Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Economist's Take on Harper - "The Automaton"

What's wrong with the Conservative party, what's holding them back? It's not the opposition but it may well be Stephen Harper. According to The Economist, Steve just isn't connecting with the Canadian people:

"Mr Harper has been unable to do much more than survive. Respected for his competence, he has all the charisma of an automaton. “I thought that people needed time to get used to Mr Harper,” says Roger Gibbins of the Canada West Foundation, an Alberta-based think-tank. “But it's turned out that to know Harper is not to love him.” That is especially true for women. Opinion polls show little change in allegiance since the last election—except for a brief moment of Conservative advance last autumn..."

I don't know about "respected for his competence," a claim that seems to be unravelling the longer Harpo remains in office but really "Automaton?" You gotta admit, I think that nails it right on the head.


Anonymous said...

If Paul Martin is "Mr. Dithers", then Harper is "The Automaton".

The more you know him, the more you dislike him. Roger Gibbins, a Harper sympathizer, nailed it on the head.

I don't think there is any Canadian leader that is this cold and can't relate to people. It may be soon that the Conservative front benches are beginning to see him as a liability, instead of their only hope.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right Shroom but I hope the Conservatives continue to see Harper as an asset, if only because their parliamentary ranks are so bereft of any talent to replace him. Harper is, in his own way, propping up the opposition. We need this pompous wooden slab to stay around until we get our own house in order.

liberazzi said...

I've been saying for awhile that the Canadian media has been too focused on Dion's inability to grow the Libs numbers and not enough on Harper's inability to grow the Cons numbers. Harper has had two years in gov't to grow their numbers, but with little success. Eventually the narrative has to change. The Cons overall lack competence and vision, so that is part of the problem as well. The other thing is that women in particular do not like Harper. The question I guess is if Harper goes away, do the Cons numbers go up or down? And if he goes away who takes over? Baird, Van Loan, Prentice, Flaherty... gimme a break.

Larry Gambone said...

How about the fact that two-thirds of the population do not agree with the Harpocrits far-right agenda? It isn't just a matter of his lack of personality. People don't agree with his politics.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think you're right on that Larry. We're a nation of social moderates. The longer Harpo remains at the helm the more glimpses we get at his far-right, social conservative leanings. The more you see, the less there is to like.

As liberazzi points out, the ranks of Cons able to fill Harpo's shoes are pretty thin. His type of "top down" rule discourages new talent from jumping in. That's why he's surrounded by the sycophant hacks we see in his cabinet.

Anonymous said...

"And if he goes away who takes over? Baird, Van Loan, Prentice, Flaherty... gimme a break."

Let me do the analysis.

Baird - The Con's Romney. The Blue Hulk on steroids and HGH. If Harper gets run over by the bus, he is the early frontrunner. Cynical, mean spirited, like most Con bloggers.

Van Loan - Reports from the House says he is more pleasant than as House Leader, where he is the Government whipping boy. Non-descript except that he is a fat boy, like all Con MPs. Too big of a jump.

Prentice - Dry as a raisin, has cross over appeal. Both Prentice and Baird support gay marriage. While Baird remains a hero for the Harris snack packers, Prentice may be too much of a betrayal to the CPC hard core. Harper's logical successor, but again this party is more likely to tear itself apart.

Flaherty - The smartest man in all of the Cabinet. Can speak the populist language, the Con version of Nicolas Sarkozy. Speaks in a nasty tone that make Mike Harris and Ralph Klein successful. Is unfairly underexploited by the Automaton.

Then there are my two favourite contenders Stock Day and Jason Kenney. Don't want to comment on them. One is the CPC version of Huckabee and the other one is Brownback.

I will also note that Harper's numbers are better than Mulroney's when he was Prime Minister. Even though, Harper does not generate the visceral hatred of Mulroney, Harper is in danger of being much less successful than the Baie Comeau boy. That may be the political tragedy of Harper.

Anonymous said...

Two Thoughs:

1. Harper will NEVER give up the leadership without a huge fight that would split his party . . . its just not in his make-up.

2. I agree with the description of automaton with one huge caveat . . . he's the petty automaton. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but it is Harper. He is a soulless entity with one clear emotion - pettiness. So if you programmed a robot to have tantrums over even seemingly unnecessary issues every few weeks, you'd nail it.