Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Conservatives know they are vulnerable

I am a little confused by the Conservatives' actions with regard to the blatantly partisan dispensation of the stimulus funds and the unprecedented amounts of taxpayer's money they are paying on partisan advertizing.

Both are high risk actions that have a very large potential downside for their political fortunes. They provide their main political opponents with ready made advertizement material where they can take Stephen Harper's statements of 2006 and place them beside his actions of 2009.

So, why have they done it?

Some would say it is hubris. They believed they would not get caught and even if they did they would not pay a price for it. There is some truth in that but I believe there is a deeper reason.

Simply put they are vulnerable and scared. For the first couple years of this government the Conservatives walked with a swagger. They believed they were unassailable and invincible. That swagger disappeared after Stephen Harper prorogued Parliament last year. It has never returned. Since then I have detected a very different attitude since then, an attitude of bravado covering up a great fear.

We saw that in the late spring and late summer when Stephen Harper first made a deal with Michael Ignatieff to prevent a summer election and practically begged Mr. Ignatieff to allow his government to survive come the Fall.

We have seen it in the fact the Conservatives are enjoying good poll numbers but there is not even a hint of Stephen Harper forcing or calling an election. We know he does not fear any negative fallout from the electorate about doing so because he totally ignored that threat last year. Certainly, we have seen speculation in the media that he will force an election but nothing from Mr. Harper, the guy who really counts.

We currently see it now in those poll numbers. The Conservatives have spent untold millions, maybe billions, of stimulus dollars in Conserative and swing ridings. He has spent an unprecedented amount of taxpayer's dollars on blatantly partisan government ads and they are still enjoying the afterglow of a backlash against their chief opponent when their necessary strategy to sever themselves from Mr. Harper's confidence games caused a widespread eruption of election speculation with Mr. Ignatieff being blamed for it.

In addition the Conservatives have enjoyed a national media that has been compliant at best and complicit at worst.

Despite this the Conservatives are not much better off than they were on election day last in 2008. They have failed to break the 40% mark for more than a couple of weeks and they are now slowly sinking back to the levels that they achieved before the Sudbury Declaration.

That is telling. Stephen Harper is almost four years into his government. He is at that stage where there is usually no great desire for change and where the government usually enjoys widespread support. If Jean Chretien would have had all of the advantages I describe above during his fourth year as PM the Liberals would have been sitting comfortably in the mid-40 range. The same could be said of Brian Mulroney and Pierre Trudeau.

Stephen Harper, he struggles to acheive 40% and even if he achieves that level it is not sustainable.

The Conservatives are not acting like a government that is strong and confident, like Jean Chretien did in the fourth year of his government or like Mike Harris for that matter at the same stage in his. Instead they are acting like a government that knows they are vulnerable and they are trying their damnest to turn things around, very much like Ernie Eves did leading up to his one and only election as Ontario Premier. You may remember that in the last few months of his goverment he lavished all sorts of money on Ontario voters while spending all sorts of government money on partisan advertizing. We all know that worked very well.

I have argued several times on this blog that the Conservatives are frightened. The fact they believe they need to take a huge political risk in playing partisan games with economic stimulus money during an economic downturn and spending an inordinate amount of government money on partisan advertizing would seem to confirm that argument has merit.

11 Comments:

Blogger CanadianSense said...

Ottolib,

I have read you blog for a long time and find many of your posts interesting.

I am not sure if you understand situational awareness or why the Liberals actually lost power but repeating Harper of CPC are running scared because of the allegations by the Liberals (they won't repeat outside legal protection) funnier the more times you repeat it.

If anyone HAD real evidence they would have already used it and called a conference. Instead we get door knobs and whiners telling us the CPC have cooked deals with Provines and Cities in spending money into CPC ridings.

George Smitherman, Carolyn Parrish have both and more will step forward to distance themselves from that smear.

Your are implicating provincial and muncipal gov't officials in your "conspiracy theories".

MI is going to clean house, and staff replaced. It may already be too late before the spring election. But many Liberals believe a party that stand for someting is better than a party of smears on wafers, bodybags, slushfund, unsexy comments, tasteless jokes....

October 27, 2009 8:21 PM  
Blogger sassy said...

CanadianSense - obsese much?

October 27, 2009 8:55 PM  
Blogger Big Winnie said...

Why doesn't the government release the numbers if they are accurate?

Proof, just read the Ottawa Citizen, Chronicle Herald, Gerrard Kennedy's report.

Moreover, CBCNews has a report out today that Clement is spending money reserved for the G* summit on places like Parry Sound, Port Servern, etc for trees, signs, lighting and bandshells. If this isn't partisan spending, what the hell is it?

BTW, your situational awareness arguement doesn't wash. Harper promised to clean up Ottawa and even railed against the Liberals for the sponsorship scandal (get over it). Once in power, he's changed and lowered the bar for politics.

One last point, the Liberals have filed comlaints with the ethics commisioner to get them to make a ruling on the partisan advertising that the CONs have ben doing. There are more complaints in the works and will be sent to the appropriate authoriites...

Where's the accountability?

October 27, 2009 9:11 PM  
Blogger CanadianSense said...

Big Winnie

apparently you believe the CPC and Lib were different in keeping all their promises.

Every political party breaks promises.

Sadly you are an example of my point. Many of us voted Lib for a very long time and left for a number of reasons. I left before Dion or his Greenshift. Some left before Paul Martin tainted blood or CSL scandals.

My point is if you have the "TRUTH" you can are protected. The opposition are ONLY making outrageous statements inside the HOC where they are protected.

Sassy, Big Winnie you are confused thinking all conbots agree with ALL the spending.

The disconnect is your think crying wolf for 10 months on everything people are still listening. They are NOT.

I have said as many "conbots" have repeated mistakes will be made and waste will be found. Over 6,000 projects are planned, find ANYONE who thinks 100% will be perfect or wisely spent.

Get hard evidence, double check, triple check, hire a third party,contact the police to investigate, get confirm by the police on your "details". Get a team of lawyers and call a Press Conferencee and release the damming report, otherwise at this point do you REALLY think anyone is still believing the party of doorknobs and wafers?

October 27, 2009 10:29 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

"The opposition are ONLY making outrageous statements inside the HOC where they are protected."

Like what, and how is that relevant to this post?

Do try, really really hard, to stay on topic and actually answer the question. Maybe some day I will see you actually address the topic rather than your usual attempt to change the story.

October 27, 2009 10:41 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

ottlib - interesting point I think a lot of people are missing. They are concentrating on the LPC numbers without any real analysis of the CPC's.

The Reformers gae a lot of people who were disgusted with politicians hope that things would change, Harper has proven, without any doubt, that he will do and say what it takes to maintain his hold on 24 Sussex. He is letting people down - and eventually that will come back to haunt him.

October 27, 2009 10:43 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

Sense,

You missed my point.

The Conservative actions with regard to the stimulus funds and advertizing is a symptom of their fear not the reason for it.

As the backlash of the last few weeks has demonstrated there was a huge political risk in taking these actions. Scandals kill governments so intentionally taking actions that can spark one seems silly, unless the Conservative brain trust believed the political situation warranted taking such a risk.

The million dollar question then becomes, why did they believe it was necessary to take this risk?

BTW, the name of my blog is Ottlib not Ottolib. Now maybe you just made an innocent typo or you think you are being clever. If it is the latter I do not appreciate the humour. You are welcome to come here to comment on anything I post but at least show me the courtesy of getting my blog name right when you do so. After all, there are many plays on words I could use for your blog name, Canadian Dunce comes immediately to mind, but I try to show my commenters some respect.

If you cannot return that courtesy then don't bother coming here.

October 28, 2009 8:32 AM  
Blogger CanadianSense said...

Apologies on the name, typo.

I have read your blog for a long time and find you one of the better Liberal bloggers. You admit to mistakes in strategy. It is rare to find that on any partisan blog.


ottlib,

you believe in a violation without actual proof or a case concluded.

Your leap of logic and faith is not shared by many outside the partisan position.

The smears will remain inside the HOC where they are protected.

If the Liberals had not chased so many other silly issues some credibility would be left.

The JC proof is a proof won't work.

Great blog, I agree with the importance of framing, narrative by political parties.

The pattern has been lately every time the LPC has asked Canadians to reconsider them to govern their poll numbers tank. In the last three elections their support predictably (magically) also drops another few points on the weekend just before we cast our ballots. The pollster don't capture that drop.

The CPC are vulnerable if the Liberals were a credible alternative and they had a compelling narrative.

Find me a single Poll on any ballot question, leadership the Liberals are competitive since Sept 2009 declaration.

The Pink Book won't bring back the female demographic vote.

The Anatomy of Liberal defeat, great study. It is not about changing leaders, the slide and loss of voting blocks and leads has been gradual. A must read.

October 28, 2009 8:56 AM  
Blogger marie said...

Sense, this blog is not about polls so cut it out okay you are off topic again because you don't have anything else to say. What you are really saying is that it was okay for the Alliance/Reform/cons to do all of the stuff your accusing the liberals of doing. Tit for Tat. You are as much a libel as the Cons action Plan.

Reminder, the Liberals lost power for their shenanigans and Harper will too because thank goodness most Canadians do not agree or think like you do.

The only reason they are still even the leaders is because the Media has decided that they would be the ones directing this government . I could go on and on about this but I am done with you sense. Until you start making some sense I would suggest that you go to the Cons blog where they can agree with you 100%

October 28, 2009 5:40 PM  
Blogger CanadianSense said...

Marie you have your personal opinion why the Liberals lost power.

I like many ex liberals don't share your Narnia version.

Read anatomy of Liberal defeat McGill study.

Demanding everyone must agree Adscam was the only reason or blaming Dion and Greenshift does not stand up to scrutiny.

Otto is the host and allows dissent, please direct your request for pro liberal talking points to him.

Voters are very smart and may one day return to support the Liberals. They need a reason.

October 28, 2009 5:50 PM  
Blogger marie said...

Are the Conservatives dropping the political H1N1 ball?

Yup, yup,yup among other stuff. 10% er scam, cheque scam,fake-tape scam.Stimulus fraud scam and much much more.

What amazes me more is that Canadians are supporting this stupidity at least the ones that pollsters seek which I believe are those who are known to support this government regardless what they do in other words,known supporters such as Albertans

November 02, 2009 7:22 PM  

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