Monday, December 15, 2008

Harper Has Seen A Ghost



Okay, I've seen enough now to confirm my instincts. I know you can't trust Harper, believe me, but watching the body language, the tone, the way the government is now caving, this isn't a man who's feeling particularly cocky. Maybe the GG warned him, "get it right, or get the coalition", maybe he's read the polls that show his popularity plummeting, maybe he's own people are nervous about his leadership, whatever, Harper has seen a ghost.

I put the above picture up, because it's indicative of Harper's posture during the entire interview. Small, meek, the same way he's been in all interviews since this parliamentary crisis appeared. Even more amazing, in this interview, Harper talks openly about himself in the PAST tense:
"Make sure I can walk away from this, saying I did the best for the Canadian economy."

"I love this job, and the day I leave it I always be thankful to have had it. I'm not going to be a guy, who sits around and writes all kinds of memoirs about how everybody did him wrong"

"Enjoy it as much as I can. It's going to be a tough year, and do the best job we can. And, always be thankful for having had the opportunity. The day I'm through with it, and the day my party is through with me, I'll find a way of serving people in another capacity."

I'm reading the usual bluster from Conservative partisans, arguing that Harper will run over the opposition like a "freight train", a majority in his grasp, he holds all the cards. I believe this mindset is utter delusion of the highest order, as I mentioned earlier, people make a critical error using opinion of the coalition to comfort themselves. Stephen Harper is less popular NOW, than at any other time during his reign. The Conservative Party has no identity, it all revolves around their leader, Harper has made himself the central thesis. This strategy was a good one, because "leadership" was the Conservatives trump card, when faced with Dion, but that has largely evaporated now. The fate of the Conservative Party will largely be a question on Harper, and I suspect Harper's braintrust is now well aware that this is a risky proposition.

Every move we've seen to date, suggests Harper doesn't share the confidence of his minions, he looks and acts like a man trying to cobble together a solution to save his skin. Again, I have no trust in Harper, as soon as he sees his next opening, he will revert to his more genuine self, but that clearly isn't the case now. I honestly believe Harper wants to avoid an election, despite the nefarious results of some findings, he knows that he's damaged himself and needs time to regroup. Let's keep it real, Harper will never steam roll through Ontario, he would lose seats in Quebec, which means another election would bring at best the same mandate, but more probable a lesser one, maybe even defeat. Anything less than the same, and Harper is effectively done, his party will turn on him. So, why head to the polls now, when you chances are iffy at best. I would argue, Harper's moves to date, tell us he agrees with the above, this is a man trying to avoid a confrontation, not find one, because he's on the cusp of ultimate control.

Others may have a different perspective, but from what I've see, Harper is oozing insecurity and lessened stature. His own actions betray an objective truth, and it's why I can understand why Liberal MP's were "quite optimistic" today after meeting with Flaherty. A temporary circumstance, but one I won't be surprised to see hold true until after the budget delivery.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exactly why the Liberals should let him off the hook, sit on their hands, whatever -- just take your foot off his throat so that he can be a LEADER.

Mushroom said...

The ghost of Iggy? LOL.

A Grit who is well versed in humanitarian intervention and sees Harper for who he is: the smartest kid among a group of racists, gun-raving lunatics, and church crazies, who would throw him overboard for a Sarah Palin-Stockwell Day type leader at the earliest opportunity.

There will be a golf course where Harper can work as a caddy for Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. No foursomes for Harpo though, whose golf scores are far higher than Chretien and Paul Martin!!!

Jerry Prager said...

There's those Karla Homolka eyes again, with the dead things moving around inside them.

WesternGrit said...

So Harp is a crappy golfer too (higher scores than PM or JC)? LOL...

I think the "contrition" is part of the act. I'm sure a good PR person told Harp to look "contrite", broken, etc., or the Liberals will club you like a Newfoundlander to a "Harp Seal" (or Harper Seal)...

I think the Cons believe that Harper has the "sympathy" of most Canadians, and portraying himself as the "victim" who is being "attacked" and fallen prey to a "coup". They will try to play this up. This must be his "humble" look. They probably polled and found that he didn't look sorry enough in the past few interviews...

Jymn said...

It's just an act. Harper is still arrogant and cavalier about his country. He just wants us to be lulled into his legacy project. The "I'm not so bad" mantra is his new selling point. It seems unfortunately to be working

Steve V said...

It's an act of necessity, and it suggests Harper's past his best before date.

burlivespipe said...

I'd tend to think it's an act too. The sort of play that says 'sorry for screwing up' without the actual apology. Not that I don't like your assessment, but I'm just too skeptical to think that he still thinks parliament isn't his own personal version of Punk'D...

JimmE said...

YYikes!
This is the CLEVER PLAN?
If you're a REFORM/ALLIANCE/CONSERVATIVE fan & you spinn that this is part of some master plan we mere humans don't get, then you should also be willing to accept this could also be part of Iggy's master plan.
N'est pas Mr. Biggellesworth?

Steve V said...

I see someone backpeddling, and that tells me Harper's off balance. It's not just that Harper's diminished, his chief opponents are objectively more potent. Harper's hurt himself, and he's lost his punching bag in the process. Three weeks ago, the entire fall and spring strategy was predicated on a weak Liberal Party, with no leader, leaving the government unchallenged during a crucial economic period.

I see a serious regroup here, it might be an act, but it ain't going according to script.

Anonymous said...

Do not be fooled by Stephen Harper's beaten and left for dead personae.

He's like a rat that would pretend it was dead, even float face down in the water so you'll stop beating it.

He's playing possum. Playing to his base that he is so set-upon and hard-done-by.

Don't be fooled. Make him stand up and say what he has to say, and live by his words.

Yeah, I know it's Christmas and all, love one another and all that jazz, but seriously folks, Christmas is just any other day to the animal that is Stephen Harper.

He's just playing cute possum. Awwww!

Mushroom said...

Steve,

Harper's off-balance but his chin is not make of glass. Martin and Dion could have him for dinner a few times and he is still standing. The key for him is for him to make it to the bell and regroup in the corner. Note that Iggy's chin has not been tested and he could be knocked down in one punch. Thus, this is still the first round of a long twelve rounder.

The goal should still be the long haul. Better to stick to a fight plan and win through a thousand cuts than going for a knockout punch. This may be the Grit tactic for now.

RuralSandi said...

That's the thing isn't it - the Conservatives(Reformers) always play the victim. Trouble with that victims are not leaders.

Liberal media bias, some one else's fault, feel sorry for me - it's to be pitied, not admired.

We all know that bullies are insecure people. They think fear from others make them strong. Terrorists, Mafia, gangs - it's all about fear.

I don't think a guy who has personal hatreds to the point his whole political career is to get back is mentally stable enough to be PM (just ask Nixon). Interesting timing with plays, movies and Nixon tapes isn't it.

Jeff said...

Yes, the Conservatives are looking bad. Flaherty did not speak to the media, leaving McCallum and Brison to frame the issue and say what had just happened. In a very polite way, they said that Flaherty had agreed that the previous Conservative numbers were a joke, and that he would bring back something more pleasing to the Liberals.

And yes, it is a serious regroup, BUT we saw a version of this back off, regroup and attack before. One day, a defeated-looking Harper sulking and saying that Dion was about to pull the biggest stunt in Canadian parliamentary history. Then the next day, a crazed general screaming about separatists, with his followers howling their support like religious fanatics.

Whatever else you may say of them, they know how to push buttons, and I would expect more of the same.

Joyce said...

What worries me is that he really doesn't have a clue as to what to do in these economic times. The Liberals are looking much more decicive. Who's panicking now. I think the public in the next few weeks will see the Liberals as the "steady hand."

Antonio said...

The Tories are doing one of two things

either they will allow Ignatieff to pass his budget

or try to show like they offered the Liberals enough and they refused.

either one puts the Liberal Party firmly in the drivers' seat.

Susan said...

Great comments today - wish more Canadians had their eyes open and their brains turned on. I think Harper's just playing dead again - either he's got something up his sleeve or he's going to quit. And I don't think he's quite ready to quit yet, but if the going gets too bad, he will walk away. Wish we knew what the GG said to him.

Steve V said...

"Do not be fooled by Stephen Harper's beaten and left for dead personae."

I think you miss the point. Nobody is fooled, trust me, but that doesn't detract from a key point, Harper is on the defensive and not entirely in control of the agenda.