Wednesday, October 08, 2008

When Good Appearances Go Bad

I must say, watching Harper's interview on CBC last night, I thought he was doing a pretty credible job, defending his policies. Harper demonstrated a deep understanding of economics, particular positions aside, he was conveying a sense that he was capable, that he understood the complexities, very comfortable within that arena. So, there I am, thinking Harper is doing himself some favors, looking engaged and informed. That's when it went bad, real bad.

Harper is great when he sticks to the script, but as soon as he starts freelancing, loosens up, you enter a dangerous place. I almost fell off the couch, when Harper started talking about stock market opportunities. Here we are, in the midst of a historic meltdown, and Harper is chatting it up with some brokers, discussing the buying opportunities. Some of the quotes, which I'm sure many have already heard by now:
"I think there's probably some great buying opportunities emerging in the stock market as a consequence of all this panic." Mr. Harper told news reporters as the S&P/TSX dropped for the fifth straight day.

"We always know that when stock markets go up, people end up buying a lot of things that are overpriced and when stock markets go down, people end up passing on a lot of things that are under priced," Mr. Harper said in a later interview with the CBC. "I think there are probably some gains to be made in the stock market."

Harper's cavalier attitude was astounding. This isn't a market's go up, market's come down scenario, this is unprecedented instability. Whatever good Harper had done himself earlier, completely evaporated and we were left with the clear impression that this guy does lack real empathy, this guy doesn't grasp the gravity. People know what's going on, everybody is talking about the uncertainty, many are resigning themselves to a bleak future. To have Harper, thinking in opportunistic terms, that he would even posit this is time to make some money, it's just amazing. A cold perspective, the last thing Harper needed to convey, it just left a real bad taste, he managed to hurt himself further.


sassy said...

"great buying opportunities" [for those who have the resources laying around to speculate with, espcially after the last few weeks]

I saw the interveiw and when I heard that line, wondered how he could be so out of touch with the "average" Canadian.

knb said...

Because he insulates himself from average Canadians sassy.

That's not just a cute statement, it's true. He's not the first leader to suffer from this condition, but it's become quite obvious that he's right up there.

Funny. He based his whole campaign on projecting the opposite image.

Acting is not his forte.

PenGwen said...

Well, and frankly he is quoting none other than Donald Trump who made the same proclomations on CNN last week. To say the interviewer was shccked was and understatment!

I cannot find that video interview, but he is saying something similar in this Larry King interview.

PenGwen said...

Opps here is the link

liberazzi said...

Harper's overall performance in this campaign has been particularily bad. This continued 24/7 emphasis on strictly Harper I think has hurt the CPC cause in the long run, but then again who else can they run out there? The only other guy I see is Baird and is he really the guy to be selling the message?

Despite this, my gut tells me that there will be a bit of a bounce for the CPC over the next couple of days. Plus, I do not like JC's post today, musing about cabinet positions, that seems to me like you are going to jinx the whole thing.

Dame said...

Another " useful " Crisis??

Let's collect nice jewelries from dead bodies??/

The man has no shame..


Steve V said...

Looks like some more excellent opportunties today on the stock market.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar impression. That interview started out well, but ended badly for Harper.

And I'm with liberazzi. I don't get the whole "let's muse about a Liberal cabinet" meme either. Too much caffeine maybe? Can we keep our eyes on the ball here?

Here's hoping that daydreaming sticks to the blogs. Unfortunately reporters read his blog. I just don't think it's the time - at all.

Can't wait for Jane Taber's take on it . . . NOT. I'm sure she'd welcome a chance to muse on turning the focus to the Liberals and possible infighting over cabinet positions.

Anonymous said...

I guess the elitists that can afford arts can also afford stocks, which may be the title for my next blog post.

Way to connect with the average Canadian Harper!

Canajun said...

Watching him last night I made a similar comment to my wife. He can sound so reasonable at times that you almost start believing him. Then you give yourself a slap upside the head and remember that everything - everything - he says is subject to denial and refutation (if that's a word) should it be in his personal best interests to do so in future.
Not at all trustworthy.
And then the "buying opportunity" comment! My retirement funds have dropped by about 25% in the past couple of weeks. Does he really think I (and folks like me - there are a lot of us) have extra cash lying around?
Idiotic comment.

North of 49 said...

The weirdest thing, to me, was that Mansbridge said, in effect, "Are you sure you want to say that?", giving him an out and an opportunity to re-phrase and re-frame the remark, but Harper didn't take it. Instead he repeated it and amplified it.

It reminded me of chess games I've played, where my opponent has made a real blunder of a move, and I've said "Are you sure you want to do that?" (I was in teaching mode, being benevolent). Sometimes the player will re-examine the board and spot the trap; other times they're convinced they're trapping me and stick with it, to their regret.

I mention this only because Harper is supposed to be a master strategist, playing chess (we're told) while everyone else is playing checkers. Maybe so, but if he ever had a kindly avuncular teacher like me, he's forgotten the lessons.

Steve V said...

Yes, Mansbridge caught the significance of what he was saying right away, which speaks to how poorly thought out the comment.


Any good? I fancy myself around 1800.

Ken Breadner said...

For a guy who's always trying to tap that Timmy's zeitgeist, he sure did come off all Starbucky.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered at that analogy.

After all, if you're the only one playing chess in a room full of people playing checkers, why is it seen as a sign of intelligence that you haven't the brains to recognize you're in the wrong room?

Steve V said...


Win or lose, I think we can finally dispense of this "Harper plays chess" nonsense, they've run a BAD campaign, by any measure. Watching the Liberals implode in 2006, and a timely RCMP report, doesn't make one a chess master, it makes them in the "right place, right time".

Steve V said...

Dion hit Harper between the eyes on the "opportunities" angle in his speech today :)

burlivespipe said...

So what are the headlines today? I think that's a key relevant point after Harper's carpetbagger statement...

Steve V said...

Here's a good one:

"A lively Dion slams ‘out of touch' Harper".

dalestreet said...

What astounded me during this interview was how pleased the Prime Minister seemed when discussing the recent stock market drops. The entire time he sat with a grin on his face as if he secretly enjoyed all the turmoil that is going on. His musing about "great buying opportunities" just reinforced the impression I was getting of him. It seemed that he was advocating, even encouraging, people to pick over the financial corpses of their fellow Canadians. Not very Prime Ministerial.

Steve V said...


I don't really think a projecting the appearance of a vulture is really a good strategy :) But, you're right, Harper seemed to relish talking about it, which just shows why he is tanking.

burlivespipe said...

Apparently, his reference to Noah was incorrect; while Noah built the boat before the rains, it was Harper who stayed back to sell umbrellas to those left behind.