Archive for the ‘I’ve Seen Barack Obama and Stéphane Dion is no Barack Obama’ Category

Toronto Sun: What’s the Score?

September 2nd, 2008

I’ve said it before, I’m guessing I’ll say it again, what is going on at the Toronto Sun these days? Today their lead editorial declares that Prime Minister Harper, the brilliant strategist that he is, is running to the polls right now because he fears, wait for it… The Obama Bounce. That’s right the mythical Obama Bounce theory that says Canadian’s will be so enamoured with the suave African American they will say, I must vote for Stéphane Dion:

What has Harper’s attention is the Obama factor, and the sooner-than-later date is Nov. 4, U.S. election day. A possible Obama win is the game changer.

Harper isn’t blind to polls showing Obama’s huge popularity in Canada. He sees the power of the “yes we can” and “change you can believe in” mantras for the Facebook generation. The Toronto media echo-chamber is fully engaged in the love fest. The euphoria in the usual year-long honeymoon period that would accompany Obama’s triumph is a daunting prospect.

What nobody explains, because the theory is idiocy, is why Canadian’s would see Obama and vote for the guy who most looks like John McCain.  I don’t know Barack Obama, but Stéphane Dion is no Barack Obama, of that you can be sure.  Does anybody seriously look at the Canadian political situation right now and think Stephen Harper is playing scared? Dion looks scared: Harper looks like the cat who has eaten the tweety bird. 
Distressingly, the Sun ran this editorial a full week after former Harper strategist Tom Flanagan explained exactly why the election has to be now:

… If the Tories can win a few more seats at the Liberals’ expense — an outcome Mr. Flanagan considers realistic given Mr. Harper’s superior campaign skills and the Tories’ fatter war chest — he predicted that would be enough to throw the Grits into a long-term tailspin that could eventually lead to their demise… 

If the Liberals lose even a handful of seats, Mr. Flanagan predicted they’ll immediately dump Leader Stéphane Dion, a forecast echoed privately by plenty of Grits. The party would have to embark on a costly leadership campaign before most contenders from the last contest, including Mr. Dion, have paid off their leadership debts.

Moreover, a reduction in popular vote would mean the already cash-strapped Liberal party would get less money in election expenses rebates and in its annual public subsidy. Mr. Flanagan said that could make it difficult for the Liberals to pay off any debts from the coming election campaign and harder to secure bank loans for a future campaign…

It’s like this. In October, the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Bloc get their government cheque based on how many votes they got last election. The Liberals are not getting much fund raising money, as much because any find raising is paying off leadership debts rather than going into the party coffers.  If Prime Minister Harper can get the election before they get their cheque, he has a much better chance of making electoral gains at their expense, which would force the Liberals to lose Dion, have a leadership convention, raise a whole new issue of debt, all with less government money. 
Obama bounce, sheeesh!  What anybody following Canadian politics needs to know is, Stephen Harper plays a much longer game than that.  I just hope somebody tells him to watch out for Grannies carrying umbrellas.

I've Seen Barack Obama and Stéphane Dion is no Barack Obama

Dion Obama and Why Can’t the Media Read My Posts Correctly?

August 26th, 2008

Yesterday I pronounced on the reasons why the Conservative Party would want an early election. Three of them, said I: the Liberals are stalled on the Green Shift; a possible budget deficit; inflationary pressure causing possible interest rate increases.

Today the National Post ran an article in which James Cowan reiterates two of my three points:

The federal budget is back in the black, but who knows how long it will stay in the black, they [The Conservatives] may decide they want to pull the plug before interest rates rise.

Strangely it’ a story about Dion getting an Obama bounce. How Cowan got that from what I wrote I’ll never know, but I’ve rarely heard such preposterous ideas.

How any sane person thinks Canadians will look at Barack Obama and imagine Stéphane Dion I will never know. Obama is a handsome, well spoken, populist politician. Dion is a nerdy stumble-bum who’s one policy is a major new tax. Obama is the first African American Presidential candidate, Dion yet another in a too long line of Quebecer’s vying for the job of Prime Minister.

Of course when you use a source like Stephen Clarkson, former husband of Liberal appointed Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and author of The Big Red Machine: How the Liberal Party Dominates Canadian Politics, it is possible you will get a Liberal-tilt in your story.

I don’t buy any of it. Canadians elect based on Canadian candidates, not based on who’s on the U.S. ballot. If this logic applied in the real world how did the Liberals win a majority in Nov. 2000, just two weeks after George Bush squeaked out an electoral college victory? (Albeit losing the popular vote). Four years later in the Spring of 2004, the Liberals were reduced to a minority losing 3.2% of the popular vote. Meanwhile, that fall George Bush increased his popular vote by 2.8%. Other examples include 1980, when Republican Ronald Regan and Liberal Pierre Trudeau both won (PC Brian Mulroney won in 1984 and 1988, both Republican victories in the U.S.) Liberal Trudeau won in 1972 and 1968 while Republican Richard Nixon was winning Stateside.

The thesis just doesn’t hold water, but of course it was never meant to: it was meant to put Stéphane Dion’s name in the same sentence as Barack Obama.

At least James Cowan, however, got those other two points right.

I've Seen Barack Obama and Stéphane Dion is no Barack Obama, Stephane Dion, The Media Following My Lead.