Thursday, September 24, 2009
I don't care about polls -- isn't that always the way when the numbers aren't great? -- but there is no denying that Harper and his CONs are feeling some wind in their sails by the latest numbers.
When you've got an unlimited access to advertising dollars (and a public that seems apathetic to how its tax dollars are being finagled), multiple opportunities each week to roll out the late Ed McMahon's novelty-sized chequebook around the country looking like a Santa saviour, plus the attitude that the ends always justify the means, there's perfect reason for Harper to be pushing close to majority territory.
Of course, Parliament hasn't really sat since the late spring and historically Harper and his hitmen have proven to be hamfisted when it comes to working under the press gallery's hot lights.
None of their mistakes have proven fatal; the media has been all-too-easily distracted to not push on the In-and-Out (unless there's great visuals like RCMP and scurrying scaliwags emerging from the CON headquarters), the Cadman tapes and now the blatant favouritism of government money to CON cabinet ministers' ridings.
All that said, there is plenty I find wrong with how the Liberal party is handling its opportunities and job.
Ignatieff has tried, with some minor success, to change the tone and not play the same full-contact, no-rules-barred game of gutter politics that the CONs take so much pleasure in. His ads, while looking solid, fell short of creating an impact. In fact, I never saw one on TV, only on YouTube. At the same instance, the CONs ramped up their anti-Ignatieff and balderdash coalition concoction.
While Harper has more mud on himself and tarnished his 'leadership' image by constantly playing it partisan at all costs, it hasn't proven damaging enough to turn public opinion wholeheartedly against him.
Ignatieff, on the other hand, hasn't benefited (yet) from his strategic placement on the high road -- and he may never if he doesn't find his game.
Perhaps the Liberals need to rekindle that energy and intensity that helped them crawl out of the hole in the 1980s, when the Rat Pack hit the Mulroney government often and hard. It wasn't always pretty, nor always effective, but it created a lasting image. There is negative backlash one risks, but apparently the public is willing to forgive what they see as mutual mudthrowing. While I don't think Ignatieff needs to be throwing tough and loud accusations at Harper at all times, but certainly it could be good use of some of his soldiers.
I'm not suggesting we stoop to his level in all areas -- you don't go chasing the same possum when the other dog's off barking. But there are plenty of areas and plenty of past quotes that Harper can't completely wash away with a distracting photo op.
John Kerry's campaign attempted to 'ride above' the lies and dastardly storylines that the Bush/Cheney team threw at him, and even now history from the media's point of view is that he was a failure candidate. Nevermind that he would have been 10x the president than Bush, nevermind that he was 20x the person that anyone in the Republican party had on its frontlines, Kerry's presidential run is filed under 'flop.'
We have to face facts -- the CONs have an army of people who hate Liberals to the point where they'll cut brake lines and inciting rebellion against parliamentary procedure. They spread lies and attempt to demolish all the great things that Liberals have done to make Canada fairer, more compassionate and prosperous nation. When you are fighting the likes of those, you can't be playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules. When they are aiming below the belt, you need to be ready to use the same tactic when the opportunity unfolds. But it has to be now -- pulling it out in the late stages of an election campaign harkens to a desperate, hail paul martin moment.
I think its time to take off the gloves and give back what's been given. It won't completely eliminate 'the high road' if its framed as showing Harper for who he really is. It's time people are reminded exactly what he stands for -- making Canada into a completely different nation that has no room for compassion, no heart for action.
JUST TO ADD: I definitely believe this is a major step in the right direction -- feeding stats and photo ops with well-versed statements which shine on the Harper hypocrisy and secret agenda needs to continue. Kudos to Gerard Kennedy for turning up the heat.
Posted by rockfish at 11:20 PM
Saturday, September 19, 2009
In his own words, Stephen Harper praised the actions and decisions of Liberal prime ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin in keeping Canada out of the deregulatory mess and overall greed of the foreign banking sector, despite having whined and complained over their wise and grounded stewardship...
"None of the roots of the recession (which can be traced back to the early 90s race to loosen banking oversight and ease access to credit) are to be found in Canada."
"Canada's management of its economy and financial system proved that "Canada got it right."
Bravo, Mr. Chretien and Mr. Martin. Bravo!
Posted by rockfish at 12:11 AM
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Pretend that Stephen Harper is the opposite of what you know:
He's wickedly sharp, a shrewd, clever man who turns a weakness into a strength and a strength into a weakness. This week's 'leak' of a speech to the faithful in the Soo was a clever planting of a disruptive seed. Harper knows that once a plot is put out into the public, it can sometimes go sideways.
This time, he has two results that would fit his purposes.
A) the opening salvo of wanting a majority, the stating of the obvious, is meant to hit the voting populace like a placebo, creating a few moments of gasps and shock but like his first-day declaration on the 2006 campaign, that he'd bring same-sex marriage back to parliament for a vote if elected, it was orchestrated pre-writ to dull the fears of many fence sitters.
And B), it also shifted the focus onto his manchurian candidate, the bogus coalition argument. Never mind the fact that he had a coalition plan of his own against the Martin government, with the same boogiemen. By putting forward the trojan horse scenario, it mobilizes his own team and also a portion of the ill-informed and ignorant. It also creates a divisive anger -- if you remember last election, there were incidents of more than sign stomping; some criminal-minded (supporters of one particular party, no doubt) folks were out cutting brake lines and vandalizing houses. Democracy is no longer a game of fair play, now its warfare under this Stalin wannabe. When Harper uses inflamed language, calling any government that isn't led by his 'a coalition of socialists and separatists', its meant to raise more than just the temperature of debate... So much for Canada's reputation as a sane, gentle democracy.
On the other hand, if Harper is actually the overstuffed, overrated narcissist as he appears, this 'leak', whether authentic or planted, will turn out like his 'anti-arts' spiel or 'I'm looking for a majority' rant of 2004. It will mobilize people who are tired of mean-spirited, dishonest and uncaring leadership, who will be looking for an honest broker, a positive reason to vote and force the CON team to rethink its focus on salting the Canadian political landscape.
Although the CONs' currently are in the drivers' seat in most polls, so was Paul Martin in 2004 and 2006. In the last two election campaigns, key turning points Harper benefited from came via a co-conspirator -- the RCMP's bogus 'investigation' of an income trust leak, and the 2008 Steve Murphy-Mike Duffy tag team, off-the-record mugging of Stephane Dion.
I believe in a Canada that sets standards that the world can reach, not stoop to. I believe in a Canada that takes care of the less fortunate, not one that spends a fortune to create less.
Stephen Harper's career on tape will end up costing him his job. It can't come soon enough.
Posted by rockfish at 11:25 PM