Saturday, January 04, 2014

Thatcher's Ugly Children

The longer a leader stays, the more his or her party takes on the leader's personality. That's certainly the case with Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Andrew Coyne writes that, whatever good news the Conservatives may have to deliver, it gets drowned out by their in your face ugliness:

How could a government presiding over such a strong economy be so unpopular? It is unusual enough for a governing party to fall, and stay, below 30% in the polls. But to do so in good times? Unheard of. And while governments sometimes are obliged to take a hit early in their tenure, traditionally the time for taking tough decisions, it is hard to think of what the Conservatives might have done on the policy front to make them so unpopular.

It seems, rather, to be almost entirely to do with their no-prisoners approach to politics. The criticisms on this front are well known; the point is it is wholly self-inflicted. The Conservatives are in such odium neither by bad luck (as governing in bad times usually amounts to) nor necessity, but by choice. They aren’t an especially bad government. Arguably they’re more competent than most. But they seem almost to have gone out of their way to alienate people.

For it is patently obvious that the party -- like its leader -- doesn't like people. They don't know how to talk to people. They can scold; they can scream; they can deliver snide asides. But they can't carry on a conversation.

That's why the scandals won't go away. Mr. Harper, try as hard as he may, can't put them to bed:

The RCMP will continue to investigate the Senate mess, with charges likely (though possibly not before election day). At some point, too, the Auditor General will report the findings of his examination of senators’ expenses — the same senators who so lately sat in judgement of three of their fellows for abusing theirs.

On another front, later this spring the trial of Michael Sona, the only person to be charged to date in the robocalls affair, gets under way. His lawyer has suggested Mr. Sona is being made to take the blame for a much larger plot. Whether that is true or not, the Conservatives’ handling of the whole matter has been so strange that its return to the headlines can hardly be a welcome development.

A party which was in the least way reflective might consider changing leaders. But the Conservatives are -- in Charlie Angus' apt epithet -- "Thatcher's ugly children." And, so, they will live and die with the ugliest of their brood.


bcwaterboy said...

Andrew Coyne has been on fire this year, literally holding harper's feet to the fire and keeping focused on the fact that the truth is being blatantly hidden in plain site. Despite the scandals, harper's total lack of authenticity, his lack of empathy and his inability to connect make him a poor leadership choice. When a leader makes it all-about-him, he is doomed to fail. As much as I loathe the conservative world view, it is refreshing to see at least some of his ardent followers getting restless, challenge the status quo and show some integrity.

Owen Gray said...

Coyne used to be a Harper supporter, waterboy. But he cottoned on early. He knows that Harper is a phoney conservative.

And he simply points that out -- again and again.

Dave said...

Indeed Andrew WAS a Harper supporter and, from the slant of his opinion piece, still appears to be so.

His suggested metrics of a "strong economy" and "never been stronger" are not borne out by the facts. In short, he's trying to sell Harper as strong on the economy. To demonstrate general population wealth by using "averages" instead of "means" is patently dishonest when one knows the difference ... and young Andrew knows the difference.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Dave. The conservative argument is based on aggregate wealth, not the distribution of it.

For conservatives, how wealth is distributed is irrelevant.

thwap said...

Yes. Competent. Aside from Gerry Ritz, and Peter MacKay, and John Baird, and Bev Oda, and James Moore, ... and Jimbo Flaherty, ... yessirree. Competence.

They're ugly and stupid actually. A vicious combination.

Owen Gray said...

They have a strange definition of competence, thwap. To them, sticking with a failed strategy is a sign of competence.

To Einstein it was the definition of insanity.