Wednesday, March 07, 2007

TDH Strikes Back!

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?

Approve 23%

Disapprove 57%

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.

More TDH:

• 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.

TDH again:

• 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.

20 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

Don't even think about asking Jonathan for a comments section. It's been beaten to death. (And uh, dont call what he runs a "blog" either. That's a swear word for him ;)

Anonymous said...

You know Harper has run on a vision that he is a man of integrity and I think a Facts vs Fiction would be the best way to go.

YouTube is one way - show what Harper said and show what "really" is the truth. Also in ad campaign. Not childish namecalling but Facts. Show him to be the liar he is. Show what double-standard he lives by.

rockfish said...

`He has a mirror where a 'comment button' use to be... While I agree with much of your suggestions, I think we need to remember that the policy is being honed right now and will come out for the election... Otherwise Harpor will pull out his handy paint can and gloss over some other program and call it what we're going to do.
He's a liberal thief better than we are...

Holly Stick said...

Harper is a misogynist and his government is opposed to women's equality. Pay a little more attention to the greater half of the population.

As for Dion, despite his problems with English, he has a twinkle in his eye which is much more attractive than Harper's empty eyes. I noticed it in his interview on The Hour. Liberals should contrast this to Harper's vicious streak.

Ti-Guy said...

Gotta admit, it's a dilema. When a good portion of society (amplified by the corporate media) thinks lying, being mean/vicious and being regressive amounts to genius, trying to appeal to them with virtue and integrity can seem a very daunting task.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Holly! I hope Dion is listening to the wise women in his life (political and personal) when it comes to strategy.

I've noticed these "strategy" sessions tend to be a lot of guys shooting the crap (I mean that loosely, not that some of the ideas aren't good).

It's even worse at blogging tories, where as you read you can almost smell the stale, drying beer in the frathouse basement (which I have some distant experience with as well, regretably).

Your response, BigCityLIb, is spot on.

I don't think anyone is arguing the Liberals shouldn't start promoting detailed policies and acts to flesh out their vision and take the lead on initiatives. That HAS to happen!

But I think it's ridiculous to give Harper a free pass. He has a habit of strategically flip-flopping on any issue, he outright lies in promoting his position, and he demeans the legislative process by muzzling his own caucus and lashing out at any opportunity.

Going right at his shear petulance / meanness cannot be the entire strategy, but it had damn well better be part of it - in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

I know its an old cliche, but how do you think Bush got away with it for so long? He was able to because the Democrats spent the first 5 years being afraid of their own shadows, always trying to be Bush-lite. It failed miserably, and they didn't recover until they found their voices again. It wasn't just the war, it was that suddenly the US had a choice again.

I would rather Goodale stand up every day and call Harper a liar to his face (because he is) while Dion constantly and calmly reminds everyone there is a better way to govern for all of Canada.

And any wedge and divide issues spewed forth from Harper and company, of which there will be plenty more instances, should be slammed vigorously and immediately and repeatedly.

Conservatives seem to like the seed analogy. Well, in this case, the seeds of Harper's willingness to sling and sleep in the mud when things don't go his way have already grown into a pretty formidable shrub (hence his difficulty in making real headway in the polls).

To suddenly pretend that barrier is just part of the landscape would be stupid.

Holly Stick said...

Ti-guy "virtue and integrity" may be a little hard to believe in for almost any politician; however humanity and good-natured humour are much more appealling than spite and bile, except perhaps to fratboys as anon points out. Don't let the fratboys run the show, they will screw it up. Most Canadians are not fratboys.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if the blogging liberals would quit downgrading mR.dION and brag about him instead and if we could get Ndp Bob Rae out of Ontario...I think these steps would change things around..The cons know they are no further ahead than they were but they are making you believe they are and you are believing it...Its like having a hundred kinsellas' and Copps' tearing us down..Mr.Bryant did not give that report to the media ..it was someone crooked in our party and i will bet you it was a member of the rae team as they HATED losing it.

Ti-Guy said...

There's nothing unscrupulous about calling a liar...a liar.

I'll take up anon's remark about the failure of the Democrats, and remark that the liberals/lefties in this country have never had an over-weening concern about decorum, propriety or prissy good manners. Respect is given when it is earned, and, this being Canada, each and every one of us is just a short bus trip away from scrambling in the bush and wallowing in the mud, despite the pretensions of some urban, latte-sipping Liberals.

Red Tory said...

The sorry fact of the matter is that there’s not a tremendous difference in practice between the Democratic establishment and that of the Republican mainstream.

Anonymous said...

YouTube is great. The smackdowns of Liberals on there are EVERYWHERE. But you'll never see them on the MSM i.e. the Communist Broadcasting Corp. Funny we haven't seen much in question period on CBC, except those rare occassions when they can slant something against Harper, out of context, of course.

And ti-guy, there's lots of people here who are real geniuses, too.

Anonymous said...

Here's a good one.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxoJS6DShEc

Yaletowner said...

interesting discussion, I'm sure the pros running Mr. Dion's office will heed the advice.

Anonymous said...

Ti Guy,

I am the one who talked about Dems in the US. I think it is still a valid reference, more as a cautionary note than a statement of destiny.

I think you took what I said as disagreeing with you, and I didn't mean it that way. I'm not sure what the latte-sipping reference was - perhaps you could enlighten?

I didn't say Liberals couldn't play tough - I think calling a liar a liar is pretty fair game, as I said in my post.

I just think the Liberals have to offer more than just that, especially if they intend to show LEADERSHIP on how political dialogue should occur while defending themselves from the sucker punches.

But my point is I wasn't disagreeing with your post. I was just offering my opinion - and hoping someone who knows someone (since I know no one ; ) will pass it on.

Anonymous said...

You can smell the bitterness and frustrated anger over the 'net.

Was it Sheila Copps who said "it was an election promise; nobody expects you to keep those."

You gut the military and complain when somebody calls you on it. You use that money to fund all the radical left-wing social programs which turn out to be failures. You claim to be fiscally responsible , until Sheila Fraser gets on your case, then you "have no memory or knowledge of that issue whatsoever".

Canada's international ranking has dropping in the 13 years since you Liars destroyed our reputation, with mealy-mouthed talk of soft power, persuasion, peace-keeping and plain old whining. Blame everything on the U.S., no matter what.

Soft on crime? You've instead sought to INCREASE the criminal population, and then granted them the ability to vote while in prison. It seems that stacking the judiciary with a majority of leftys for the last 30 years just isn't enough for you; it has to be every single one. Otherwise the system is 'poisoned'. Give me a break.

Canadians see through your lies, twisted social experiments and criminal activities, and your sociology professor is going out of his way to fit in as the archetypal lying, hypocritical, flip-flopping, two-faced eastern bigot who will do anything for power. You neo-Libs have turned what had once been a legitimate, patriotic, and honourable political party into a disgusting cabal of left-wing ideologues and criminals, scooping up money and power along the way for yourselves and your friends. You no longer act in the interests of Canada, but only in the interests of your small percentage of radical core supporters. Pay each of them off with political favours. That's the Liberal Party of Canada today and of the last 13 years. The Chretien, Martin, and Dijon years will go down as the darkest, slimiest years in Canadian political history.

Tania said...

I went to convention as an undeclared delegate, which afforded me the time and luxury of meeting most of the candidates prior to convention and gave me a lot of time to think about where I wanted to park my one vote.

I met with Mr. Dion and within the 15 minutes we had together over tea and cookies, I found him to be an amazingly articulate man.

I'm from BC and after reading many blogs deriding his English, I found I understood everything he said.

He made a believer in me and I think if the average Canadian sees in Dion what I saw in him, they'd come from the dark side as well.

Holly made reference to the twinkle in his eye. That's the passion he has for his country and it's always there!

After the convention was over, a friend and I sat in the convention hall absorbing the enormity of what happened.

We were approached by a reporter who saw the Kennedy tamborine I had, swag given in exchange for a green Dion scarf, and asked me how I feel about my second choice winning and the negativity began. "People are saying Dion won't be understood and can't win because of his English."

My response was, "I'm from BC and I've had the opportunity to meet Stephane a couple of times. I have full confidence he can win an election. His English wasn't a problem for me. It's issues that he'll win on. His passion for social justice, economic sustainability and the environment reasonate with Canadians."

I have never been prouder to be a member of the Liberal party than I am now because I think we have a leader that represents the values and ideals that Canadians hold dear. We are the country of social responsibility and looking out for each other. For some reason, lately, we're told these are things we should be ashamed of, under this government.

I firmly believe that there are policies being developed that we, as members, don't know and for good reason. Harper's re-branded so many Liberal policies it's laughable. Why let him in on our election platform too?

I've attended the group-think sessions with MHF, Rae and Brison and I believe these three, along with Kennedy and the rest of the Liberals are developing something we won't see until the writ is dropped.

The best defense is a good offence, they say. Everytime Harper is in front of the cameras, Canadians question his sincerety.

Once Dion is in front and he's talking about issues he's passionate about, the average Canadian will understand why he was the "compromise" choice.

If not, well, quite frankly, then this country wouldn't deserve him. That's something I can live with too.

Dion has been under-estimated before, to the chagrin of Layton and the media. But election by team is the best way to go. Harper can't be everywhere.

I would love to be in a riding where I've had a conservative representative and ask them why they never once spoke up.

That's something each person taking on a sitting Con MP can ask. Why are they only hearing from them now, when they want to be re-elected and haven't heard anything for a year. Is that the type of representation they want in Ottawa?

Anyway, I'm babbling but I think too many liberals are focusing on the negatives without accentuating the positive.

PS: I like Ignatieff in question period too. Instead of one man steering a ship, Dion has everyone doing various tasks. It shows a team willing to work as opposed to one man wanting to dictate.

Manitoba Liberal said...

The Harper is an evil so/neo con stuff has been paying reduced dividends since 2004. We got a slim minority win and a loss out of it, so I think we need to be expecting more of a strategy if we hope to win with such a weak leader like Dion in place.

As much a hard core Liberals like ourselves hate to admit it, but the majority of Canadians are not terrified of Harper, so we need strong policy across the board to appeal to voters.

Ti-Guy said...

Anon 5:22

I think you took what I said as disagreeing with you, and I didn't mean it that way. I'm not sure what the latte-sipping reference was - perhaps you could enlighten?

No, no. I agreed with you. I was just adding that I've found the Democrats in the last 6 years to be cringingly wimpy. I understand how they end up being that way (can't propose popular social democratic policies like single-payer health care because they'll be denounced as Stalinists, etc.), but they're going to have to overcome that.

I simply meant to say that I don't believe in good manners or civility as ends in themselves. Manners and civility are fine to keep a civilised dialogue going, but nothing obligates you to maintain decorum when you are being smeared, lied about, being scolded and yelled at as if you're a child or threatened.

The Conservatives/conservatives in this country need to understand that point. Or they'll never get anywhere. If they didn't have such sympathetic press, they'd still be in opposition.

Harpies don't scare me, never have, never will. They irritate me and they inspire no confidence whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess Anon 5:17 got everything of their propaganda chest.

I watched David Akin say on Mike Duffy that he's talked with Dion and said Dion has a much better, witty sense of humour than Harper and is very smart, etc. He thinks people just have to get to know him.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, and Dion is waaay cooler than Harper, cuz his dog's named Kyoto, and he's got a suweet iPod, and he's, like, sooooooo popular with all the really cool people. Amy said so, and Britni thinks so too, and they're ubercool, so, like, Dion forever. Being PM is all about being cool and funny.