Sunday, December 30, 2007

Expectations...low

No doubt we've all seen Harper's year end interviews.

That he seemed to be lowering expectations for the economy in 2008 at first struck me as odd. Then I started thinking about it. In the end, I thought that Harper was laying the ground for future sound bites aimed squarely at Dion and the Liberals.

Dion of course has indicated that he wants to reverse the damage that Harper has done to Canada as a whole. That would include re-instating most of what Harper cut and initiating new programs that address environmental issues and other social needs.

My thought was that Harper is intentionally dashing any hope of that, because while the cupboard isn't bare, it's simply not going to be what it was because of what he and Flaherty have done. Rather than own that truth, it's so Haper-like to shift the blame elsewhere. He'll carefully shift the blame to the US and of course he will find a way to suggest how frivolous the Lib's and Dion are re' spending. (Classic GOP vs Dems)

The irony of course is what it always is with the Con's. They proclaim that they are what they are not. Good stewards of the economy/finances, open and transparent, blah, blah, blah. History tells us a different story. Flaherty as the main actor in this "play" provides especially delicious irony. He ruined Ontario and has botched his file in his federal role at every turn.

Harper is setting us up. He's good at that isn't he? He's taking a risk on this one though, imo. First and foremost, he has to dis his buddy Bush. Bush of course will be gone soon, so not much risk there. He may try to take a swipe at the Dem's being at the root of America's ills, but I would hope that the press would laugh out loud at that. So, Harper being who he is, will throw whomever is required under the bus. He speaks often to the entitlement that Lib's feel. Please! No one feels more entitled than Harper both personally and party-wise to win a majority. He believes as do his supporters that they deserve power.

We live in tough times, and Canadians have some tough questions for government. They want clear answers. They are well beyond the glib, glad-handing of the past.

Sounds like Harper right...but it's not. That is Campbell in '93. In fact, if you go back and look at what she said as a PC in '93, you'll see some similarity. Odd that. Why would he pattern himself in that manner? Chretien was out promoting a more hopeful country, stressing what could be done and Campbell was the voice of doom in a sense when contrasted.

Oddly, I read Greg Weston of the Toronto Sun today and in part found him expressing some of my sentiment.

Harper: "By and large, as we face uncertainty, the government will not be undertaking radical or big initiatives in fiscal policy, in either tax reductions or in major long-term expenditures."

Message: There will be no money left in the kitty to pay for any of the Liberals' planned campaign promises to save the environment, eradicate poverty or any other major initiatives. Too bad, so sad, for them.

It is always disconcerting when you find yourself agreeing with a conservative supporter, but perhaps it is an example of just how fed up they are with who leads them? If those in the fore are fed up and are willing to now be honest and expose the man for who he is, (think Don Martin), what of those who sit in the shadows?

They continue to bash Dion but maybe, just maybe, they are bringing some common sense to this argument. Wouldn't that be a welcome relief?

Expectations? I think Harper is going to be the king of doom while trying to suggest how well he's done. He'll bash Dion at every opportunity. In contrast, Dion will present a future that most Canadians want to glom on to.

The villain never wins in stories. Is this a story that Canadians will listen to? I do not know. What say you?

12 comments:

ottlib said...

knb:

Canandians have enjoyed the longest economic expansion since the Second World War. We have become used to it. When that bubble bursts the sitting government will be in serious trouble.

If that government happens to be a Conservative one, the most likely scenario, it could really get ugly. The Liberals would be able to claim that when they were in power they created that economic expansion and it only took two years for the Conservatives to muck it up. Although such a message would be simplistic and not completely true such messages work, as Mr. Harper has demonstrated so well.

I think Mr. Harper's statements are less about tripping up the Liberals and more about mitigating the eventual political impact of an economic slowdown.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Although such a message would be simplistic and not completely true such messages work, as Mr. Harper has demonstrated so well.
-----------------------
While true, Harper is insinuating that we don't need the US economy.
We will suffer from the US meltdown.

Let's not forget that Harper is spending like a drunken sailor except when it comes to social programs. The end result when the recession comes is hardship. It seems that Conservatives are always the worst at handling the economy.

burlivespipe said...

Underscoring these facts are a few seriously questionable economic decisions by Harper. Tying his kitty to the GST may have been a simple vote-getter, but as people lose spending power that saving goes up in dust. And a big majority of economic thinktanks have argued against it as the wisest tax cut.
The Income Tax flip-flop has marked them as being less than trustworthy; it may only affect a limited demographic but it as a message can reverberate. And the fall-out also included some of the biggest corporate buyouts, with Canadians losing ownership of some major companies, thus putting the decision making for our industry in the hands of more and more foreigners. These things were all decried by major institutions.
Harper as an economist is a myth; he's no more an economist than I am a prophet.
But he does have a psychic dresser, and for that we should all be careful.

RuralSandi said...

Tough times ahead and YET Harper's going to an electronics store to do a photo-op of the 1% GST cut on "taxpayer" money - a cut we already know about.

Almost double the amount spent on polling as the previous government.

Double the amount spent on new gas guzzling SUV's (a very few are environmentally friendly).

A primper/physic make-up/hairdresser at his side at all times - we haven't found out what this costs yet.

I expect that advertising costs will be over the moon.

Doesn't make decisions - he appints expensive panels to do it for him and YET the pundits say he's a decision maker - huh?

...yup, spending our money wisely.

Scotian said...

Risky argument for Harper to make and it leaves him open to being charged with being a bad manager of the economy. If he tries to blame it on the US in a downturn and therefore not his fault, the Libs can point back to the beginning of this decade when the US had its last downturn and how the Canadian economy didn't notice (One of the main reasons I recall this so well is because it was the first time I could recall seeing that happen, normally when the US went down so did we at least to some extent), so why under Harper's CPC is there problems this time. Indeed, this point was made on of all places CTV's QP yesterday.

Harper is yet again assuming that most people/voters are ignorant/uninterested of such matters just as they do in so many other things, and that is a mistake after the economic education many voters received over the past 15-20 years. Not to mention that his Finance Minister has a very poor track record from running Ontario's finances, which will make tying economic hardship to Conservative incompetence that much easier.

Harper is taking a real risk with this approach, and if he tries to argue that the Libs would be worse fiscal managers in such circumstances they have the defence of pointing to the first part of this decade. The facts do not stand on Harper's side in such an argument, mind you that is nothing new where Harper's CPC is concerned, I just think that on economic issues they will get caught out on it far faster than they have on most of their distortions/deceptions. Not that I plan on assuming this of course, as I have said many times now I will treat these people as a threat until they are defeated (preferably decisively defeated) in the next election, or at least kept from gaining majority control. If that Harper majority ever happens the damage Harper will do to the basic infrastructure and balance of powers in this federation will be beyond recovery I fear.

Anonymous said...

He is down in the polls and is trying to stop Jack.stephane and the bloc from bringing him down as he knows he is going out..that Gst cut is really going to screw us up...cupboard will be empty again as before Martin and Dodge

knb said...

ottlib, I think Harper is hedging his bets.

He's pretty good at that.

knb said...

cherniak_wtf:It seems that Conservatives are always the worst at handling the economy.

Indeed they are. I wonder how the mythology of the opposite view has thrived?

Great to see you here btw.

knb said...

LOL Burl.

The Income Tax flip-flop has marked them as being less than trustworthy

Funny, there were the predictable suspects, Don Martin I think, who said today that this is issue is dead.

It seems to me that petitions were being presented by MP's right up to the last session.

I love how the Con's underestimate. Not so much as it relates to the economy.

knb said...

Sandi, well said.

knb said...

Scotian, well said as usual.

I will treat these people as a threat until they are defeated (preferably decisively defeated) in the next election, or at least kept from gaining majority control.

We are united on this front.

knb said...

Anon, yes I think he's doing that.

I'm not a Dodge fan, but I take your point.