In which I rebut his rebuttal to my rebuttal. TDH writes:
• Where the poll that demonstrates the public anger or doubt in Stephen Harper's character that Mr. Murphy is alluding to? Quite frankly, I have yet to see that kind of sentiment outside of the Liberal caucus and certain media outlets. The strength that Harper was able to show in the recent polling on leadership qualities will not be reversed because of the Navdeep Bains comments. Was it slimy politics? Once again, absolutely. That does not, however, translate into resonance within the general public.
Here is a poll that shows displeasure with Harper's behavior with respect to Navdeep Bains:
Last Wednesday in the House of Commons, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper relied on a newspaper article to link the relative of a Liberal Member of Parliament to the ongoing criminal investigation into the 1985 Air India bombings. Do you approve or disapprove of Harper using the newspaper article in this manner?
Not sure 19%
I suppose you could argue that this disapproval does not equate to a lingering doubt re Harper's character. That, however, is why the same point must be repeated and amplified. TDH again:
• Calling Harper "mean" and/or a "bully" is a public display of weakness. Politics is a rough and tumble game, and while I don't suggest using the same kind of tactics that Harper is employing, I certainly don't think that complaining about them is the way to go.
If this is a quibble over the terminology employed, then I agree with you. A "bully" is what you call somebody who has just kicked the crap out of you. A sign of weakness, as you suggest. But I still think it was right for Harper to have been called to account on this issue, and vigorously. I think what he did in the house was more accurately described as "cowardly", however. He would have been sued had he tried this any other place. Had it been me, I would have dubbed him a coward hiding behind the petticoats of parliamentary procedure.
In any case, if the next election is going to be fought on character issues (and it will be at least in part), then the Libs are going to have to find bad things to say about Harper's character. Luckily, his past (and hopefully future) words/actions provide a road-map.
• Part of the reason that the Conservatives are finding it so easy to hug the middle and come across as "almost as liberal as the Liberals" is because the Liberal party has not defined or owned one issue in the past three months.
For the most part I agree with you. Although I think Dion has made a start with fixing that problem here and, since I don't think that it was the Liberals platform that lost them the 2006 election, I am not as perturbed as you seem to be that these are not really new policies, although hopefully some new policies will also be forthcoming.
• Attempting to define Harper this late in the game is going to be very difficult. And, if there is a firm plan in place to frame the Prime Minister in a particular light, the Harper is scary/mean/despicable type of character assassination isn't going to work.
Again, if the election turns at all on questions of Leadership and character, then Liberals will have to be able to hit back on that issue. "Can Canada really trust a man like this with a majority?" is a perfectly legitimate line of questioning. Finally, TDH concludes:
• Policy talks, rhetoric walks. Trying to "recall the 'scary' Stephen Harper, and...draw him from his lair" won't match up well with the kind of spending announcements that are being doled out, and the types of investments that are expected in the upcoming budget. And without much to go on in terms of backing up that type of approach, the Liberals will look desperate and even worse, out of touch.
For what it's worth, those are my opinions. The Liberals would be wise right now to bring forth some ammunition in terms of ideas/plans/policies before continuing to shoot at such a well-fortified opponent.
I can't really disagree with any of this. Hopefully, the Libs have other cards (in the way of crafted policies) that they are able to play. I just think they would be fools not to play this card.
PS. This would all be alot easier if you had a comments section.