Wednesday, October 08, 2008

STEPHEN HARPER: DONE IN BY HUBRIS AND IDEOLOGY


Harper (at bottom) having flown too close to the Sun


Hubris: Excessive pride displayed by a character, at times taking the form of a boastful challenge to the gods or other higher powers--often resulting in harsh punishment.

Practical hubris is the hubris of Icarus, son of Daedalus. In Greek myth, Daedalus, imprisoned on an island, devises a novel means of escape -- he crafts wings which enable him (and his son) to fly. Before they make their departure, Daedalus warns Icarus of the dangers of flying too high or too low. However, once they are underway, Icarus gets carried away with the joy of flying and ascends to a great height up near the sun. The heat from sun melts the wax that holds the wings together, and Icarus plunges to his death. See: http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:icK6CAg14C8J:www.blog.speculist.com/archives/000606.html+icarus+hubris&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ca

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. After all, he was the one with the leadership qualities. The Kennedy haircut, the business-like approach to government, the glibness hidden behind a voice with a tone of reason, the self confidence – ah yes, the self-confidence - supreme, ever present, impatient, patronizing.

And the chief opponent, struggling with a distinctive French accent and a mangled English syntax, the boring professor with a back pack, to whom he thought he had put the boots to with the TV attack ads well before the election.

And the socialist – old hat by now, and doctrinaire, leading a party in its final chapter on the way into the history books.
To say nothing of that pesky woman. Yes, a woman. A fanatical tree hugger no less, with the temerity to challenge the safe seat of Peter McKay. Surely, the good burghers of Central Nova or anyone else in the country would pay no attention to such an extremist.

Surely it would be a romp, he said to himself as he appraised the situation on September 7.

Finally he would be given the opportunity of governing as he wished. He would have a free hand in changing Canada at last. He would change its values, move it further within the orbit of the United States so that they would fight side-by-side for all of their shared neocon principles – private medicare, massive deregulation, glory on the battlefield, deep corporate tax cuts and tax cuts for the rich to create those private dynasties that are so effective in creating wealth. Now was his time.

Such an easy romp he thought it was that he could even break a basic election promise of a specific date for the election. And why not? He could say that parliament was dysfunctional and the Canadian people would believe him. Because it was him who was saying it. Look at who his opponents were. And look at the polls. And his party had plenty of money - not the green shift but the green stuff. Now was the time.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the polls.

First of all, there was plenty of baggage. The Canadian people had never really warmed up to him. They saw him as a brooding and cold character. He was smart enough, they thought, but weirdly different, and even dangerous. He was too close to the United States for some. His drum beating for the war in Afghanistan to shed blood for a seat at the table did not go down so well for many. They remembered his support of the war in Iraq. They remembered his attacks on Medicare and some of his more extreme statements when he was the head honcho of the National Citizens Coalition.
Even many in his own party distrusted him. He was known to have been disloyal to colleagues. Even Preston Manning distrusted him. He could also be curt and surly. He was a control freak.

He had lapses of integrity. He was not above poaching speeches made by others – even important speeches exhorting the country to have its young bleed in a foreign war.

His slashing partisanship was in a class of its own. He accused his Liberal opponents who dared question some of his policies of supporting the Taliban and not being friends of Israel. When a bereaved father who lost a son in Afghanistan subsequently criticized his government for its policy there, one of his minions said that it was because the father was a Liberal. In the Commons, when a Sikh MP criticized government policy, he said it was because the MP was attempting to protect a relative from testifying at the Air India Inquiry.

And he had a mean streak. He relished seeing his opponents humiliated. He enjoyed holding over their heads the constant threat of an election that he knew they weren’t ready to fight. He approved the running of attack ads that centered on the Opposition leader's French accent in communicating in English as being indicative of a lack of leadership.
He carried on with unsettling behavior during the campaign. When reminded during one of the debates that a medical journal published a letter from a Doctor attacking the government's food inspection system, he said it was because the Doctor was a Liberal. His partisanship was so infectious that an overzealous campaigner created a cartoon puffin doing its private business on the shoulder of the Leader of the Opposition in a TV ad. He took a cheap shot at struggling Canadian artists who, he said, are not appreciated by ordinary Canadians because of their rich taxpayer subsidized galas.

And he hated to admit mistakes. During the English language debate, despite the repeated badgering of Gilles Duceppe, he side-stepped, evaded, bamboozled, and muttered his way into an ignominious corner until he had to cry uncle with an abject admission that the Iraq invasion was a mistake.

Then along came the economic meltdown.with stock markets crashing, foreign banks going broke and real estate values plummeting. There was fear in the hearts of ordinary Canadians. They were worried about their jobs, their savings, their retirement, their children’s future, and they were looking for answers and reassurance.

Far be it for the neocon to come to their rescue. Neocons live and die with the market. They believe in hard-nosed laissez-faire, market forces and rugged individualism. And they will hear no belly-aching, thank you very much. That is the neocon’s solution to the problems the little people are facing today. And that is what he offered.

He was unprepared for the tough times. He had no platform. He had no solution beyond the rigidly conservative provisions of his earlier announcements of a little here and a little there. And he certainly had no compassion. Not even an appearance of compassion. Compassion is the last thing a neocon would even think about.

And so, the chickens have come home to roost. All of that hubris, all of that narrow ideology has done him in - his government, his leadership and his political career.

12 comments:

WesternGrit said...

Beautiful, Daryl. Simply beautiful. Have a drink with Neil Mackie, John Conti, Brendan Dunphy, and the rest of the loyal Calgary Liberals on victory night!

Cheers from Vancouver!

Aaron said...

Well I hope your last paragraph proves correct. But that has yet to happen, unless we make it happen.

Dame said...

Excellent as always ...Daryl summarising all faulty lines ... RIP to the the neocon Goons.

marta

stopharper said...

I hope you are not speaking to soon. Canadians need to vote to Stop Harper on October 14!

Raymaker said...

Nicely done. Damn shame that Mike Duffy, for all his self-regard, couldn't figure this out. Or maybe he's still fishing for his Order of Canada.

burpnrun said...

Remember, Daryl, don't forget to warm up your vocal cords to sing with the fat lady Wednesday. A victory is a victory, no matter how much lipstick you put on the furniture. Proof: ask Dion if he's like to end up with a minority government tomorrow night.

Darryl Raymaker said...

Burpy
You may not know it, but your man is finished. After all that bullying, pissing away his contributors' money like water on negative ads, breaking his election date promise, his attempts at humilation, his low life partisanship, and he can't muster any more support than he is showing now, he's through burpy. And I think he even knows it.

burpnrun said...

Darryl, Harper won't have to face Oct/09 which, you must agree, won't be a particularly propituous time for ANY incumbent party. So, yes, it would have been nice to secure a majority (he still may), but a firmer minority will do just as well.

As for bringing down the government in the near-term (after Oct 14th), will the LPC, the Greens or the NDP have any money, or appetite? Especially the LPC? I think not. Back to that old refrain of "Sit on our Hands", eh?

No, the gold ring may not be available, but the silver one is. As opposed to the "also ran" status of the LPC.

As for your very incisive pseudo-analysis of Harper's psyche, it's (sorry) nothing but horse plops. You obviously don't know him at all. He will be disappointed, but will learn. And next election ... watch out!

But as I said above, only 24 hours to warm up your vocal chords, eh? Better start now. I want to hear a nice, strong rendering of "Mea Culpa" from here in sunny downtown Aylmer, ON!

Darryl Raymaker said...

Burpy
"horse plops" is very quaint. While I give you "horse plops" you are giving me bullshit.
The only silver metal that Harper will be experiencing after tomorrow will be the cold feeling of the Conservative party daggers being inserted between his shoulder blades. The insurrectionists will say quite rightly, if you can't win it all in three shots, including this one - which was arguably under the best of circumstances - we urge you to find a new line of work.

burpnrun said...

Darryl: Sing loudly and clearly now. I'm a long distance away, and would hade to miss one whining note. Music optional.

Harper wasn't/isn't going to resign. He's in it for the long haul. Just a bit of reflection and analysis, then he will be recharged again.

PS. Martha Hall Findlay would be a winner! Or Frank. The former is available (but is unfortunately a Torontonian), the latter is probably not. Whatever you do, suppress the Gerard Kennedy urge. Shallow, shallow, shallow.

Darryl Raymaker said...

Burpo
He didn't get his majority. Conservatives will think he should have, but didn't. He didn't get it because of his hubris and narrow ideology. To govern he has to stay very near to the center, and that will make his troops unhappy, just as they are unhappy at a minority. I'm afraid that if he keeps up his surly bullying and George Bush state of mind, the whole country will be in a helluva lot more trouble that it is even now. So there Burpo. Enjoy your empty victory.

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