Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Taking The Harper Road



The NDP released its first real attack ad yesterday. It could have been produced in the Conservative war room -- at least it looked a lot like what has come out of that war room in the last five years. Lawrence Martin writes:

It comes with an ominous voiceover. It shows the prime minister in an unflattering pose – sweating like a dog.

And it takes on the notion that Harper is a superb manager, something he has been repeating -- nationally and internationally -- every chance he gets. Unquestionably, Harper has had a run of good luck. But the policies he has championed have actually weakened Canada's financial position:

On the deficit question the Conservatives can be more fairly attacked because of their exorbitant pre-recession spending which wiped out much of the surplus left by the Paul Martin Liberals. In addition, the government’s elimination of two percent of the GST – a move opposed by the great majority of economists – cut a giant hole in revenues, making the deficit far worse than it would have been.

So, Martin writes, Harper had it coming. The question is: Is this kind of advertising good for our politics? My wife and I live on the north shore of Lake Ontario. We are bracing for the steady drumbeat of political advertising that will cross the water from New York State after Labour Day. It gets nastier with every election cycle. And it's non-stop.

The United States is politically paralyzed. Are we headed for the same fate?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

The growing attack ads falling outside election campaigns are not a surprise, are they? While the Bob Rae is claiming the moral high ground at this point, it's only a matter of time before his party is are playing the same game as the Conservatives and NDP. We're seeing the proof of Mr. Harper's claim that he will change Canada to the extent that it's unrecognizable.

Owen Gray said...

I fear you're right, Anon. The problem is that contempt breeds more contempt, until -- like Weimar Germany -- democracy is paralyzed. Then some "rough beast slouches its way toward Bethlehem."

thwap said...

Owen,

Politics won't be paralyzed if the right-wing is destroyed politically.

Something the Liberals were entirely incapable of doing.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that, if the Harper party was destroyed politically, the country would be better off, thwap.

But I'm not sure the NDP strategy will do that. If contempt breeds contempt, the Harper supporters will dig in their heels, refusing to see the future -- exactly what the Liberal Party has done.

And things will get nastier.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I am not a fan of negative ads that are personal attacks. With Harper you do not have to go this route. There are plenty of his governments progams that have and will have negative effects. Ads should need only point these out.

I think the present austerity economic program will be his downfall. As the economy worldwide gets worse Canada's economy will decline. The government cutting of programs and laying off of civil servants will only add to the decline and contribute to unemployment. The Conservatives may find themselves having to reverse their policy and offer a stimulus program. Although they may stick to their ideological position and make the country suffer more than necessary. They gave us a stimulus program last time only because the opposition seemed ready to defeat them in a minority government.

Anonymous said...

We saw what happens to the party that didn't fight back, leader after leader crushed, Dion, Iggy, Rae. People don't want to vote for wimps, they want to vote for winners, someone strong enough to fight back, someone strong enough to fight the bullies, and to protect the innocent from rightwing thieves.

It is unfortunate that its comes to this, but life isn't always fair, Canada needs the Grizzily.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Philip. There is plenty of evidence of the damage the Harper government has done.

The problem with these kinds of ads is that they are ad hominem attacks.

It's all about a person, not about a policy. Researchers tell us that the ads work in the short term. But, in the long term, our democracy is sabotaged.

Beijing York said...

I'm not sure whether the UK Greens gained seats or not in the last election but I love this campaign ad:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/video/2010/apr/12/green-party-ad

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Anon. Canada really needs a grizzly. But what did the Liberals in was their fear of going into an election.

They purposely made sure not enough members were in the House at crunch time. In effect, they helped pass the government's agenda.

Canadians know a paper tiger when they see one.

Owen Gray said...

What a fantastic ad, Bejing. I don't know how the Greens did in Britain.

But i do know that David Cameron's Conservatives didn't win a majority. I suspect that ad had something to do with it.

Besides being effective, it's an example of superb political advertising.

Thanks for the link.

Gloria said...

I agree with the grizzly theory.

You can't rationalize someone who isn't rational. I see no rationale in Harper, what-so-ever.

We have to have someone with the guts to slap Harper down, very hard. Mulcair doesn't take any crap from Harper. I can't see someone like Justin Trudeau taking any guff from Harper either. Elizabeth May doesn't pull any punches, when she gets the opportunity to smack Harper.

There is no way, people can be polite and reasonable with Harper. That he doesn't understand. When Harper runs out of dirty tactics, lies, deceit, dirty politics and backed into a corner, he will go. Some of his true Conservative ministers, are not too happy with Harper. He has given the Conservative party, a very black eye. Harper has dragged Canada into a deep abyss of corrupt mud.

Owen Gray said...

Agreed, Gloria. Harper will continue to act like a bully. And, as long as he has the votes, he'll continue to bully his opponents.

But the battle over the budget exposed cracks in the Conservative caucus.

The more the opposition refuses to knuckle under, the bigger those cracks will get.

ck said...

I was comparing the visuals, sound, overall layout of both the Harper's NDP attack ad, and the NDP's retaliation ad. It's spooky how (aesthetically, that is) they resemble each other. I was thinking they used the same firm!

I contend that attack ads are really a guilty pleasure for most. Much like disco. No one wants to admit out loud they like it, but in private....whole different ball game. Proof is they work like a charm.

NDP didn't have a choice and given the limited resources, they had to zero in on one thing. Why not economics? It's the foremost important thing on voters' minds, poll after poll has shown. Harper, with the help of the media have touted over and over again that they have the best economic record. Why not poke holes in that?

Will it work with voters (I mean, outside of NDP partisans)? Not so sure. Why? Because when international media and the like tout Canada as being the best off in the G-7 or G-8 or something like that, that is all that matters in the mind of a Canadian of complacent arrogance.

AS for Bob RAe trying to take the high road, may I remind him that taking the high road for Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff didn't work so well for them. Nor did it work for John Kerry when running against Bush in 2004, for that matter.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, the high road doesn't seem to work anymore, ck. Perhaps that says more about us than the political parties.

Mogs said...

Owen,

My dear friend I hate to bring this up but thwap said above "
Politics won't be paralyzed if the right-wing is destroyed politically."

As much as I like thwap and his blog, umm... their will be no peace in this world when people divide along lines left or right....

read this it was a CIA war from the right against the left...

And consipracized [sic] by all NATO countries to be secret...

What? It can't be right and it is still ongoing...

Today...

LINK: http://www.google.ca/search?q=Gladio%20natos%20secret%20wars&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&source=hp&channel=np

This is just a historian telling us about our past>

What does our collective future hold when NATO has out lived its usefulness but expanding?

Owen Gray said...

I tried connecting to that link, Mogs, but Google came up empty. Perhaps there's another title that will work.

There's always been a division between right and left. But at crunch time, both sides used to be able to put country first and work through their differences. The last time we really did that was when we repatriated the constitution.

Now politics is all about personalities before policies. And the damage that does is apparent in the United States. Even after the Supreme Court ruled Healthcare constitutional, the Republicans voted yesterday to repeal it.

It's a vicious cycle.

Mogs said...

Mogs;

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/sociopol_gladio.htm

This link might expain..

Owen Gray said...

The page is a little rough and requires translation, Mogs; but, if I've got the right link, it seems to me that what is highlighted is extremely important.

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. - Albert Einstein

We're dealing with a consciousness problem.

Mogs said...

Yes sir we are...

Anonymous said...

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/GAN412A.html

This should do it.

Owen Gray said...

I understand your pessimism, Mogs. But I hope we can learn from America's mistakes.

Owen Gray said...

If the allegations in the piece are true, Anon, they're deeply disturbing.

They go way beyond our concerns about how Stephen Harper is handling the economy.