Sunday, September 06, 2015

Alexander's Ragtime Rant


Politics, Robin Sears writes, is about dialogue:

Successful politicians know how to listen, to respond respectfully and through that dialogue, learn. Some Canadian politicians’ increasing fascination with steely message discipline at the expense of listening or respectful response is dangerous for democratic dialogue — and, often, for their own careers.

Dialogue is not in Stephen Harper's skill set. And everyone who works for him follows a strict code. Like the prime minister, they memorize answers from the Harperian catechism and repeat them ad nauseam. You would think that a political animal like Mr. Harper would understand this simple axiom:

Successful political dialogue requires listening and empathy. When a constituent tells you of their grief, their dreams or their anger you may not respond with rote defensive talking points.

In the end, the Harperian formula leads to self destruction:

There is no excuse for the appalling response that Alexander offered CBC’s new election star Rosemary Barton. Nor for his surly defensive nonsense about the government’s record on refugees. His scowling adolescent attack on the media for its failure to give the story adequate attention would have been laughable if it were not so appalling. Especially in the face of the mounting human tragedy and the Canadian — and international — failure to respond adequately to it.

His return the next night, after being summoned to Ottawa by his masters, clearly put through hours of message training “refreshment” was less disastrous in performance but more damaging in substance. He told a series of whoppers that will now be fact-checked and return to bite him and the government.

The media are finally beginning to examine the numbers -- behind the budget, behind employment statistics, behind the refugee crisis. And, increasingly, Canadians are appalled. You can only spin a web of lies for so long until they catch up with you.

They've caught up with Chris Alexander. They'll soon catch up with Stephen Harper.

We'll be away for the next four days. I'll be back on Friday.


Mogs Moglio said...

"They'll soon catch up with Stephen Harper."

Allot of us have the rest will come hopefully before the election...

Askingtherightquestions said...

Owen, I have always found it hard to believe that Alexander, an Oxford educated (he is purported to have and MA in "politics, philosophy and economics" from Balliol) former Canadian diplomat and touted as a rising CPC star, could be such a profound Harperite in interviews. Until his "tail between his legs" appearance on the day after his disastrous panel appearance where Rosemary Baron effectively pushed back, I had never seen him NOT use ad hominem attacks when responding to questions about CPC policies. As many of your readers will know, ads hominems are considered the lowest form of debate and would receive failing marks in any Oxford debate. While I am never surprised what comes out of the mouths of a Calandra, Polliviere or Del Mastro, Alexander's case may represent the greatest condemnation of Harperspeak® and the destruction of character.

Owen Gray said...

Alexander has been keeping bad company, Asking. He should have known better. But the so called "best and brightest" have done very stupid things in the past. Being educated at Oxford doesn't vaccinate you from stupidity.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Harper's string of good luck is running out, Mogs.