Stephen Harper - A Very Small Petty Prime Minister
"It's true that the Prime Minister probably could have offered a little more empathy to Canadians suffering the effects of the recession, particularly given that he was speaking in shouting distance of a Chrysler plant.
It's also true that the rah-rah boosterism rings a little hollow. (Yes, Canada is in good shape relative to everyone else, but that doesn't mean we're in good shape relative to our own expectations and our own standards.) [...]
There's aggression, though, and then there's antagonism. For 90 per cent of today's speech, Harper managed to stick to the former. Then, out of nowhere, he proceeded to announce that he's "been very frustrated with the opposition since the election," took a trip down memory lane to attack the coalition and encouraged his audience to tell the dastardly Liberals that it's time to "stop the political games."
This was possibly the sincerest part of Harper's speech; he absolutely loves this stuff. But it also undermined everything else he was trying to accomplish.
Set aside that his attacks weren't all that grounded in reality (without the coalition, this vaunted economic plan would not have been produced), since every leader takes liberties in bashing his or her opponents. The real problem here is that when these broadsides land like a lead balloon at the end of his text, they serve to cast the entire thing in a different light.
Suddenly, it's no longer about rallying Canadians around a common purpose; it's about positioning himself against his opponents, about scoring points that nobody should be tallying right now. [...]
What's baffling is why Harper felt the need to include the opposition stuff at the end. That message can be just as effectively delivered by, say, Jim Flaherty, and it's highly unlikely anyone who's not a card-carrying Conservative came away from that speech in Brampton today seething at the Liberals' unwillingness to hop on board with the government's amazing plan. Probably, they just came away - at least from that part of the speech - wishing a plague on the houses of all our parties, since even now they can't stop behaving like children.
Clearly, there's still nobody around the Prime Minister who's both willing and able to curb his partisan instincts. As today's speech showed, he's poorer for it.
... twitter? ...