Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I know, such a blasphemous thought... but do you really think that calling for each other to play nice is going to prevail upon Harper? His version of cooperation involves you doing what he says...
So for once, do what WE the voters say... form a government that recognizes the voices of 63% of the country instead of 37%... to hell with the separatist rhetoric and posturing... the three of you told us that a Harper government was unacceptable, so you better act like it. Put up or shut up.
Clinton famously said "It's the economy, stupid." Politicians from all sides eagerly co-opted that approach over the last few weeks here in Canada, but I think they got it wrong. Sure, they spoke to what Canadians were most worried about, but you heard it here first: Canadians got it wrong too. Ironically enough, Harper hit the nail on the head when he raised the specter of leadership two years ago in his anti-Dion slamfest almost two years ago. Harper is a great politician, but is not an effective leader, which is exactly why he went out of his way to tear down that part of his opponent.
He has been accused of aping the policies of George Bush, but I disagree. He hasn't quite signed on to the policies, but he sure as hell took entire chapters out of the political playbook. He made it his mission to distort Dion's leadership qualities, thus avoiding a discussion of his own. Bush and Rove were quite good at those kinds of red herrings. Brilliant, really. Many pundits will tell you that Harper's "team" featured weak, under performing ministers that had to take the bulk of their direction from the Prime Minister's Office, and were usually roasted on the national and international stage whenever they spoke their minds. Most would acknowledge that Harper's method of interacting with the opposition parties created one of the most negative House of Commons sessions in history. This was no accident, considering that he released a manual to his caucus that instructed them in the fine art of disrupting parliamentary committees. I could go on, but those of who like Harper will disagree with me no matter what, and those of you would dislike him already agreed with me about six sentences ago. If Harper had been running a company, half of his employees would have quit or been fired long ago, and the company would have folded.
For the record, Dion is a great leader, but a lousy politician. He has surrounded himself with good, quality people that would have formed a very effective and cooperative cabinet. He had good ideas and was not afraid to listen to other people and their ideas, which is a hallmark of good leadership. He trusted his candidates to make the right decisions and not rely too heavily on talking points. The problem is that these are all things good managers/leaders do in business and government, but they are not what smart politicians do. You see, the fact that Harper framed it on leadership, and the fact that Dion effectively failed to debunk Harper's accusations through either debate or smart politicking, is perhaps the biggest failing of the campaign. Some may argue it was the green shift, but I stand by my assertion that it was leadership.
Here's where the rest of Canada dropped the ball. We decry talking points, "gotcha journalism" , poll obsessed pundits and negative campaigning, but fall for all of those things, hook, line, and sinker every time. Dion put himself out there every day, doing hundreds of interviews unscripted, giving us a sample of how open and accountable he would be as a Prime Minister, and most people guffawed and refused to listen through his heavy accent and imperfect English. Conservative supporters called it the "Liberal friendly media", forgetting that their fearless leader chose to restrict press conferences and refuse to take part in any interview that didn't show him the questions in advance.
We all saw the dirty tricks and undemocratic actions that Harper took over the last years, and either shook our heads or called him "decisive". We continually ask for our politicians to stop being politicians, and this election, we actually saw a candidate step forward and be honest, discuss policy, demonstrate transparency, and be a generally poor politician. Our response? We questioned his leadership and decisiveness. I thought we didn't like politicians, so why are we slagging this man for granting us our biggest wish? I can only hope that as the years go by, we stop confusing politicians with leaders.
And this is why it's not the economy, it's leadership. Regardless of who has the better policy ideas, we are electing people who are supposed to lead, and bring us together in concerted action to maintain and build this nation. The leaders who do so will not burn bridges before they are built, and will effectively set aside their egos and delegate the hard jobs to the people that can handle them. We have not seen that for quite some time. Unless the controversial entity of strategic voting rears its ugly head, we will probably get a Conservative minority - and for the moment, we deserve no better.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Photographer: Okay, all the women in front. You with the cleavage, front and centre.
Harper: You sure this won't look too obvious?
Photographer: Look, buddy, you wanna show this "diversity" thing, right? Unless you got more hard-core female party members hiding over in the bushes, you're going to have to make them visible.
Harper: I'm tapped out. Throw me a line, sport.
Photographer: Fine, some of them can go to the right end, but stay near the front. A lot of people read and view pictures clockwise, so they'll register first.
Harper: That's a relief. Now, about the visible minorities.
Visible Minorities: We're standing right here, you know. We can hear you.
Harper: Whatever. You knew what you were getting into when you signed up.
Photographer: Okay, this is a little tricky, because I have even less material to work with... Put two of them near the front and centre, but throw another one into the right so we don't look like we're clustering them too much.
Harper: Why not have one on the left, one in the centre, and one on the right?
Photographer: That's even more obvious. What about the asian?
Harper: He's not that visible. Let him blend with the rest. People can play "where's Waldo" with him if they have the time.
Photographer: Okay, you're the boss, boss. Everybody say "cheese"
Visible Minority: You're telling me.
A cheap shot? Maybe... but just because Dion is being the better person, doesn't mean I have to be. This little work of fiction won't hurt Harper too much, even if people DO end up reading this. Why? Because his www.conservative.ca has him hiding behind the ultimate shield:
Who would dare judge such a well meaning and poised family man?
I wonder what they're watching. Could it be this?
Yep. On that page, they're trashing Dion for not knowing what a car pool is, and using a chauffer to drive... Which would be fair except for the part where he is colour blind and thereby doesn't drive for safety reasons... And likely knows about car pooling but not the English word for it. I'm getting pretty sick of him getting trashed for struggling with English... it is the cheapest of shots.
Dumbest question of the day award goes to this link:
WHY does Dion use the same plane used in the last three liberal elections, even though it is a gas guzzler? Could it be that he hates the environment? The answer is simpler. The Liberal Party can't afford a new one. Embarrassing, yes, but hardly a deliberate swipe against the environment.
I'm not a huge fan of Dion. I'm not a huge detractor either. I just can't stand the idiocy of the conservative attack dog campaign.
It gets better... from CTV news online...
In an exclusive interview aired today on CTV's Question Period, Harper said he expects a nasty election campaign.
"To be really honest, I anticipate a very nasty, kind of personal-attack campaign," he told Lloyd Robertson, CTV's chief news anchor and senior news editor, taped Saturday at Harrington Lake.
"That's just what I'm anticipating; that's what the opposition has done in the past. I think that whether Canadians agree with what we're doing or not, I don't think they're going to believe the kind of personal attacks and scare tactics that we've seen in the past."Puh-lease.
If all of the insulting "not a leader" attacks against Dion haven't been "personal", I'll eat my socks. He has a lot of gall to predict a "nasty" "personal attack" campaign from the other parties when he has been the one to set the tone. He never stopped campaigning, even after being elected 2.5 years ago.
I hope that Canadians see through his false "leadership" argument, and vote Harper and Co. out of office...
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I swear, these guys have identified everything as "liberal", using the term like a swear word... and were quick to identify John McCain as a man who would clean up "liberal Washington"... forgetting that it's been Republican-dominated for the 6 of the last eight years in both congress and the oval office.
But hey, facts don't matter.
And don't forget, telling Americans that Obama is going to tax the hell out of the country and increase the size of government doesn't have to be true. It just has to stay on message from the last 8 tired years.
Last but not least, they seem to have a propensity for claiming sole rights to strong leadership and patriotism.
Do you know what sucks? There is a 50-50 chance this might work.
You know what sucks more? Here in Canada, Harper could pull off that same kind of BS as well.
I think I'm going to sick.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
It sure looks painful to me. Too bad the tagline of "Steven Harper - Not actually as relaxed and laid-back as he would like to carefully portray" isn't as catchy and simple as "Stephane Dion: Not a leader." Too bad that the former is true and the latter is a complete crock.
- ▼ 2008 (5)