Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Sad State of Affairs


Susan Delacourt writes that the Conservative proposal for leaders debates is a shining example of what she calls Harperology 101:

He likes rules, as long as he’s making them, not so much when others do. (See Supreme Court of Canada rulings, independent watchdogs, etc.) His Conservative candidates have been no-shows at election debates in their ridings for years now, through several elections. And of course, Harper is famously and proudly dismissive of the mainstream media. Add that all up, and what other outcome would we expect when confronted with the mainstream, broadcast media making the rules for the TV debates?

For ten years he has been making the rules about communicating with Canadian voters. And, so far, his formula has been successful. Jeffrey Simpson writes:

The Conservatives are focused not on broadening their base but activating the base they have. With perhaps one exception. Conservative support seems to have widened in Quebec, where the issues of terrorism and identity politics around Muslim women’s head coverings, and the recruiting of several high-profile candidates, have helped.

The Conservatives need about 40 per cent of the national electorate to win. They benefit hugely from a split vote between the Liberals and New Democrats, a split that is not disappearing as the NDP gains ground in polling data and by winning the government in Alberta.

Split opposition is exactly what a party with a dedicated and motivated core vote needs. The party with such a core doesn’t even think much about the other 60 per cent of the electorate. It wants its own hard core to coalesce by fearing some of the 60 per cent (the other parties return the favour by scaring their supporters with the thought of another Conservative government): social liberals, secularists, tax-and-spenders, Big Government lovers, CBC-watchers, “elites” of all kinds.

The Conservatives know how to craft a message. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Reinforce everything all the time. Make the party’s four themes lock together: balanced budget, low taxes, smaller government, personal security. Mix in a little patriotism and Stephen Harper as a tried and trusted leader, and you have the Conservative campaign long before the election is called. All parties try tight messaging; the Conservatives do it best.

It's a supremely cynical approach to politics. By appealing to Canadian stupidity, he wins -- a truly sad state of affairs.


Anonymous said...

The Harper Conservatives know how to craft a message. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Reinforce everything all the time. Make the party’s four themes lock together: balanced budget, low taxes, smaller government, personal security.
-Jeffrey Simpson

Compare and contrast the campaigns of the BC Liberals 2 years ago and the Progressive Conservatives in Alberta 2 weeks ago for how true this is.

Owen Gray said...

The formula for success is "Dumb It Down," Anon.

Mogs Moglio said...

So when 42% of public funding goes to the con party 28% goes to the Liberals 18.4% goes to the NDP 18.4 goes to the Bloc and 4.1% goes to the Greens how is that a fair and balanced election?

Forget about voter Id unless you are a Con you won't be able to vote. They will send their thugs out to keep you out.

So what happened and how to get out here said the Joker to the King?

It is going to be hard to beat this Harper-con 'steam roller' but we must.

Nothing to cheer about,

Owen Gray said...

Correct, Mogs. Nothing to cheer about.

Anonymous said...

What he is appealing to is ignorance, not stupidity, and this is an ignorance our national media is fully culpable for, and underscores why having so few powerful Conservative entities owning all but the CBC (and now Harper has taken it over with his people even that is seriously damaged) was inherently dangerous for our society and political health. As angry as I may be with the reporters, I strongly suspect it is their producers and editors who are the ones really calling the shots, and that they are acting under orders from top brass within their institutions. This is a government held to a far less critical standard than any prior government in my living memory, and I suspect in the living memory of the oldest Canadian citizen. THAT is why I say it is ignorance, not stupidity, and it is deliberately created ignorance.

Most voters expect that major issues, conflicts of interest, and serious scandals will make major waves in the news media, for that is their job, as well to explain WHY these are important, yet we have NOT been seeing that happen under the Harperium, no we have seen if anything the fucking OPPOSITE happening from far too many supposedly objective journalists. Most voters also do not know/care enough about process issues to understand why Harper is as dangerous and as poisonous for all of us, and again, without a national media willing to explain this and hold Harper to the same standards all his predecessors were, they cannot truly understand what we engaged political types can see so clearly.

The partisanship of many on the left who seem to still feel that the Liberals are more dangerous than the Harper CPC despite the last decade showing just how much worse they are on policy, principles, substance, and process/political operations for core NDP values is one of the most infuriating aspects of this for me, as I have made clear many a time. We know that even to this day they care more about beating Trudeau and the Libs than Harper, when the Libs have a good ad against the CPC/Harper on government ads what does the NDP do? In a day or two at that? Do they attack on the same line against the sitting government and reinforce it? No, they go out of their way to try and weaken the message and attack the Libs equally with it, and even make their currently leader somehow responsible for events he wasn't even an MP when they occurred. THAT shows where their priorities truly are.

to be concluded...

Anonymous said...


Of course the CPC understand their need, or did it escape the attention of everyone that starting several months ago suddenly their various shills and partisans were talking up Mulcair and the NDP's "principled" opposition while trashing the Libs alone? I sure didn't, and the Harper CPC machine does NOTHING without it being designed to maximize their winning chances, which should have told the NDP something, but did they mind, nope.

I blame the NDP for not joining the Libs a decade ago and since in making clear what Harper truly was, and what made him uniquely dangerous to ALL of us, not just progressive, not just centrists, and not even for most true Canadian Conservatives for that matter. No, they AIDED in the ignorance, not stopped it, and for a decade continued to equate the CPC and the Libs, despite the normalizing effect it had, and the furthering of that ignorance.

So it is no surprise the average voter is as ignorant as they are between the abandonment of their roles in informing them from both the Official Opposition and the national news media. The reason I get so angry is because while stupidity is not correctable, ignorance is, and therefore leaving things as they are *IS* *A* *CHOICE*! The journalists may be muzzled by their bosses and fear for their livelihoods, the Official Opposition/NDP though has no such excuse, and morally/ethically they were obligated to protect us from this instead of allowing it to perpetuate because it appeared to be in their narrow electoral partisan interests. For a party that claims to be the only trustworthy party with power their record over the past decade with the choices they made certainly appear to show the opposite I would submit, especially on aiding the ignorance the CPC and Harper have needed to get as far as he/they have to date.

The Libs for all their faults have been the party consistently trying to get people to understand what Harper really is, and for that they have been constantly pilloried. Given what Harper is, I think the fact they have stayed focused on the real threat to us all is one of the best arguments for why the anti-Harper vote should center around them this time out. I hope and pray enough Canadians finally get this and act.


Owen Gray said...

It's been awhile now since our parties have placed country ahead of personal gain, Scotian. Perhaps the last time they did that was during the repatriation of the constitution.

We could certainly use some of that spirit now.

Mogs Moglio said...


You certainly speak/write with passion. I agree with you and to be clique "ignorance is bliss" people think every thing is great. Ya well guess what kiddos wait till Harper and his criminal gang get another chance at the wheel of the HMS Canada. Then you will be truly sorry for not getting out and voting ABC.