Monday, October 06, 2008

Harper Remains "Fundamentally Optimistic"

During a morning press conference, where Harper was peppered with questions of falling poll numbers and the economic outlook, Harper characterized our economic circumstance as "fundamentally optimistic". Harper's words are rapidly showing a disconnect with reality, because last time I checked there is nothing "optimistic" about the prospects of a recession.

The only lame excuse we here from the Conservative spinsters, Harper is using positive language because he doesn't want to send negative signals, impact the market. Are you kidding me? Last week, we saw two separate days, recording the largest drops in market history, and this came while Harper was doing his "don't worry be happy" routine. In other words, Harper's phrasing is largely irrelevant, the market has already factored in a sharp economic downturn, so anything Harper would have to add would be largely ignored. So behind the curve here, it is just WEAK to suggest Harper isn't out of touch, just prudent.

I'm not sure what Harper brings to the table tomorrow, but he is losing the battle of public perceptions. Of note, yesterday's SC poll actually gave Dion a better score on who is best to deal with the stock market crisis, which is very relevant when you think about it. Harper's supposed economic trump card, the able manager, is evaporating, essentially because people can see storm clouds gathering and Harper tells us the umbrella is unnecessary. There is a disconnect here, and the Liberals must continue to capitalize in the final week, because Harper is starting to look completely out to lunch.

I believe Harper has boxed himself in, no fiscal room to do anything, you can't preach fiscal discipline, then offer big ticket policies to stimulate. Everything Harper has said will be for not, if he takes this crisis seriously, if he changes direction or acknowledges action is required. Meanwhile, Dion's action plan has been well received, practicalities aside, it brings the optics of someone with a plan, contrasted with Mr. "Optimistic".

19 comments:

penlan said...

This may sound strange but I'm beginning to wonder if Harper doesn't want to win this election at all now.

He, & we, know the economy is going to be in difficulty soon, perhaps more than we realize, & that Harp might want to hand of a time of "recession/depression" to another party & then return with a vengeance once the economy begins to head upwards again.

I may be completely off the wall on this - but it is a thought.

Mark Francis said...

Harper seems to be only able to predict doom and gloom if he doesn't get to be the government.

Gayle said...

I agree with you penlan - and that is exactly why I think Harper needs to win. If the LPC win a minority, they will be brought down on a non-confidence vote within a year. The opposition will use the weakening economy as their excuse.

liberazzi said...

Wouldn't send a better message to the markets if they actually had a plan?

Can't wait till 2, for the new numbers...

Joseph said...

I hate to disagree, but you all are playing with fire if you think it would be "better if Harper wins" because financial times are going to be rough.

That thinking is shockingly too reminiscent of people thinking the selection of Bush or Gore in 2000 wasn't a big deal. I recall folks even saying Bush would only be a one-term President anyway so it didn't really matter.

Think about that for a second.

Harper has proven time and again that he is dangerous with power.

The Progressive parties are much better equipped to deal with a financial crisis than Bush-lite and his cronies.

The economic storm will subside, and I'd much rather know a Progressive party was in power to 1) get us out of it, and 2) to get the rightful credit for doing so.

If you think Harper has unjustified support from voters on the economy now, just wait til he "weathers" a down-turn and is able to wrap himself in the mantle of having "led the country through a rough patch."

You will regret ever think him staying in power was a "good idea."

Eye on the Ball, People!

There is a chance to win this election. And Harper's blindness and uncaring on the very real economic crisis is the issue on which to win it.

liberazzi said...

Penlan, I noted the same thing a few days ago, but could we stand another 2 years of Harper? Hopefully, if the Libs win their plan will guide us through the hard times and they will be rewarded for it. The Libs actually have some talent on the bench, which the CPC cannot boast.

liberazzi said...

Actually, if the Dips dont play their usual games then a Lib minority should last till after the "bad" times subside.

Joseph said...

While I'm on my soapbox ; ), might as well add the following:

Twice this morning, I have watched pollsters spinning for the conservatives. Not analyzing polls, but outright spinning. The second one I saw was typical stuff - polls are sinking but they are still ahead. But the first made my jaw drop with its breathtaking audacity.

On CBC, the Ipsos Reid spokesperson managed to take sinking polls of Conservative prospects and spin it into a football analogy with Harper as the quarterback (I kid you not).

In response to a question about what issues might be harming the Conservative prospects, he essentially answered as follows (not an exact quote but the sentiment and analogy he gave is dead on):

"As I said at the beginning of the campaign, the one issue that might be a weakness was the economy. Mr Harper in the first week addressed that notion head-on and explained that a calm and steady hand was essential. Now, in the final week, despite uncertainty in the markets, that Pass he threw in the first week is traveling down field for a final reception they hope will drive them into the end-zone."

THAT IS AN ANALYSIS?!!! That is an answer to a question about what WEAKNESSES they might face?!!!

Could a professional conservative spokesperson have spun such a rosy scenario as the "objective pollster" did on CBC.

I am flabbergasted at what crap is presented as objectivity these days.

Ridiculous.

RuralSandi said...

People should also check out Layton's lies:

Zero credibility

Layton should blast Doer as much as he does PM

By Tom Brodbeck

2008-09-19

If NDP Leader Jack Layton says Prime Minister Stephen Harper was wrong to cut corporate taxes at the expense of home care funding, he should be criticizing NDP Premier Gary Doer, too.

Layton -- flanked by Doer during his announcement in Winnipeg yesterday -- is calling for a national home care program. He says if he becomes prime minister, he would spend an extra $1 billion to make it happen.

He accused Harper of failing to invest in home care, saying the Tories decided to cut taxes for big corporations instead.

The trouble with Layton's position is he should be equally critical of Gary Doer because the NDP in Manitoba has also cut corporate taxes at the expense of home care funding.

Intellectually dishonest

Doer has cut corporate income taxes for large companies by an annual $32 million since 2005. That money could have gone into home care instead.

If Layton truly believed what he was saying and was consistent in his message, he would be slamming Doer just as hard as he's hammering Stephen Harper.

But he isn't. Which means he's intellectually dishonest.

Doer has cut corporate taxes and made other cuts to business taxes in recent years. He's increased some taxes on businesses, too.

Despite the tax cuts, Doer has also increased funding for home care and health care generally during that period.

Similarly, Harper has cut some corporate taxes and he's increased some, too (income trusts?). At the same time, he too has substantially increased funding for health care over the past two years.

Hero and villain

The Tories have increased health care funding to the provinces by 12.4% between 2006 and 2008.

They transferred $20.1 billion to the provinces through the Canada Health Transfer in 2006, which rose to $22.6 billion in 2008. It's a fairly hefty increase.

So both leaders have cut corporate taxes and both leaders have increased funding for health care.

So why is one a hero and the other a villain, in Layton's books?

It's not very credible.

Layton's national home care plan is not very credible, either.

Home care is a provincial responsibility. Provinces pay for it through a combination of federal transfer payments and own-source revenues including local taxes and fees.

The federal government doesn't run health care or home care and they don't fund it directly.

With very few minor exceptions, the block funding Ottawa gives to the provinces for health care is spent by the provinces as they see fit.

That's how it works.

A province like Manitoba is going to keep increasing home care capacity whether there's a so-called national home care program or not. The important thing is not having some fictitious national plan, which would exist in name only.

The key is how much health care money flows from the federal government to the provinces to pay for it.

Provinces like Manitoba have been able to substantially increase health care funding in recent years because of record federal transfers. And they've also cut corporate taxes to try to become more competitive in a global economy. So has Stephen Harper.

We can debate whether provinces such as Manitoba are cutting corporate taxes enough to improve competitiveness. We can debate whether Ottawa has cut corporate taxes enough, too.

But the fact remains, both Doer and Harper have cut corporate taxes.

Which means Layton has zero credibility when he criticizes Harper for doing it, but not Doer.

Joseph said...

One final note on the CBC pollster story this morning.

Every single morning I turn on CBC here on the West Coast, they discuss the race with their official pollster "Harris Decima." I have noted many times they discuss their polls to the exclusion of all others.

So, now, why did they forego that interview to follow-up with the clown they first spoke to in week one of the campaign for a "follow-up"? And where was the Harris Decima spokesperson now that the latest poll shows the Conservates at 32%. He certainly got lots of play when the conservaties were at 41%.

I'm not a big conspiracy guy, despite my foray this morning. But this is really disturbing to me. Do they still teach the concept of "objectivity" in journalism?

Steve V said...

Just a quick quote, which sort of highlights my argument that Harper has boxed himself in on the economy:

"But a senior Conservative spokesman indicated the prime minister won't spring any new, last-minute economic plan on Canadians when he unveils his party's platform on Tuesday.

That would be difficult anyway, given that Harper criticized Dion simply for proposing to discuss an action plan."

Steve V said...

joseph

That is interesting, because they have Decima on every morning, but not today?

Just to be clear Decima has a 15% lead slashed to 7% in just THREE DAYS. Yesterday, they had the Libs up 3% in Ontario, which hasn't happened in quite some time, I expect the gap is bigger today.

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph said...

I saw no Harris Decima spokesperson. I watch CBC the same half-hour to hour each morning.

Every day I view another update from Harris-Decima.

This morning, it was Ipsos Reid's Mr "Harper is our talented quarterback" guy. Harris Decima was out beating the rugs in the alley, I guess. Wasn't saying what they wanted hear perhaps?

The one positive aspect of the surreal interview is that it was reminiscent of a Sarah Palin debate moment. CBC anchor asks question A, to which Ipsos Reid issues statement C, bearing little or no relation to the question.

The quarterback analogy was audacious, but equally bold was the lengths to which he went to address a talking point other than the questions being asked.

Perhaps he thought he was on CTV? ; )

Steve V said...

Whatever, it's a seismic shift 8% in THREE days.

liberazzi said...

The "fundamentals of the economy are strong", is that the same as "The land is strong"? We know how well that slogan worked.

Joseph said...

Oh, I think the shift is very encouraging. Don't get me wrong. It was just infuriating to watch.

All better now ;).

liberazzi said...

Only 10m away from Nanos. Its like Xmas. Should be around 32% for the CPC, as Decima seems to be matching them? Non?

penlan said...

Actually, I don't want to see another Harper govt. My main thought was that I was wondering if he didn't want to win this time around in hopes of getting "his" majority next time.

Ah, the media. They have been so disgusting I can barely watch Newsworld any longer, nor Politics with newman. I don't watch CTV. Make me gag. But I have never, ever seen CBC so biased - towards the Cons.

And the majority of the print media is exactly the same, barring the odd one here & there. Even touting Layton at times. Another gag.

Dion did extremely well in the debates but you wouldn't know it, with the English one, through the media. It's constant Dion put down.

I do want the Libs to win as I couldn't tolerate having the Cons decimate this fair land of ours.