Sunday, July 19, 2015

Obsessed With His Enemies


Like Richard Nixon, Stephen Harper is obsessed with his enemies. That's why, Bob Hepburn writes, he continues to attack Justin Trudeau more than Tom Mulcair. Mulcair may be first in the polls. But Harper hates Trudeau because:

First, Prime Minister Stephen Harper hates Trudeau and the Liberals. It’s a personal hatred, dating back to the 1980s and to Justin’s father, the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
Harper’s right-wing ideology was forged forever during Trudeau’s reign when the young Harper felt Justin’s father had a personal dislike for western Canada, and Alberta in particular. He felt the introduction of the National Energy Program and Trudeau’s focus on Quebec were the clearest proof of this anti-West attitude.

Second, Harper actually fears Trudeau more than he does Mulcair, despite what the polls are saying now.
While the NDP has risen in popularity after the stunning victory by the New Democrats in the Alberta provincial election in May, Harper suspects the NDP surge isn’t the real thing, and that it will ease as the Oct. 19 election nears. 

Third, Harper is obsessed with totally destroying the Liberals as a national party.
Ever the political strategist himself, Harper is playing the long game, looking beyond the October election which likely will end with a minority government of some sort. His aim is to set up the next election as a battle mainly between the NDP and the Conservatives. In basically a two-party race, Harper is convinced the Tories could trounce the NDP, with “blue Liberals” switching to the Conservatives, not the “leftist” NDP.

After the last federal election, Harper almost wiped the Liberals off the map. He won't be satisfied until he leaves the Liberal Party in the same state the Romans left Carthage.


Anonymous said...

Maybe as the Liberals left the Mulroney Conservatives.......

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps Harper would be willing to leave the Liberals with two seats, Anon.

rumleyfips said...

It could be that internal polling tells a different story than

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure they're constantly polling, rumley. And they may remember what happened to Ed Broadbent in the eighties.

Unknown said...

I don't think Owen, that Harper has the kind of power to decimate the Liberals, if he ever did. Now he'll be lucky to hold on himself. He needs Canadian buy in to take down the Liberals, not attack ads against Trudeau in which he thinks he can manipulate Canadians to his
way of thinking. He has a patholical Hatred for Trudeau Sr. and he has tried to dismantle Trudeau\s Liberal infrastructure not by replacing it with something that Canadians want, but by forcing mainly behind closed doors his Neoliberal agenda.You get people on your side by inspiring them. He is a nasty piece of work and I think Canadians are now starting to recognize that. His influence is highly over rated. You can't get people on your side if you continually hide from them. His ads reveal more about him and very little about Trudeau.

Willy said...

Yes Harper hates the Liberals, and especially The Trudeau legacy. However I think he/they want a two party system with an Us/them scenario. Harper and his ilk believe they can succeed if the choice is between a perceptive Socialist NDP and a perceptive fiscally responsible CPC.

A persceptively centrist party that offers socially responsible fiscal management etc. is the threat.

I think the NDP understand that scenario and have resoned accordingly or as some will/have said have actively assisted Harper in achieving it.

I do not think the focus on the Liberals will cease. They are the biggest threat to both sides.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Willy. Both the Harperites and the Dippers see the Liberals as their enemy. It's in their mutual self interest to eliminate the middle.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Pam, that leaders can't lead by hiding. It's strange -- and, as you say, pathological -- that Harper should believe that he can disappear as he chooses.

Scotian said...

Willy is correct, and this is something I have been on about for the last decade. I find it incredibly offensive that the Dippers, who for decades bemoaned the idea of binary government when it was the Libs and PCPC suddenly decided when Harper offered them the de facto alliance in the plot to utterly destroy the federal Liberal party first Layton and then Mulcair couldn't sign on fast enough! This is part of the core of what I am talking about when I refer to the uniquely Dipper trait/odour/stench of sanctimonious hypocrisy when it comes to the practice of expediency in our politics. They claim to be about principles, values, and such, but when push comes to shove, when they see an active chance for power they sacrifice it without a second thought to the long term ramifications of their decisions, and even align with the greatest threat to progressive principles and values ever seen on the federal stage, one Stephen Harper!!!

One of the main reasons I am forced into the Lib camp these days is because the other parties have left me no option other than them, at least not if I want to directly impact who is the next government (sorry Green supporters you simply are not there yet nationally), but another is that they were the ones who a) never stopped trying to fight Harper first and foremost, and b) never climbed in bed with the Quebec Separatists for power which the NDP clearly did. I saw how option "b" played out when Mulroney used it to gain power, I have NO desire to see a repeat.

For all the denouncing of the Libs by Dippers as expediency driven untrustworthy Harpers in drag, it is their party leadership which is truly the active conspirators with Harper and who most closely resemble Harper in how expediency for power will trump any principle. Bad enough with Layton, but he I was willing to believe would try to use power to advance old school NDP policies, but Mulcair? Given his lack of roots in that party, given his proven willingness to work for Harper in the early years of that government (sorry, but when Mulcair's defence is that he only entertained the notion until he found out the Harper position on Kyoto despite that position being brutally obvious before Harper ever made it to the PMO one has to call bullshit) as an environmental policy consultant (at the minimum) before instead jumping to the NDP, given his clear willingness to be tolerant of those with separatist views within his candidates, and given his clear tendency to operate in the same executive manner as Harper, why oh why should any non-partisan political observer trust this man to be anything but a power driven expediency driven opportunist???

As for those that say would such an opportunist join the NDP when he did, given how at that point it looked like the Libs were on the steady slide towards eventual irrelevance I would say yes, especially since it positioned him well for taking over the NDP leadership in the event anything happened to Layton (lets not forget Mulcair initially after joining the caucus looked at trying to compete with Layton for the leadership until he saw he had nothing to work worth). In any event, there is a reason why I blame the NDP leadership the way I do for the rise of Harper and his majority, and it isn't because I am a Lib partisan since I am not even that now and certainly was never one before!

to be concluded...

Scotian said...


I deal in reality, and the reality of the political dynamics and choices made over the past dozen years now by ALL major forces and leaders federally gave us what we have today, and the NDP were clearly willing collaborators in the rise of Harper because they saw in it the chance to eliminate their main electoral threat to power, the Libs, and that is the basest of expediency positions, and especially so for a party which made its bones on being truly principled in the past! Which is in no small part where my fury comes from because when they were most needed to protect us all from the right wing extremists instead of stopping it they jumped into bed with it for that expediency reason! Which in turn makes them no better, no trustworthier than any other party and given how they still like to brand themselves as better than the rest I would argue that makes them even more vile, more untrustworthy and therefore even more to be kept from power!

These days I am with the Libs to the extent that I am because I literally see nowhere else to go even despite their own failings, including that of the leader. I am one that believes that when no choice is a good choice it is important to support the least bad/evil one because otherwise the greater/greatest evil/bad choice tends to be the overall winner/gainer, and that is why we have a cliche about how for evil to triumph it takes nothing but good men/people to do nothing! This is no less true in the political world as it is in any other part of life.

Sorry Owen, I know I am not saying anything you do not already know from me, but this post of yours touches on yet again why I am so profoundly infuriated by what I see coming and the willingness of so many supposedly principles progressives to aid Harper yet once more all because they are too focused on their own lust for power (while of course dressing it up in "principles" finery) to see what they have and continue to enable the risk of. To this day they still prefer to aim at the Libs and Trudeau than Harper, and if that does not underscore where their true values lie what does? The Libs at least make Harper their first priority target, and always have, sure they also aim at the NDP but you can clearly see which target has always had their priority, and that counts for a lot especially when dealing with someone like Harper!!!

Owen Gray said...

We are caught up in personality driven politics, Scotian. We have forgotten that personalities come and go. But policies live on, long after they have been adopted.

Scotian said...

I guess because I am a process geek and someone that actually does care about policies that is why I tend to hold the views that I do. I also care about how those policies jibe with reality and the many imperfect ways the two have to meet. For example, one of the main reasons Dippers love the Lib Tory same old story to this day is how Chretien/Martin tilted fiscally hard right in the 90s, yet they forget that initially they didn't but after that first budget saw that we could be heading where Greece ended up a couple of decades later and at the mercy of the IMF, so they chose to try and deal with it themselves thereby saving more than would be if the IMF took an active hand. I forgave them this because I understood this was a reaction to ugly reality versus what may have been the preferred principles/policies in this regard and what was promised in the "Red Book". Sure, they also didn't do other things, but for me if you cannot accept that reality was a real driver in what happened there, and unlike so many others Martin and Chretien actually made it work and truly strengthened our fiscal and economic situation to the point we were able to weather the 2008 fiscal meltdown even after 2 years of Harper fiscal insanity, how again can you argue the two are the same and therefore both equally evil?

I do not ask for perfection from politicians, nor even perfect honesty, since I know they as we are all humans I know that is an impossible premise to expect to be met. What I do want to see is a reasonable basis for belief in competency in running a national government, a general policy direction I can live with (of course I would always prefer one that matches my own views, but I am pragmatist enough to accept that is not always going to happen, so I have to set my bar to what I can live with aka accept as reasonable given the context of the day) and decent ethics and no overt corruption being seen as acceptable, and what corruption does come to show tends to stay in the money side and not too large, as I have noted repeatedly there are various levels for corruption and the least dangerous is petty (in context) thievery, and far worse is theft of rights, laws, and such as the Harper Government has been doing for a decade now..

Harper was the only time where I placed personalities as the most important concern in his case because of how dangerous his policy ideas and beliefs were combined with his clear preference towards truly dictatorial governing, as is true for Straussians in general. My issues with Mulcair come down not to his personality per se, but the way I see him operating in the political realm, the level of duplicity I see in his behaviour, and the level of expediency driving him so much of the time. Trudeau on the personality level doesn't actually do much for me, but overall on the policy front I am far more comfortable there, AND his is a party with the institutional experience and knowledge and history best suited to come in and salvage what pitiful remnants of our decades and generations worked on/established government prior to the rise of Harper the Destroyer and Salter of the Scorched Earth.

I really wish more people cared enough about politics and basic civics to be able to care about more than base personalities, and this is one of the reasons why I feel it is a national disgrace that civics is not a mandatory course in high school at one grade level as a component of graduation, if only to protect future citizens from fraudsters selling snake oil as Harper did so well. I really do believe that one of the keys to ideological victories like his is the wider ignorance of how a political system operates by a voting public, be it from apathy or educational ignorance, ad the later I believe helped create the former for this nation.

Ah well, as you say policies and precedents live on far past personalities, which is why I fear so for our future given what the Harper government legacy in both leaves Canada with.

Owen Gray said...

Civics is a mandatory course here in Ontario, Scotian. But, based on my experience, I'd have to say it's frightening to learn how much kids don't know -- not just about personalities, but even the names of those personalities.