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Their slip is showing


 

When reporters start filing stories with ledes like, “The latest blunder in the gaffe-prone Harper campaign,” I think we can say the magnificent Tory election machine is missing a few bolts.

This is serious, serious stuff. Ordinarily I don’t think much of gaffe-watch stories: it says nothing at all about a candidate’s fitness for high office that his campaign bus gets lost, or he drops a football.

But mau-mauing grieving fathers isn’t just a slip of the tongue: it betrays an attitude. Indeed, it lends some heft to the otherwise unspeakably silly puffin-poop business. And it’s of a piece with the other Tory missteps: the attempt to bar Elizabeth May from the debates, the war-room overkill etc.

What’s common to all is an approach to politics: sneering, ad hominem, bullying, and, above all, directionless. Even as they dismantle the last remaining policy differences with their opponents, the Tories amp up the vicious partisanship. It’s almost like the one is replacing the other.

As, in fact, it is.

FREUDENDATE: Unintentionally revealing quote of the week, from the same story:

“I want to make it very clear that I have set a tone and I have set an expectation for this campaign and as leader, I am going to make sure that that is followed all the way to victory,” Harper said.

Yes, Prime Minister. Yes you have.


 

Their slip is showing

  1. “Yet his own weird linking of climate change policy and national unity”. And what attitude is revealed by Harper’s quick decision to give the jerk who said this a campaign-long time-out?

  2. Is it any wonder they can’t get female candidates? Meanwhile, the marginal voters they are after, i.e. women, are ignored/turned off on a daily basis.

  3. Stupid Mac computer – I pasted the wrong quote, sorry.

    “But mau-mauing grieving fathers isn’t just a slip of the tongue.”

    Thank goodness my comment was so darn pithy…

  4. … except for mothers, presumably the target audience for all their family policies. The message: You aren’t a real woman unless you have kids.

  5. Will someone send this post to Mike Duffy?

  6. And what attitude is revealed by Harper’s quick decision to give the jerk who said this a campaign-long time-out?

    Quite revealing, that…

    Quite revealing that even a CPC supporter characterizes the need to deal with their staff like they are children.

    The guy should be fired. Not suspended.

    And you know what? This truly displays the weakness of the CPC, as they apparently cannot afford to fire someone lobbing this crap (i.e. they simply do not have anybody else capable or willing to fill these shoes).

    Austin

    Austin

  7. That’s rather telling, isn’t it. a “campaign-long” time out.

    “Just be quiet until we get elected, okay?”

  8. Careful Mr. Coyne. Word of that blog topic reaches the States and they’ll be grouping you with the sexist lefties.

  9. Maybe he learned the lesson of the Olivia Chow dog comparisons?

    I may misunderstand what it means to be suspended from your campaign position for the duration of the campaign, but it seems a bit like a firing.

    And what’s with the smears from Coyne: now suspending the guy, which was the context of the quote he’s added, becomes further evidence of Harper’s vile tone. Read the interview between Paul and Harpe. It highlighted some policy differences (role of the federal government; budget management) and had no ad hominem attacks, but Coyne’s smearing Harper as having abandoned the Tory policy book for the Liberals’ and relying on cheap attacks. There’s quite a disconnect between Harper’s words and Coyne’s reporting.

  10. No, Style, it highlighted what Harper would like Canadians to perceive as differences. The problem is, the Liberals were acting in the exact same manner when they were in power as Harper is claiming his party will act now.

    On the plus side, Harper’s word isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.. even if signed by the Governor General.

  11. Style – quite a difference between Harper’s words and Harper’s actions, as well.

    Which do you hold in higher regard; words or action?

  12. Cheap shots.

    But sadly predictable from a Canadian media, that has the morals of a Liberal Party, the emotional levels and need for attention of a teenage girl, and an infinite capacity for drinking their own bathwater.

  13. In regards to ‘setting the tone’:

    The problem is that Mr. Harper in ‘setting the tone’ for the election is trying to do an about face on the tone he has used for the last two years. There is a vicious take no prisoners attitude in this party, and they can’t easily turn it off.

    They are finding it difficult to pretend to be thoughtful and caring. Old habits die hard.

  14. Hey bud, dissing teenage girls are we? As opposed to the very mature emotional levels of the 9-year-old boys running the Tory campaign websites?

  15. bud – NO, YOU ARE!

    *this message was approved by the Liberal Party of Canada. Thankfully, Mr. Harper has set the civil tone for this campaign.

    ** this message was not actually approved by the Liberal Party of Canada and until further notice Dije has been suspended of his duties as a dirty leftie communist

  16. “No, Style, it highlighted what Harper would like Canadians to perceive as differences. The problem is, the Liberals were acting in the exact same manner when they were in power as Harper is claiming his party will act now.”

    The Liberals were reducing the federal government’s role in Quebec and other provinces? I completely missed that. I actually had the impression that Dion was in favour of a stronger, more interventionist federal government. But, of course, that’s exactly what Dion *wants* me to believe. As you say, the Liberals are really just the Conservative party in a canoe instead of a sweater-vest.

  17. The Liberals were reducing the federal government’s role in Quebec and other provinces? I completely missed that. I actually had the impression that Dion was in favour of a stronger, more interventionist federal government.

    Actually, Dion had often (unsuccessfully) defended reduced federal intervention in provincial jurisdiction when he sat at the Chretien cabinet table. He also (at least?) once defended Quebec’s Bill 101 smackdown of the evil English language as “a great Canadian law.”

    Make of that what you will.

  18. “Actually, Dion had often (unsuccessfully) defended reduced federal intervention in provincial jurisdiction when he sat at the Chretien cabinet table.”

    I’ll take your word on what Dion said at Cabinet, although you really shouldn’t be telling us (because it’s secret). But it accords with the principle he proposed in 1998: “The Constitution must be respected. We must do away with the all-too-convenient excuse that a given governmental initiative responds to a need that is too urgent to be stymied by issues of “jurisdiction.” Infringement of jurisdiction creates confusion which damages the quality of public policy.” So, how do we reconcile this with the Green Plan approach of increasing federal intervention in provincial jurisdiction?

  19. “I want to make it very clear that I have set a tone and I have set an expectation for this campaign and as leader, I am going to make sure that that is followed all the way to victory,” Harper said.

    Harper may want to set a more polite tone for “this Campaign”, but he has been demonstrating and encouraging a much nastier tone for years. He should not be surprised when his people follow the leader they know.

  20. As a Conservative, my great fear over the course of the last couple of years has been that the party has learned the wrong lessons from the Liberal success from 1993-2006. There are few more frustrating feelings in politics than being attacked by lies, and seeing your opponent win. And I guess that anger led to the Conservatives apparent belief that not only does this sort of thing help, but it is essential to winning. What is overlooked is how each election over the last decade (yes, even the Stockwell Day debacle of 2000) has brought the conservative movement closer to power than it was before, and these attacks had less and less effect for the Liberals each time. Nevertheless, Conservatives have blamed previous defeats on these attacks and decided that if we are to win we need to do the same. And what do you know, it’s getting them in trouble.
    As for the Liberals, they appear to have learned exactly the wrong lessons from Stephen Harper’s success in the last 5 years. Angry scandal mongering works when there’s an actual scandal there, and your anger about it matches the public. I suppose those Liberals in English Canada who were not involved in Adscam but were dragged into it have decided to approach every Question Period and parliamentary committee as a way to settle a personal score by conjuring up over the top outrage at any perceived indiscretion. My favourite example of this was in the early days of the Conservative government when expense accounts were released showing ministers, in particular Monte Solberg, were spending next to no taxpayer money on meals. The Liberals howled that they must be doing it and not reporting it.
    Also, they seem to think that reversing past strongly held positions is how the Tories have succeeded, and decided to do it themselves. I don’t think anything Stephen Harper will do in this campaign can match the cynicism of the recent Liberal child care announcement. This was a policy they derided in the most hysterical, catastrophic terms throughout an election campaign, a leadership campaign, and nearly two years of Parliament that followed. This was apparently the issue that showed how much the Conservatives didn’t understand the modern world. And now they’re not only planning on keeping it, but DOUBLING it! I think it’s fair to say that the trust campaign Andrew was hoping to see from Stephane Dion (indeed, almost promoting on behalf of Stephane Dion) will not be seen.

  21. Ryan:

    I think you need to check on your idea that the Liberals will be doubling the child care allowance (family allowance) of $1,200., taxable, per year per child under six. The doubling only pertains to those in the lowest income tax brackets. Obviously, these people will need all the help they can get to cope with what is going to come in the relentless future. I think he is going to do more to provide more actual day care spaces as well.

    I am a seventy-five-year old grandmother and I have never seen the level of maliciousness displayed in the parliament of Canada before the neo-cons arrived on the scene. –And it was practised from the top down as an example of how to prevent a legitimate debate. Harper set the tone himself to try to discredit and destroy the opposition.

    This does seem to tie in with the Leo Straussian philosophy and the “big lie”.
    In fact, Harper has made up a number of lies on the floor of the H.ofC. in order to punch up an argument. They have been reported in the media but many Canadians are too busy taking their kids to hockey practice etc. to have time to notice.

    Harper will do whatever it takes to get his majority in parliament as is evidenced in Flanagan’s book, “Harper’s Team”.

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