Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Mr. Harper's mother has suddenly become a principal feature of his stump speech to prove his humanity and connection to the troubles of Canadians.
If Canadian voters needed any more proof the election has become a nailbiter, they need only listen to the normally private, phlegmatic Prime Minister Stephen Harper invoking his mother Margaret at every turn.

For the second day in a row, Harper repeatedly dropped references to his Calgary-based mom as he searched for the emotional sweet spot in reassuring a jittery public about global economic turmoil.

"We're getting this criticism that I somehow don't understand the stock market or I don't understand what people are feeling about the stock market," he said, in a colloquial tone, at a news conference Wednesday at a Victoria hotel.

"I use my mother as an obvious example because, you know, she's the person closest to me who's most worried about the stock market these days.

"And believe me, I get quicker updates from her on the stock market than I do from the Department of Finance."
More here, "Canada's PM says mother has market jitters too." If this is the case, then all the more reason for Mr. Harper not to have made his boneheaded gaffe about the market presenting buying opportunities. This smacks of opportunistic damage control of the worst kind.

More "steady" leadership with tempered language on display today:
"Maybe I'm criticized because I will stand back. But surely to God, people want a prime minister who will stand back from panic in the market and make good decisions."
The air of panic is with Mr. Harper, no one else.

Update (8:45 p.m.): Don Martin tonight:
But putting Margaret Harper in the campaign showroom is a clear sign the mother of political battles has entered its final desperate phase.