Hyperbolic Anti-Harper Agit-Prop

Now that Stephen Harper is apparently no longer afraid to declare that he wants a majority government, the reaction from some on the left is… well, how shall we say, more than a wee bit hysterical in nature.

Personally, I don’t think that Harper is the Dark Lord of the Sith or the Devil incarnate, but I have to admit to being somewhat apprehensive about what a Harper majority government might do should things shake out that way. Even so, ridiculous, infantile scare-mongering like the video clip posted above demonizing Harper (almost quite literally), serves no good purpose whatsoever.

16 Replies to “Hyperbolic Anti-Harper Agit-Prop”

  1. Reminds me somewhat of the hysterical description given to Harper by Bobby Kennedy Jr in a Huffington Post thing he wrote a couple of months back. Basically he wrote Harper was some ultra-right tea-party-style neanderthal.

    Problem is of course that you can’t directly compare Canadian politics to its US counterpart. Harper as the Conservative leader is to the right of a majority of Canadian voters, but as a US conservative he would be labeled a Democrat …and a pretty liberal one at that.

    My beef with him was always his populism trumping solid policy, dictatorial leadership style suppressing local riding associations & the grass roots, and his sliminess in adapting Liberal party shape-shifting on the road to acquiring power, and eroding our democracy more than any past PM in the process. He is dangerous in that he’s nothing more than a political hack in the PM’s chair who should never have obtained an office greater than, say, premier of Alberta …not because he’s some scary US-style ultra-rightwing monster.

  2. I agree with you regarding the ad but it’s mild stuff compared to the batshit crazy stuff that comes out of the less stable Conservative supporters. But BBQ season has started & illnever turn down free tin foil.

  3. TofKW: Harper has been pretty moderate as things go (which is to be expected in a minority position), but in terms of the style of governance, he leaves a lot to be desired. Whether his policies would change radically if given a majority is an interesting question, but being hypothetical in nature, it’s impossible to tell. I do think however that the media should start nailing him down on what he would or wouldn’t do should he manage to win a majority. His plan to achieve a balanced budget simply doesn’t add up and people have a right to know where the cuts required will be coming from. The notion that he’s going to find billions of dollars in cutting “waste” and improving efficiency is the oldest crock in the book.

  4. Sassy: I share the sentiment, but I’m not sure that this is the right way to go about it. Making hysterical claims and demonizing Harper only plays into the hands of those who would dismiss otherwise legitimate concerns about what what a Harper majority would in terms of cutting social programs, defunding the CBC, or whatever…

  5. WHOA

    I am, as all regular bloggers who have ever read me know a fearsome foe of Harper, and unlike our good host here someone who DOES see him as nearly as bad as Palpatine Lord of the Sith that he is, or at least as close to as you get in reality in our political culture. Having said that, this ad went over the top when it went to the hanging claims and imagery, period. If that element had been left out then I would not have said this ad goes too far (I would have said it was on the edge though but within the bounds of the reality of who Harper is based on his own history of actions and statements which as RT knows has always been where my opposition to him has been rooted) but simply a hard hitting gut check to the reality of what we have seen from the Harper minority and what past performance predicts of future performance if given the near unchecked powers of a majority PM in our system could all too easily with him occur.

    That’s my quarter on this (I’d say two cents but inflation has well since surpassed that being worth anything).

  6. Harper’s a Claude Wagner crossed with circa ’76 Paul Hellyer, but he’s still dangerous. As for being a liberal Democrat, Harper’s strong pro-death penalty and pro-globalisation positions put him smack in the centre of the Democratic Party, if not a tad to the right of it. He’s certainly to the right of Clinton and Kerry.

  7. Sir Francis, nice description. But Harper is dangerous in that he does not possess the aptitude of either Wagner or ’76 Hellyer, he’s more like modern day Hellyer. By that I don’t mean Harper’s flipped his lid, rather he’s an ideologue and his firebrand populism mixed with neo-liberal laissez-faire corporatism is as out-there as Hellyer’s UFO’s. He’s a political hack, and does not deserve the position he holds.

  8. He’s a political hack, and does not deserve the position he holds.

    Agreed. In my view (and pace Red’s plea for moderation here), Harper just barely deserves the air he breathes. He’s the closest thing to a traitor the PMO has ever been defiled by.

    As for the ad at issue, in our era of casual hyper-reality, it’s difficult to know how to set the OTT bar to a standard that has any chance of enjoying significant popular assent. I’m not sure that a society that elevates Charlie Sheen to the status of culture hero has either the desire or capacity to evaluate the rational groundedness of any component of our political discourse.

    I will say this, though: to be accurate, the measure of a man’s malignancy must take account of what he appears capable of, not just what he’s done or says he will do. Americans chose Nixon in a colossal landslide in ’72 because his carefully cultivated avuncular banality had eclipsed their memories of his ‘50s ruthlessness and dimmed the aura of vindictive neurosis he’d always carried. If McGovern had suggested during his campaign that Nixon was capable of operating a parallel government and pursuing a program of extrajudicial assassination and domestic terrorism (even though Watergate had already occurred), he would have been denounced, primarily by fellow Democrats, as an unhinged alarmist.

    In Harper, we have (psychologically, at least) our own Nixon—paranoid, sullen, self-loathing, narcissistic, and bitter. The very embodiment of “the small man”. I do not think it outrageous to speculate, based on past performance and an analysis of how such a mentality usually manifests itself, about what Harper may do if allowed free executive reign.

  9. Sure videos like that are to the extreme. I’m scared of a Conservative majority because the back benchers that have been muzzled for years are not going to stay quiet if they hold a majority. It will come through on private members bills and there will not be enough votes in the opposition to stop them. Harper will keep his hands clean of all it.

  10. The comparison to Nixon is spot-on.

    I’m still trying to find something in the video that isn’t true, minus the mediscare quote, of course. Interesting that it took the CPC six days to debunk the latter, though–they must have waded through a lot of muck, the sweat glistening on their brows. After all, it was something he could have said.

  11. Darlene, I very much doubt a Harper majority would, as an example, attempt to outlaw abortions – even by the private members bill angle. First of all we know any such law would be unconstitutional, and the only way to overturn that would be with the infamous ‘not withstanding’ clause. Second, assuming he’d go with that angle it would split the rank and file of his own party, for every religious fanatic in the CPC there are many more who are not. Thirdly any attempt like this would ensure a CPC defeat in the 2015 election as dramatic as Kim Campbell’s 1993 disaster.

    Would he scrap the LGR & eliminate per-vote subsidies? Most definitely. Would he hold a free vote on re-instating capital punishment? Likely, though there’s another charter challenge there. But I don’t see anything much more radical than this. What you would see is more wasteful spending on jails and the military (to make them what they are not, a first response invader force – rather than for domestic defense and peace-keeping) and gutting of social programs. Health care I doubt would be one of them. Also with the elimination of the mandatory long-form census, you can expect that a Harper majority would neuter any government body with information that could prove his spending priorities are unwarranted and ineffectual. Also he would solidify power within the PMO to levels never achieved by any past government, though really he’s already done this with a minority. And finally you can expect he would do anything to marginalize the opposition parties, and specifically to kill the Liberal party if at all possible.

    Forgot one additional thing, expect a Harper majority to leave us with a massive deficit that would make the Trudeau administration look like fiscal conservatives in comparison. After all this is the same gang running our finances that put the Ontario budget in the red during the Mike Harris years …in good economic times.

  12. Sir Francis re your post of April 18 2011 at 4:02 pm specifically your second to last paragraph:

    I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the points about the importance of measuring capability (that was one of the reasons I was so upset at the Grewal fraud and the way he covered it up, when you will blatantly lie like that while in opposition and pretend it was all a media conspiracy with the Lib war room when it blows up in your face you are capable of anything and in power could do almost anything) as well as past record and statements of intent and of how McGovern would have sounded (and seen as) if he had claimed during that election what turned out to be what Nixon was doing with the White House powers he had and his willingness to delve into criminal conduct just to try and keep a leg up on his domestic political opposition (and he wasn’t openly trying to destroy the Democratic Party, as opposed to Harper who clearly is out to destroy the Liberal party of Canada). I’ve never been willing to write what I truly feel Harper is capable of in no small part because I know it would sound that deranged. As it is what I’ve argued he was capable of back before he came to power and since has gotten me branded as a hysteric (even though it turned out I was underestimating just how serious his abuse of power scandals would end up being, just because the public doesn’t seem to recognize/care about them doesn’t make them magically less serious) and I still haven’t gone as far as I fear he truly is capable of especially if ever given a majority government.

    Harper is dangerous because he thinks he is right, everyone else is wrong, and that the ends (namely his ends) justify any and all means regardless of whether they are unprecedented, against prior traditions, or worse illegal even criminally so. I’ve never been so hostile to a party leader ever getting near power, let alone retaining it as I have been about Harper, and it is because I see him as so far outside the normal range for Canadian political leaders of any major party. He has always appeared to me to be that dangerous. Which is why I also agree with your comment regarding the defilement of the PMO and what he is, as harsh as it sounds (and is).

  13. Bah. Simon rocks. I’ve been reading his blog for a while now and he does get a little extreme sometimes, but really, why not when our democratic process is in jeopardy because people are too apathetic to do something about it? We need the proverbial slap in the face and even if Simon goes about it differently than we might like sometimes, it might wake some people up. And come election day, if I see the same results as last time (or, God forbid, a majority), my heart will break, but at least I know many of us tried our best to get the word out.

  14. Ted, I don’t want a majority for any party. It’s just worse if it’s a Harper majority. Their ideology is off so far from mine. No party or leader has my trust to do what right for this country. If I had my way, it would be a Lib minority, with enough Cons to keep them on a short leash and enough NDP to make sure they live up to their promises. Unfortunately that’s not what going to happen. Best case scenario we wind up with the same seat scenario and have another 5 years of bickering and nothing productive being done, all the while some more of our democracy is eroded. Pretty sad state of affairs we’re in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s