24

I’m gonna pick “More of the Same” for $100, Alex


 

“The Economy, Stupid” was actually not James Carvilles’s main war-room slogan in 1992. The first of three mottos hand-written on a piece of paper in the Clinton campaign headquarters was “Change Vs. More of the Same.” (“Don’t Forget Health Care” was third.)

Clinton/Carville/Begala ’92 is not one of the history-making campaigns Stephen Harper’s brain trust likes to study for clues, but it is instructive for our purposes this morning, because the Prime Minister made it clear at Rideau Hall that he, too, plans to run on Change vs. More of the Same. Except Harper is the incumbent, so he’s running as hard as he can against change. This campaign will, in some small way, seek to be the Revenge of Bush 41.

You know how Canadians are a bold nation of risk-takers and entrepreneurs? Yeah, forget that. For Harper ’08, risk and change are the enemy. Fear the enemy. Master the enemy. “Canada cannot afford risky experiments at a time of uncertainty,” says the splash page on the New, Sober, Responsible conservative.ca website. And the Prime Minister’s message was cut from the same grey-flannel cloth (or was it sweater-vest fabric? You think it’s easy to make metaphors?) at Rideau Hall.

For two elections in a row, the Paul Martin Liberals deployed the formidable resources of the state and the then-still-healthy-ish Liberal Party to portray Stephen Harper as a reckless insurgent. Now he launches his first campaign as Prime Minister by portraying himself as the only thing keeping Canadians from the abyss. My publisher wanted the title of my book to be Topsy Turvy, and every once in a long while I think he may have had a point.

More later. I’m off to an airport to fly around with the Prime Minister for much of the week. The Conservatives are very competitive, so I’m told they will not take off until they can stock their plane with one of the features of the Liberal campaign jet: throat singers.


 

I’m gonna pick “More of the Same” for $100, Alex

  1. You mean the Governor General didn’t say no? I’m shocked … shocked, I say! The fact that we are going to the polls is the clearest evidence yet that democracy in Canada is a sham.

  2. Except the Conservatives are taking Dion’s “Green Shift” head on.

    They’re not making stuff up. A massive carbon tax IS “risky”. Indeed risky is an understatement.

    Compare and contrast to the completely baseless attacks by the Liberals that Harper would exert some sort of paramilitaristic control of our streets.

    Or who could forget those ads talking about the Conseratives “taking away our rights” as if Harper was some totalitarian bent on turning our country into some concentration camp. And who could forget the media coverage with their complicity with headlines questioning “Harper’s Hidden Agenda ™”

    I’m looking forward to much “Harper is a Bully” coverage for his going after an ambiguous but massive tax that Dion is touting,

    and the “he asked for it for going ‘negative'” coverage, essentially giving a pass to the most ridiculous of desperate Liberal charges. Perhaps more public accusations of Harper committing serious criminal acts which the media will tacitly give its nod of approval.

  3. Can someone tell Jack Layton to forward his job application by fax or email?

  4. kody, you are boring.

  5. For two elections in a row, the Paul Martin Liberals deployed the formidable resources of the state and the then-still-healthy-ish Liberal Party to portray Stephen Harper as a reckless insurgent.

    What formidable resources of the state were deployed? It seems to me that portraying Harper as a reckless insurgent requires nothing other than to quote what the man says accurately, to show show he behaves, to expose who he listens to and to highlight who supports him.

    I hope this is not going to be another campaign characterised by journalistic malpractice.

  6. Jack,

    at least your dismissiveness didn’t include the “yawn”,

    or the ever popular accusation of making “conservative talking points” – as if there’s only a small cabal of conservatives in the country, in some basement location issuing mind controlling orders to an othwerwise compliantly progressive populace.

    Cheers.

  7. I’m still trying to figure out why the Liberals are repeating their failed 2004 and 2006 strategy of portraying the Harper Conservatives as scary. It didn’t work then, and after having abstained on so many votes effectively propping up the Conservatives over the past two and half years, you have to wonder if it can get any traction at all.

    Maybe they have no money to run a different campaign and they plan on re-running the same commercials.

  8. How about “Steady leadership in times of change.” :p

  9. What risks have countries like Norway or Sweden faced by having a carbon tax?

  10. “For two elections in a row, the Paul Martin Liberals deployed the formidable resources of the state and the then-still-healthy-ish Liberal Party”

    Wells is the first mainstream journalist who I’ve read that even hints at something like this about the Liberals.

    I would have thought an article or two could be written about how Liberal support has cratered, particularly in Quebec, since the Libs were thrown out of power and the public money spigot to its supporters was turned off.

    How come there is little reporting about how since unions and corps can’t ‘donate’ huge chunks of cash anymore, the Libs aren’t doing too well. Instead, we are supposed to believe the most successful political party in the western world continues to be vexed by fund raising five years after the laws were changed.

    On his blog, Feschuk is complaining about how ‘hard’ the questions are for Dion. CBC reporters, and their colleagues in the media, are trying to point out how unfair it is for Dion. I would argue that reporters are still treating Dion with kid gloves and continue to have his back. Reporters know the reality of how dire the Liberal situation is but are only hinting at it.

  11. Good points jwl.

  12. “…the completely baseless attacks by the Liberals that Harper would exert some sort of paramilitaristic control of our streets”

    Just for the record, they were not baseless. Steven Harper’s actually made an (unfulfilled) campaign promise to put 500 troop, “territorial defence units” in all major Canadian cities.

  13. I’m off to an airport to fly around with the Prime Minister for much of the week.

    I will pray for you Paul.

  14. I, for one, am looking for ways to put my vote in play, but I just cannot get past this carbon tax. It is not as if any of the other taxes are being elimainated, just reduced, and this is a camouflaged tax. I just can’t bring myself to vote for something like that. It just feels self-abusive.

  15. Good points jwl.

    It’s nice to see Conservatives supporting each other in the dissemination of Conservative talking points.

    Aux armes, citoyens!

  16. Speaking of more of the same, I thought that’s what poor Gilles Duceppe was trying to call for this morning.

    He looked more like a deer in the headlights.

  17. …or the ever popular accusation of making “conservative talking points” – as if there’s only a small cabal of conservatives in the country, in some basement location issuing mind controlling orders to an othwerwise [sic] compliantly progressive populace…

    You mean it isn’t true? Coulda fooled me, Kody. How else do you explain the ubiquitous “helmet head” teevee ads?

  18. Or was that a tin hat?

  19. A carbon tax is ultimately probably less risky than the alternative of doing nothing….

    And it is odd to note that the piece of legislation Harper had the most trouble passing was a bill so enormous, sweeping, and full of change that people wondered if it was even constitutional.

  20. Ti-Guy: “It’s nice to see Conservatives supporting each other”

    Yes, it is.

  21. tax or “do nothing”?

    We know with mathematical certainty (assuming AGW to be correct and we’re all going to die a firey death soon) that any Canadian reductions, even massive ones where we all give up our way of live entirely, will have virtually nil effect on total global output and hence the planet’s temperature

    This is probably why Dion has been a little fuzzy on what he intends to actually accomplish with this massive tax.

    Tax first, ask questions later. That’ll be a tough sell.

  22. I’ll do better financially with the Green Shift. My job is in the same city where I live (by design — I hate commuting). I can walk to work most days, or take the bus. With the Green Shift, this kind of lifestyle will be rewarded. I’m looking forward to a big income tax refund!

  23. Harper lifted – directly – his 2006 line about famalies who work hard and play by the rules from the 1992 Clinton campaign (check the speach at the 1992 DNC written by, I think, Begala). I think they have looked to the Clinton success in the past.

  24. Well, let’s see.. you can have the NDP’s Cap & Trade program, which experts have said will increase prices for consumers.

    Or you can have the Conservatives Cap & Trade program, which experts have said will increase prices for consumers.

    Or you can have the Liberal Green Shift program, which experts have said will increase prices for consumers.

    Or you can have the Green program which combines all of the above, which.. you guessed it, experts have said will increase prices for consumers.

    So, given the wide variety choices available, I think I’ll go with the one that promises to reduce other taxes I pay. That’d be either your Liberals or your Greens.

    And given the choice between May and Dion?

    Friggin’ hell.. back to Rhino again.

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