Monday, September 22, 2008
How to Strip Harper Down to his Underwear
I must say I'm surprised that this little Rocky Horror Mammon Show hasn't made much of an impression on the way the progressive parties are conducting their campaigns.
Because it offers them a unique opportunity to strip Stephen Harper down to his ideological underwear....and hit him where it really hurts.
Let me explain what I mean. Take the tainted meat scandal for example. So far most of the attacks have focused on the Gerry Ritz comments. But that only speaks to the character of the Cons. What you also have to do is look at the real crime, as Scott Tribe points out here.
The fact that the RepubliCons would cripple the power of federal inspectors to keep our food safe.
But even that isn't enough. If Canadians are going to understand the narrative, in addition to a bad character and a crime you also need a MOTIVE. That's the missing frame in this campaign.
And the motive is that Stephen's Harper all consuming ambition is to destroy the power of government:
"Whether Canada ends up as one national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with one national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be."
Speech to the Colin Brown Memorial Dinner, National Citizens Coalition, 1994
He wants to de-regulate or privatize EVERYTHING. To kill the government that we depend on in Canada to protect us. Kill the culture that sets us apart from the U.S. And turn our country into a neocon jungle where Big Business and Big Oil frolic...and the rest of us struggle to survive in a country that isn't ours any longer.
That isn't a Canadian view of course. It's an American one. For decades the Republicans have made cutting taxes and shrinking government their Holy Grail.
At least until now.
Of all the points raised by different analysts about the economy last week, surely the best was Representative Barney Frank’s reminder on “Charlie Rose” that Ronald Reagan’s favorite laugh line was telling audiences that: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’ ”
Hah, hah, hah.
Are you still laughing? If it weren’t for the government bailing out Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and A.I.G., and rescuing people from Hurricane Ike and pumping tons of liquidity into the banking system, our economy would be a shambles. How would you like to hear the line today: “I’m from the government, and I can’t do a darn thing for you.”
Hah, hah, hah, indeed.
Now suddenly after twenty years of calling for de-regulation John McCain is twisting in the wind. And so should Stephen Harper. Because after doing the same thing as McCain all his life, he's now standing there with his ideological underwear down to his ankles. As history runs out on him.
If the progressive parties can hang that frame around his neck...persuade Canadians that Stephen Harper would destroy the power of government to protect them at a scary time like this...and is willing to put his failed ideology before our lives. The Monster may yet be exposed for what he is.
And the war may yet be won....