Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Stevie's on the ropes over the Middle East.

These polling results are crazy. Stevie's support on the Middle East issue is dropping like a stone, and a significant majority are convinced that he's taking his marching orders from Dubya. The man is in very dangerous territory here. If he changes his mind, he'll contradict his own "moral clarity" bullshit -- apparently, if you take a stand, even a wrong one, you demonstrate "moral clarity", which is better than "waffling" by refusing to reach a snap decision. On the other hand, if he tries to stick it out, he may take the party down with him -- indeed, polls are already showing that it's happening, as the Cons (who had been gaining ground) are now pretty much where they were after the last federal election. He's got to either change his mind or stick it out. Hence, it seems he can't win. His only hope, then, of even retaining a minority next time around will have to be to develop some domestic issues after this crisis evaporates from public consciousness -- and then campaign on those. It's a risky move, as if those domestic issues blow up in his face as well, the Cons will have nowhere to turn. But it's the only thing I can see him doing.

So, can we please hold all the talk about how Stevie knows what he's doing? The man is flailing badly; only an idiot would have embroiled himself in a situation like this without carefully planning an escape route.


Larry Gambone said...

I have never believed that the Harpocrit's authoritarian views were shared by a majority of the populace. Poll-wise, Canadians take progressive and libertarian stands on most issues. - by 60-70%. Most of us aren't a bunch of haters, meddlers and warmongers. This is even more true in Quebec where the Harpocrits have to make inroads to get a future majority.

ADHR said...

Voters did hand Stevie the weakest minority government in Canadian electoral history. (That's one of my favourite little factoids about the man.) So, if there really were a big conservative revolution underway in Canada, it's an astonishingly anemic one.

I'm not sure why you use the word "libertarian". Libertarians generally believe in the paramount value of personal liberty -- endorsing a so-called "night-watchman" state. I've always thought that Canadians, on the whole, tended more towards the sort of ideas put forward by communitarians.

That said, even without Quebec, in theory, the Cons could still get a majority. They'd have to make greater in-roads in Ontario -- unlikely if John Tory is elected provincially (I don't recall the last time that Ontario had a provincial government of the same stripe as the feds) -- and into the Maritimes, as well as shoring up the West, so it is possible. However, given that the Cons have been so heavily focused on getting into Quebec, the Middle East issue might be enough of a wedge to shut them out, in favour of either the rising NDP (pulling off the leftist segment of the Bloc) and/or the ADQ (pulling off the centrist and right-of-centre votes).

Basically, Harper's coming off as an extremist, and that's a very poor way to win office in Canada. (Or, indeed, in most places. I'm reminded of the caution attributed to Nixon that conservatives should "run from the center, and govern from the right".) Most voters don't seem to seriously believe he's converted to a moderate from his extreme Calgary school roots, and this foreign policy direction is apparently buttressing their suspicions.