Monday, September 28, 2015

Turnaround Tom, Where Are You?

I knew that New Dems were getting wobbly in the knees about their party's flagging campaign when I started getting the line about how a vote for the Green Party is a vote for Harper. Isn't that what they used to call "projection"?

The NDP doesn't need my help to sink their campaign. Tom Mulcair seems to be doing that for them.  The Toronto Star's Tim Harper writes the NDP needs to focus on putting some spine back in their campaign.

In the early months of 2015, the team around Mulcair worked hard to humanize their man, having him drop biographical snippets into his speeches, trying to ensure he looked accommodating and non-threatening.

With it came the ubiquitous reassuring smile. But Mulcair began the campaign so focused on appearing comforting and prime ministerial that his passion appeared to be vacuumed out. In the French debate a bit of his aggressiveness returned, but Mulcair seems so leery of being caricatured again as “Angry Tom” that he has forgotten that part of his appeal in the first place was the indignation he regularly flashed when taking on Harper in Ottawa. He was channelling some of the passion of voters seeking change, but too few voters have seen that Mulcair and have only been exposed to this toned down, more vanilla version of the NDP leader.

He argues that Mulcair made a strategic blunder when he 'toned down' his platform.

Mulcair would raise the corporate tax rate, but not tax the upper income 1 per cent or make any changes to Harper’s child care benefit. It is Trudeau who would tax the rich and take the child benefits away from “millionaires.”

A drug-buying scheme that sounds like pharmacare stops just short of being pharmacare. A bold daycare plan would take years to unspool and is predicated on provincial buy-in.

Trudeau would end any bid to buy the F-35 fighter jet, leaving Mulcair to muddle in the middle of the jet fighter debate, criticizing Harper’s defence procurement but defending the open competition process.

It’s not that the NDP hasn’t put an electoral package on the table. It is that they seem reluctant to go the extra, bold step in selling their ideas because Mulcair got trapped in the cautious front-runner frame of mind.

Now he has a niqab problem in Quebec. He has had to spend too much time threading the needle on issues — and taking on Trudeau instead of Harper.

Similarly on the question of the environment and pipelines, proximity to power has forced Mulcair to pull his punches.

His position on the Energy East pipeline sounds murky to this ear and he has to be careful of the opposition to the pipeline in Quebec, home to the lion’s share of his support, while appearing sufficiently responsible on the energy sector to look like a man who could run the country. It is a tight fit politically.

An election campaign is a lousy place for the timid. To some you may appear indecisive, to others insincere.


Owen Gray said...

Tom has lost sight of his real enemy, Mound.

Toby said...

Owen is right, "Tom has lost sight of his real enemy . . . "

I have sent several emails to Mulcair and Trudeau and their local acolytes explaining that they need to slay the dragon but they ignore my advice. Neither is facing the Harper reality. They both seem to be playing some silly game and spend more time slagging each other than learning how to get rid of Harper.

Mulcair must have spent too much time with Adrian Dix.

Anonymous said...

Tom's become a disappointing fail.
Whoever told him to out-Harper Stephen Harper should be fired.
Which is ultimately good news for the Libs because that means JT might come ripping ahead. That is, if Kathleen Wynne and her gang of crooks don't spoil the Ontario vote. Oops. They already have.

The Mound of Sound said...

I've never been fond of Mulcair. He always struck me as politically vacuous, a career opportunist. During this campaign he seemed to always be pandering to the crowd, telling them what he calculated they wanted to hear. Yet he always held back, using ambiguous words and seeming to leave himself plenty of wiggle room.

I guess that's what Tim Harper sees a Mulcair's blunder - his inability to take a decisive, coherent stand on the big issues.

Let's hope we see a new Mulcair in tonight's debates.

Anonymous said...

The Angry Mound gets his irrational hatred of everything NDP from being a life-long Liberal partisan. (Liberals can't stand the NDP getting votes they feel entitled to.) Now he's a Green partisan because he likes Green Party tax cuts better than Liberal tax cuts. (But clearly Liberal tax cuts are a close second.)

Nothing is more ridiculous than what grey-haired Baby Boomers consider progressive. At least the Conservative ones are not trying to fool anyone.

The Mound of Sound said...

As ever, you're all class, Anon.

Mogs Moglio said...

Mound the BC election never made sense to me. We were being told [lied to]that the Provincial NDP were going to 'sweep' the election. Never happened. There are some oddities with regards to polling in this federal election 2015 as well.

Here are some writings by Kevin Logan and Walt McGinnis that should set off some alarm bells about the current election due to the 'cast of characters' they describe: [same article]

Seems like the federal NDP is also under the influence...

This election is rigged Harper will win.

ThinkingManNeil said...

Shit Head has us exactly where he wants us; sniping at each other, draining away energy and attention from the real fight, and distracting us with infighting and partisan score keeping. This is a one issue election, folks, ONE ISSUE, and if we lose sight of the critical necessity of breaking Harper's grip on this country then we face the very real danger - and likelihood - of losing Canada as a democracy forever. The issues aren't taxes or deficits or who spoke french when, THE ISSUE IS HARPER. Remember the old adage: 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend". Let's take that to heart for the sake of our beloved Canada and our futures, OK? So stop with the fighting and the name calling and TAKE THIS BASTARD DOWN!


The Mound of Sound said...

@ Mogs - interesting articles, very dark. I have a hard time accepting that the politicos are electoral livestock herded from pen to pen to abattoir by p.r. types in service to unknown masters. The article with the headline suggesting the NDP and Cons are 'colluding' in this election is over the top. There's a lot of innuendo but no smoking gun.

The Mound of Sound said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Mound of Sound said...

@ Neil. I can understand the New Dem faithful getting a bit shirty with those of a different clan. They were, supposedly, well ahead and have had to watch their fortunes decline rather drastically of late even as Harper's rose.

It is discouraging to see the Libs focusing on Harper while Mulcair seems to spend fully as much time and effort attacking Trudeau as he does Harper. I can't help but think that tactic has been playing a role in the NDP decline.

Mogs Moglio said...

I would not go so far as suggesting that Mulcair is in on it. But a few well placed individuals in the BC Lib/NDP campaigns obviously played a major role in the outcome. But my question is why is Mulcair not focusing on Harper?

This alone if hammered on day in and day out would ruin much of Harper's credibility in his war on terror and ISIS. Nobody wants to talk about the behemoth in the room.

Toby said...

"Are the NDP and Conservatives, while working under the guidance of Hill+Knowlton, collaborating to fix the 2015 Federal election?" See article by Walt McGinnis.

Rigging the Canadian Federal Election

Is McGinnis right? Is the election rigged? Is Tom selling us out? It seems far fetched but after these years with Harper I am no longer surprised.

Mogs Moglio said...

Toby what I get from that is the main people in the party don't have to know. A very small belligerent few that are beholding to a different plan can change the shape of political events. Sound does not agree with that. I have seen it here in BC and why are the same actors involved now in the federal election who were culpable in determining BC's election? Clark was not getting in until the character actors stole both sides of the 'war room' of the provincial leaders. Shucks after that it was a shoo-in Clark won against all odds...

Now we have Mulcair entering the 'race' as 'the favorite' but lately at the bottom of the heap only being surpassed by E. May as the least amount of support...

Toby said...

Mogs, I see you had already posted the same link I did. Sorry, I didn't mean to double post. I haven't found an edit function here or I would change mine.

I think your analysis is good. NDP people at all levels seem to be a bit naive at times. They haven't really understood just how dirty the Conservatives (or BC Libs) can be. Harper's Conservatives are not the Progressive Conservatives of Bob Stanfield. One would think that using people associated with Hill + Knowlton or using advisors who had worked for the Harper Conservatives would send up all sorts of warning flares but the party faithful don't even notice.

In a similar fashion, most Canadians are nice people who generally trust others. As a whole we have a very difficult time believing that one man could set out to destroy Canadian institutions such as CBC or universal health care but Harper is doing this stuff. I won't be the least bit surprised if Harper comes up the middle with another majority, elected by people who swallow the kool aid.

Mogs Moglio said...

Toby, You are right we have to re-think what is being spoon-fed and what the hidden reality really is and what it points to. Look any one that has seriously dug into Harper knows that he should never ever have been considered as Prime Ministerial material. Yet there he sits everyday flaunting himself in our faces and progresses the view of his overlords in our collective faces. Those views are detrimental to the fabric of the Canadian public and Harper gets a twisted joy ort of forcing something alien down our throats.

I agree with you cept for a single exception from what I have learned the Libs and Cons are manipulated more than the ordinary citizen would have the cap-ability of understanding. It makes no sense for them to be crooked and for a registered 'Party' to make the kinds of decisions they do without undue outer influence brought to bear.

Our democracy is being f**ked with.

Dana said...

And now the NDP is in favour of making arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

"Mulcair said after the debate the government must question the human rights record of Saudi Arabia and that his government would look at the human rights record of any country in which it intended to sign an agreement on arms.

Harper defended the deal, saying many of Canada's allies were also after that contract. He also said Saudi Arabia is an ally in the fight against ISIL, and the deal is crucial to the region's economy.

Irene Mathyssen, NDP candidate and MP in the last Parliament in London-Fanshawe, said she has since spoken to Mulcair and GDLS officials.

She said the contract wouldn't be cancelled under an NDP win, but the party wanted "more transparency" from the federal government.

"It's a signed deal. We recognize the impact this will have for General Dynamics,"

Mathyssen said. "The issue is the Conservatives are so secretive they don't tell anyone what they are up to. We have to do due diligence and investigate."

Toby said...

This is depressing.

"There will be a majority Conservative government on the morning of Tuesday, October 20th, led by a man most Canadians hate. So much for being a normal country."

Garth Turner ran a poll at his GreaterFool site. Over 7,000 readers responded. Results: "Cons 45.5%, Libs 25.0%, NDP 19.3%, Greens 10.2%." You can read about it here.

A Tory harvest

The most obvious problem is that it is an on-line poll and only people who frequent a specialized site would respond. Still, 7,000 is a big number.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Dana. Nobody wants to ask just what Saudi Arabia has in mind for those armoured fighting vehicles or all the other sorts of high-tech weaponry they're buying as fast as they can sign the contracts.

This "human rights" bullshit is a smokescreen. The end purpose of that weaponry is the important question.

If, as some like prince Bandar have said, the Sunni nations, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are preparing to exterminate the Shiites well then we have just made ourselves party to something extremely ugly, potentially even genocidal.

Harper rationalizes the deal by saying if Canada doesn't supply those vehicles another nation will. Maybe so but that's not the point. You sell them, you bear responsibility for what could be their foreseeable use.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Toby - there are plenty of polls being conducted and no possible reason to get distracted by Garth Turner's outlier. His readership constituency remains predominately conservative and the outcome of his poll will inevitably be skewed.

Anonymous said...

Anyong said: "Let me make it perfectly clear", a repeat of Nixon's. Harper wants to be President of all of North America. Let's face it, we are not being told the truth about anything and especially not the Middle East and let me include the TPP. For those of us who realize what is taking place through an intact brain, are labelled mental. Having listened last evening to five people, four of which are hankering for a job in Parliament, Brent Smith, a scientist and representing the Green Party was the only person who made any sense. However, he will not be elected even though, he is a teacher, permaculture designer and biologist. Brent currently teaches Industrial Reclamation and Ecology at Medicine Hat College, having switched gears after working for over fourteen years with the Canadian Army and as a government biologist.
While completing his Master’s Thesis on Prairie Ecosystems, Brent began to understand the multitude of ecological, energy, and economic issues that civilization currently faces. This process led him to leave his comfortable government job, and begin a career as a permaculture designer. He now grows fruit, nuts, and vegetables on his own property, collecting rainwater for irrigation, and has installed solar panels and passive geothermal to heat, cool and power his house. Most of the population in this area, are engrained with the Harper ideology that forms the basis of Harper's form of economic and political policy. They have not any appreciation for what Brent represents.