Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Harper Breaks Political Rule #1

If you believe the latest poll, the Harper Tories are in a virtual dead heat with the Dion Liberals.

For many people, (especially the PMO braintrust) this state of affairs must be something of a puzzle.

After all, according to the plan, the Conservatives -- basking in the glory of their recent "mini-budget" with its promised tax cuts -- should be riding a wave of popularity right now.

So what's wrong?

Well, media pundits will likely pin the blame on the current Mulroney-Schreiber scandal.

And maybe that's the answer. Or maybe it's more serious.

For instance, it's more likely Prime Minister Harper's problems stem from the fact that he has broken the first rule of politics: Be real.

Harper is pretending to be something he isn't: a Liberal.

That's what voters are picking up on. They sense deception. They think Harper must be hiding something: the dreaded "hidden agenda".

Let's face it, people fear the unknown.

And of course, the Liberals and the media are are doing everything they can to stoke up those fears, conjuring up frightful images of what the "hidden agenda" entails.

What scares voters, in other words, isn't a conservative agenda, it's the caricature of a conservative agenda, a caricature the left has created.

How can Harper turn things around?

Easy. He just has to be true to his roots. He has to proudly proclaim that he is in fact a conservative. Then he has to define what a conservative agenda would mean for Canada.

Would everybody in the country applaud?


But at least everybody in the country would know where he stood.


nbt said...

The question is, could he win a majority government bing true to his roots? I think he can, but many have decent arguements stating otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Or change polls, he's kicking a$$ in the SES Research poll.


Jeff Davidson said...

Or change polls, he's kicking a$$ in the SES Research poll

37 % choose harper as 1st pick for PM? hardly kicking ass.

paul martin polled as high as 60 %.
harper polled as low as 10 % in 2003.

Bruce Randall said...

Hey Jeffie, you want to cherry pick polls?

Here's one from May 2005

"A new CPAC-SES survey indicated that two in three Canadians (67%) believed that Prime Minister Paul Martin was aware that sponsorship money was allegedly directed to advertising agencies and firms closely linked to the federal Liberals. However, only a third (34%) believed that he was personally involved in the alleged behaviour discussed at the Gomery Inquiry, while 48% believed he was not personally involved."

In other words 67% thought that former PMPM was lying.

Anonymous said...

Harper's flip flops have been very damaging to his credibility.

It's one thing for a politician to not tell the truth, but another to break the terms of a duly signed written agrrement between two provinces and the Federal Government (ie. Atlantic Accord.)

As I have said before, it's the flip flops, secrecy and spending, stupid.

Mulroney has not helped either especially when he continues to embarrass Harper in telling him how to do his job in asking for a full inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

While they are at it, perhaps the inquiry can explain why an elected active Conservative MP like Bill Casey should have to answer to a has been like Mulroney in how he plans to vote on the budget.

Harper is certainly not kicking a$$ -- I am taking that as an attempt at humour.

Iain G. Foulds said...

... As you say, Mr. Harper should be teaching the values and virtues of conservatism vs. socialism (freedom vs. slavery)... instead of wasting time and party donations smearing the essentially extinct Mr. Dion.
... The failure to do this is why- though Mr. Dion is dying in the polls- the two parties remain roughly in their original positions.

Bruce Randall said...

Hey anon, we'll see where the chips fall as soon as Stephanie grows a pair and screws up enough courage to actually face the electorate, instead of whipping his caucus to sit on their hands.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Harper is running this country like a Conservative...and the public loves him

Polls be damned...
or indifferent

Talk to people...
they like what Mr. Harper is doing

Miles Lunn said...

Ipsos has Harper at 42% while the Strategic Counsel shows them tied so either one of those is a rogue poll or there are a high number of undecided voters so a different methodology leads to different results.

I think whether Harper moderates or not, he won't win a majority. Too many people believe he is a hard right winger and won't buy his moderation. While by the same token most Canadians won't support a truly conservative government.

lets face it, when for 40 years, all you have been hearing is the virtues of liberalism and the evils of conservatism, wouldn't it be logical for those who don't follow politics closely to side with liberalism. Never mind many people such as myself agree with many aspects of liberalism although I wouldn't mind it if people were more open to looking at both ideas with an open mind rather than just being Liberal because it is a Canadian thing to do as because liberalism means compassion and stands for the little guy, while conservatism is too pro-American, stands for the big guy, and lacks compassion. Those appeal to emotion rather than thought.

Iain G. Foulds said...

... Mr Lunn- a fair assessment of the current philosophical innocence of the Canadian public.
... One could substitute the word "socialism" for "compassion" in your comment. Socialism being the role of the state forcing money from some to give to others... in a thousand different guises.

Miles Lunn said...

I don't think one has to be a socialist to be compassionate, but a large share of the population believes otherwise.

Iain G. Foulds said...

... As the saying goes... if one is not a socialist when one is 20, then there is something wrong with their heart; but, if they are still a socialist when they are 40, then there is something wrong with their head.

Anonymous said...

What could Harper do?

He cannot change his personality.

However, he could actually try engaging the Canadian public/media to try to better explain why he does what he is doing.

He could also stop slew footing other people that he was supposed to support (ie. fellow conservatives -- Bill Casey, Garth Turner, Danny Williams, Belinda Stronach, Mark Warner, Gerry Nicholls, David Orchard, Scott Brison, etc.)

He could use the team around him more effectively rather than treating his cabinet ministers as a form of embarassment to be silenced.

He could also limit his flip flops and stop slew footing the people who call him on them! The public only allows so many flip flops/about faces in a political career.

The advice is free, Mr. Harper. Take it for what it is worth.

If Harper is truly kicking a$$ in the polls, call an election!