Sunday, January 31, 2010

He'll get high with a little help from his friends 

We've see Harper the Kitten Whisperer, then Harper as Mr. Blue Sweater and the Piano Man. Now he's becoming the Great Humanitarian.
But using the world's poor as a photo backdrop to raise poll numbers at home has triggered everyone's gag reflex. And in fact, this might well backfire on Harper if his cabinet uses it to justify CIDA funding for pro-lifers.
Steve V. sums up the issue:
It actually makes you angry on one level, the way this Prime Minister is clearly manipulating genuine human plight for NAKED partisan advantage. That said, I do find it somewhat refreshing that Harper's new projection, the great international humanitarian, is basically going over like a lead balloon, the disconnect so striking to border on embarrassing.. . .
Here's my cynical take on the chronology, which I'd wager is BANG ON.
Serious political problems at home, plummeting support that has sent shock waves through the PMO, completely derailing their ENTIRE winter and spring strategy, which was supposed to set the stage for electoral bliss. In the midst of the hammering the Conservatives were taking, a natural disaster occurred. The government responded with opportunistic zeal (I'm sure there was a genuine component, but only a fool doesn't consider "the wheels turning" in the PMO), high profile photo ops, swamping the media, seeing this event as the channel changer they desperately wanted.
The PMO saw the positive press for their Haiti response, which SUDDENLY produced this epiphany- we can re brand this Prime Minister as a humanitarian, taking a lead on the world stage, an advocate for the disadvantaged. Never mind, that all policies to date either contradicted the new messaging and/or demonstrated COMPLETE AND UTTER INDIFFERENCE, the PMO plowed ahead with the notion, cobbling together new initiatives. It was all political calculus, but this PMO believe if you say it, they will come, any level of true historical inspection a temporary obstacle.

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