Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Somebody's channelling Karl Rove

Picking up on the post by the What do I know Grit, Harper's comments last night are either red meat to the base or they're meant for wider circulation as a test run of his election gambit, targeting traditional Liberal strengths: "Harper casts Tories as force for unity, multiculturalism." Harper is aiming straight at those strengths that have historically meant a winning electoral record in Canada. And he has the chutzpah to say things like this:
"As a government, we inherited a country divided - east versus west, French versus English, aboriginal versus non-aboriginal . . . newcomers versus native born," he said. "That's what you get from decades of divide-and-conquer politics."
This is just so irritating...but I'm not taking the bait today. If he keeps it up, he'll get his debunking, item by item. But allow me just one...that east versus west thing...see Harper inciting the west via his whipping out of the National Energy Program to characterize the Green Shift. Talk about sowing division in the country. And it didn't even take him "decades."

Looks like the Karl Rove strategy. Go directly at your opponent's strengths and claim them for yourself. That's why John Kerry the decorated Vietnam war veteran ended up as a caricature of an unpatriotic vacillating peacenik by the time Rove and his Swift Boat friends were finished with him in 2004. Meanwhile, W, the AWOL partying National Guardsman who avoided Vietnam was viewed as a conquering military hero.

It's what the McCain people are doing to Obama. And it looks like Harper will be following the playbook too.

It would seem that a little reverse jujitsu, or whatever the kids like to call it these days, might be in order if Harper is indeed telegraphing his strategy so transparently. Attack the perceived Conservative strengths: economic stewardship and Harper's leadership (frightful as they may be). There's lots of material to work with on both fronts.