Friday, June 26, 2015

Another Willy Loman


Stephen Harper believes in marketing. His career has been based on his firm conviction that he can sell anything to Canadians. But, Michael Harris writes, the sales pitch isn't working like it used to:

As we begin the bumpy descent towards the October election (assuming it will be called), there is only one question to be answered: can Harper (assuming he runs) market his way to victory in the most important election in the country’s history?

The PR-as-reality machine has slipped its gears. Consider the economy. Aren’t we really better off with Steve, the CPC fondly asks? Not according to this year’s first quarter numbers for the GDP, which took the country half-way to a recession.

As for balanced budgets — if you go one-for-seven in baseball you end up on the bus that takes you from the bigs to the boonies. It took Harper seven years to balance his first budget.

The picture of Dean Del Mastro making his way in handcuffs and leg irons to a waiting police van blows a hole in the tough on crime sales pitch. A sizable number of Harper's caucus isn't buying it anymore:

Nearly three dozen non-offering MPs — that’s a sizeable percentage of the whole crew. When you add in cabinet lunkers like John Baird, Peter MacKay and James Moore, not to mention small fry like Christian Paradis and Shelly Glover, you have to start wondering about the captain. After all, these people are professional wind-sniffers. They smell defeat.

The man who was hell bent to re-make Canada in his own image is beginning to look like another Willy Loman.


Anonymous said...

All those rats fleeing the sinking ship?

Absolutely not - rather they read the details of their pension plan and are looking after #1. Its a financial decision to avoid getting caught in the class of 2015.

Owen Gray said...

Clearly, it's more profitable to leave than to stay, Anon.

Willy said...

I find that comparison offensive

Owen Gray said...

I'm sorry if you do, Willy. But the comparison was to the original Willy, not to you.

Askingtherightquestions said...

Owen, watch for Harper trying to "play" this election in a new and disturbing way. It has already begun with the election debates. Never one to willingly debate his policies or plans, Harper has taken this to a new low by "refusing" to participate in the main televised debates. Why? The reasons given were non-sensical. He is willing to buy advertising time on the big three networks but won't participate in their televised debates? He hates doing press conferences and will continue to plan only staged, controlled "role outs" across the country with little chance for questions or interaction. Traditionally the incumbent is expected to defend their policies and record -watch how he tries to escape this by avoiding questions/debate on ten years of work.

His ad campaigns have always been "ad hominems" and usually soft on policy. This should give a grand opening to any party willing to slam his atrocious record and offer something better.

Owen Gray said...

During the attack on Parliament Hill, Asking, Harper revealed his character. Compare that to Trudeau the Elder who -- almost forty years ago -- refused to leave his seat at the St. Jean Baptiste Parade. Moreover, Trudeau enjoyed debating his opponents.

Harper simply prefers to hide.

Scotian said...

Askingtherightquestions has a good point. Another would be why was Mulcair so willing to enable Harper in this. I would really like an answer to that question, because even given my own issues with him and the NDP that surprised me. I could have understood being willing to do other venues once he forced Harper back to the Consortium debates, but to give Harper what he wanted on that, I really have to wonder what the HELLS he and his brain trust were thinking, I find this less understandable than I do the Lib decision to support C51, and that was a decision I was not thrilled about either, but at least I could see the logic for it. Not this though. I'm serious Owen, I really find this inexplicable, except in one way, and that is if Mulcair is clearly more focused on trying to beat Trudeau than Harper, and sees trying to make Trudeau look bad as the most important priority so that helping Harper with forums that make it more likely is in his interests. Other than that I cannot come up with any reason that makes ANY sense at all, and I would really love to hear someone try to seriously defend this call from Mulcair and his leadership team.

My point is not that it is wrong to have more venues, my point is that no LOO should EVER give a sitting PM such a favour when he so clearly seeks to change the rules of the game to his advantage, just on principle alone that should have been enough to raise red flags for Mulcair and the NDP brain trust. If the motivation really was to expand debate settings then he should have made his agreement contingent on Harper being at the biggest one, the one that clearly reaches the most people, and where Harper would have the least control over, that being the Consortium debate. Sure it can be dry and boring, but it also was always where most average voters could see all the major leaders together and judge for themselves what they thought. This was an IMPORTANT decision, and that Mulcair so swiftly jumped into bed with Harper on this one aside from the idea of ganging up on Trudeau being more important than anything else I can find no reason that makes this make any real sense,can you?

I'm sorry, I know I tend to be rather harsh and bitter with the NDP these days, but this one, this one I really find hard to understand, and aside from the one reason I listed I can find no explanation, and if Mulcair thinks the need to go after Trudeau here outweighs the damage this decision makes to our wider electoral democracy itself, well doesn't that raise serious legitimate questions as to whether he is fit to be a PM? I was offended enough by Harper trying to game the system this time out to his advantage, but I expect that from him obviously. As much grief as I give the NDP though about having lost their way on principles, I have to admit I was shocked by not just the decision but the speed it was taken by Mulcair to aid and abet Harper in this. There is something seriously wrong here, and aside form the ganging up on Trudeau angle I can think of no reason for Mulcair to go this route, and I can think of a lot, especially on the principled protecting of our democracy grounds why he should not have done it, so why do it and what does it say about his judgment?

I really don't get this one Owen, I really don't, and when I cannot understand something a major political leader does on something this important, I get really perturbed. Even when it is something I virulently dislike, if I can understand it that is one thing, but when I cannot, especially when it appears at odds with what said leader is supposed to stand for, well that makes it that much worse. Harper for all his sins generally stayed open about his goals, the NDP and Mulcair though I am finding less transparent these days, and that worries me.

Owen Gray said...

It's clear there's no love lost between Mulcair and Trudeau, Scotian. It will be interesting to see if they can form a coalition -- something that won't work if they can't get beyond personalities.

lungta said...

"something that won't work if they can't get beyond personalities."
from the reaction to the Trudeau ads around here
he doesn't have a personality
just a script and an inability to get beyond a poly-drone voice
as bad as the "he just isn't ready" con ads are
the feeling is he isn't ready or able
and mulcair just puts people on edge
i've asked several
and they can't finger it
just that they don't like him
....just a new flash from a Buddhist guy on a very conservative street

Owen Gray said...

There are no signs of Trudeaumania where I live either, lungta.

Mogs Moglio said...

Time will tell this is the most important Canadian election to date. The end game is to send Harper and his cons packing never to be seen again. The rest is just 'show' and amounts to nothing. When the election is over the dust will settle and we will see. Canada deserves a better fate than these clowns but that unfortunately is all we have to work with. All European and Asian rooted settlers ought to at least read this:

Who do we owe our allegiance to? First Nations stand up and listen.


Owen Gray said...

Your question isn't just for the First Nations, Mogs. It's for all of us.

Mogs Moglio said...

Yes Owen what I meant was we owe our allegiance to FN's and it is high time they took a profound lead in changing the course of the future of history for the better. Many FN's tribes have already started down that 'Right Red Road' there will be challenges, they know though how to best look after the environment to lead to healthy happy lives for all. We need to support them in this deep dark cavernous pit the Harper cons have dragged us all into. They [FN's] are doing some good work out here in BC and winning in Supreme Court challenges as to their right to sovereignty and declared ultimate sovereigns of their traditional homelands. You see the BC Colonial Government was to high and mighty to sign treaties with "savages" as they called them even after the British Government admonished them to do so.

So therefore it was a blessing in disguise for the future of these First Nations they have never ceded their lands and each tribe has ultimate say over what happens on their historical traditional lands, the Supreme Court of Canada agrees. This annoys Harper to tears that is why he signed all those so-called free trade deals foreign companies can now expropriate Native lands if there is a rich harvest to be made on it to remove natural resources of any kind. If they are blocked they will penalize the Canadian people through heavy fines due to loss of potential profit the tax-payers will absorb. For Harper what a better best way to pit Canadians not from here originally [prior it was only First Nations] against FN's peoples. Divide and conquer, we cannot let Harper run this foolish game plan it will be the undoing of Canada...

STOP Harper,
Cheers Mogs.