of…shall we say…fairly ribald sites.

Since I don’t want to spend much more time searching Google for this term (goodness knows what will turn up if I keep going), let’s just say that the idea is thus:

The “A Team” panties are the ones that (like the TV Series of the same name) represent the best of the best, heroically presenting their wearer in their best light and triumphing over other ill-fitting and unflattering under garments.

In other words, these are the exciting, colourful and frilly underwear that you prance around in to attract attention.

The “B Team” panties are the ones that provide comfort, full coverage and sturdy construction. As one of my Facebook friends says, they are “granny and beige.”

They are the ones that last the longest, are reliable and serve a useful purpose beyond just temporary titillation.

These two types of panties are a lot like a political party’s policies. Both are essential for long term success. Are you with me?

The “A Team” policies are the ones that you put out there during an election because they are interesting, appealing and will get that all-important vote out to the ballot box in a flush of excitement.

The “B Team” policies are quietly biding their time, waiting in the wings to do the real work. They “fit” with your values and vision of the future. They are the “workhorse” policies that will get the job done. But, they rarely get the recognition or the appreciation they deserve.

The B Team policies rarely get the recognition they deserve during an election.

During an election, most of the attention is reserved for the “A Team,” mostly because there is a timeline and a deadline for a decision. During the short time frame of an election, it’s the A Team that is “hung out there” to entice voters.

Let’s be clear, neither set of policies should be in conflict with the personality of the party…both need to fit, but each serves a very different purpose.

Perhaps, one day, the “B Team” will get the recognition it deserves. It is always waiting in the wings for its moment of triumph.

Until then, the “A Team” policies are what get people off the couch and interested enough to vote. They are often visceral, passionate and straightforward.

Identifying these two classes of policies and “wearing” them at appropriate times is the secret of a successful political party or campaign. Parties and politicians need to check their underwear drawer (an election is coming!) and make sure they have their panties…er…policies ready.


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