Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Searching For Bobby Fischer

Stephen Taylor's latest propaganda piece, which appears on National Newswatch, starts off with common refrain amongst Conservatives. Harper the grandmaster:
Stephen Harper’s strategy is as it has been since Dion became leader of the Liberal party but has become much more evident with the Conservative leader’s latest chess moves.

Others tread water, while Stephen Harper works the board with tactical brilliance. While it is true that the Liberals have taken a hit for abstaining, working in concert with that fact, and largely overshadowing it, the continual mis-steps of the Canadian Kasparov. Such wizardry, the Conservatives would be life and death to hold power in an election.

Some of the highlights this session, that clearly demonstrate the mental superiority, strategy which others can only dream of. Was there a shrewder move, than having a largely unpopular and discredited former provincial Finance Minister declare war on Ontario? Let's go after the guy who was just re-elected to another majority, using the guy who cooked the books, let's tell people not to invest there, that's a sound strategy. Canadian history is full of countless examples, wherein the federal government has savaged a province and it's paid dividends politically, especially one that holds 1/3 of the population. I can't remember any right now, but I probably just need to do more research, like those brainiacs in the PMO. From the moment Harper hatched this strategy it was doomed to fail, so obvious I actually watched in amazement the way the Conservatives voluntarily torpedoed their electoral chances. Brilliant, I say.

Speaking of self-inflicted wounds, I'm sure everyone felt the same as I did, watching the deft manoeuvers of the Conservatives as they cleverly navigated the Elections Canada minefield. That "secret" meeting with reporters had Harper written all over it- well done sir! I'd be hard pressed to come up with a better plan than making yourself look guilty as sin, not to mention alienating the people who will carry your "message". Watching the keystone cop routine, it was quite shocking to read that Canadians didn't buy the Conservatives spin. Nothing says competence like how one reacts to a crisis, the ability to ad lib.

Stephen Taylor points to Dion's troubles, Harper plays him like a fool, while Dion flails to "survive". What people like Taylor really do, as they savage Dion, they demonstrate in stark terms- Stephen Harper is so inept, he can't take advantage of the hapless official opposition. Harper is such a chess master, his support is actually shrinking, within the backdrop of an Liberal Party that apparently shows nothing but weakness. What an achievement, eroding support, stagnant support, despite OPTIMAL conditions against a guy who's leadership hangs by a thread.

Harper the chess master is more mythology than practical application. Then again, Harper is two or three moves ahead of everyone else, I probably just can't see it yet...


MarkCh said...

Harper has got his entire agenda through a minority parliament. Not many would have predicted that 18 months or a year ago. We will only know how well his chess turns out to be after an election - whenever that may happen.

Maybe we'll end up saying that Harper lost a lot of battles but still won the war.

RuralSandi said...

His entire agenda - LOL - what 5 or 6 items/policies. Boy, what a work machine Harper is. Whoops, he didn't get it all done - about the wait times and a few other sundry items.

Steve V said...


He got a few things through at the beginning of his mandate, just like every minority parliament. Fact is, last summer the government was forced to re-tool and come up with more ideas, because their "entire agenda" really wasn't much.

Gayle said...

"Harper has got his entire agenda through a minority parliament.'

How's that gun registry doing?

How about the YCJA amendments?

Oh yeah...

Anonymous said...

Steve how can a minority government as this one survive for so long?

You also mentioned that the finance minister was largely unpopular in Ontario fine. Then please tell me this Steve,has an outsider from Quebec how popular was Mr.Bob Rae as Premier of Ontario?

MarkCh said...

I mean like Afghanistan, Budget, crime bill, immigration change (I expect). You know, because of those abstentions you have all been complaining about for months and months. Did you expect, a year ago, that the Cons would get all that through?

Steve V said...

More evidence of Harper's master plan paying dividends.

Steve V said...


The budget was basically a big yawn, nothing of any real substance. I think they should have voted against it, but it really was a pretty pedestrian document. As for Afghanistan, if you go back to this time last year, and see which party was arguing what, you will see who moved on the file (it certainly wasn't Harper standing firm, the Liberals caving, that's bad spin).

What I find amazing, a paltry agenda to begin with, and then after a year and some they're tapped. That summer, they actually needed to come up with new ideas, brainstorm. And then, we see a very light agenda, not much on the plate, which everyone in Ottawa acknowledges. A few things here and there, but almost everyone thinks most of it is just spinning their wheels, sort of aimless, when's summer break.

Anonymous said...

Steve I have seen this poll.Its no surprise to me that the poll says what it says. If you take 62% out of 100% you get 38%. That means that 38% agrees with Mr.Harper. The rest of the 62% are voters of the liberals and NDP's etc..So if those 38% vote for the Conservatives I could live with this just take a look what the Conservatives got during the last election in Ontario.

The polls have constantly giving the Conservatives between 35%-40%.

Ask yourself this question why are the liberals afraid to bring down this government?

Goodnight its late I'm going to bed. I need to get up at 6:30 a.m.

Steve V said...

"If you take 62% out of 100% you get 38%. That means that 38% agrees with Mr.Harper."

Hey Einstein, you left out the "no response/didn't answer" part of the math. You can probably shave a good 6-10 off your calculations.

"The polls have constantly giving the Conservatives between 35%-40%."

Oops, wrong again. Maybe you should follow the link in my post, average is 32%. Actually, come to think of it, that is just around where they are in this poll, minus the "no response" ;)

Get some sleep, you need it.

Gayle said...

mark - there was a reason why I mentioned the gun registry.

Living in Alberta, and knowing anti-gun registry advocates, I can tell you they are less than pleased about Harper's progress on this file.

Now you may say, as many do, that the CPC is still the only party they can vote for, since no one else who has a chance to be elected will promise to get rid of the registry.

You would be right.

Thing is - the same thing applies to the liberals. I certainly do not like them allowing the immigration changes to pass, but when they stand up during the next election campaign and promise to reverse this move, and others, who are people who want this legislation changed going to vote for? There really will only be one choice.

Anonymous said...

Which is it? That the Reform/Cons are cunningly evil or just a more-right version of the PC? LPC and Libloggers have been arguing in every election since the rise of the Reform that Eastern Canadians need to vote Liberal no matter what (corrupt party, divided party, party that lacks a progressive vision, etc.) to keep these guys out.
Yes I hate what the Cons are doing as do most of you who support the LPC. So why aren't your LPC representatives, the folks you donate to, the ones you campaign for, the folks you support at your conventions not listening to the grassroots of the party?
Part of politics is being an effective opposition. I know the LPC thinks that Canada should be a one party state. That when your party isn't in power it spends most of its time in the wilderness fighting out leadership battles (which is happening yet again). I would remind Liberal MPs that is not the job of the official opposition.
The LPC is supposed to be offering capable and effective opposition and in our system that means you vote against the stuff that is contrary to your party's principles. Canadians don't want to vote for a party that won't stand by what it claims are its most basic principles. Canadians deserve better. Folks who want to see a real opposition party in action should visit the ndp website (www.ndp.ca) to find out what the ndp has been doing (not just saying) to oppose the Conservative agenda.

Gayle said...

anon - the problem with your rant is that in order to win an election one must be pragmatic, not idealistic. I say this as an NDP voter.

I am not happy with the abstentions, but I understand the logic behind them. For the past year Dion has been attacked both from outside and from within. The liberal party has also been attacked - again both externally and internally.

I understand why it is in the CPC and NDP interest to force an election while the LPC is fractured, but it is not in the interest of the LPC, nor the country. Another CPC minority with the NDP holding the balance of power means another election soon or another bout of liberal abstentions - only this time the liberals would be even weaker.

If you truly oppose the Harper agenda then you need to support the party that has the only chance to stop him.

Mike said...

It never fails to amuse me how much utter denial the Conservative fanboys like Taylor live in.

Harper isn't a mean-spirited, partisan vindictive control freak who is anti-democratic to the core, he's a brilliant tactician and seeming to be like that is all part of his brilliant plan!

Never mind that even while the Liberal flounder under their own missteps of abstaining and supporting the government, the Cons still can't move either. And all this while supposedly being the government.

These guys would have been great under Stalin, explaining how not having enough wheat for bread was a brilliant move to teach the people discipline....

Gawd I despise party aparachiks...in any party.

Steve V said...


I would add one more. Harper winning a very fragile minority, given the circumstances, plus a convenient non-RCMP investigation in the middle of a campaign, is about as impressive as Ralph Klein's ability to balance the books in Alberta. Harper, the brilliant campaigner, is another myth. Seems to me, it's more a case of just sticking around long enough until the voters tired of the Liberals, rather than any draw or testament to strategic brilliance.