Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Harper not interested in image change

"I don't intend to change myself," Harper told Vancouver radio station CKNW during a nationally syndicated call-in show Monday. "I'm not a believer in these so-called image makeovers. I've watched politicians who tried to be something they're not and tried to have all these different incarnations. I think it just comes across as phoney.

"I am who I am."

Said Stephen Harper during appearance on a syndicated talk show.

Which doesn't really sound like what the party had been saying, that said, he is completely right in regards to it coming across as phony and recognizing that it wouldn't work anyways, A. Because Mr. Warm and Sunny is not Stephen Harper and and B. The media hates him anyways.

But Harper, 46, said changing his image is more about getting face-time outside Ottawa than rearranging his personality.

His staff is simply trying to draw more attention to his activities away from Parliament, he said.

A pair of callers took Harper to task for his "constant negativity," saying he needs a more positive message.

Harper responded that as Opposition leader, Canadians see him primarily in those "five-or 10-second clips where you're attacking the government."

As a result, people get a one-dimensional image, he said.

It wasn't Harper's only dig at his media tormenters Monday.

The Tory leader also questioned the focus on his anger when "the Liberals used relentless negative advertising quite effectively" in last June's election campaign.

Demagogic Liberal TV ads, featuring a handgun firing directly at the viewer and a young woman weeping in hospital waiting room, have not been forgotten by Conservatives.

The thing about negative campaigning is that it works, but only if you control the debate, and the Liberals are masters of controlling the debate. Last June, a campaign of ideas not working? Corruption rearig it's ugly head and the Conservatives and Bloc managing to wrench the direction of debate away from safe topics for the Libs? Well, let's twist things around and remind people how "scary" the Conservatives and Stephen Harper are and how they will eat your babies (but not let you abort them), let your Granny die because she can't afford medical care (but not let her kill herself if the pain is too great), allow people to run rampant in the streets with guns, i.e. own a gun without being treated like a criminal (instead of letting the criminals run rampant in the streets with guns while treated law-abiding gun owners like criminals.

Then as the confidence motion came up, what did they do? Twist the debate from being on the Liberals broad record of corruption and incompetence and instead focus attention on how the Conservatives are lowering the level of decorum in the House and calling for civility. The fact that the Liberals are cronic practitioners of mudslinging, innuendo and character assassination is completely ignored, both by the Liberals and by the media.

Small Dead Animals

Which reminds me of this bit of cultural derision;

Ironically, no federal conservative leader has had more style surgery than Preston Manning, the man who founded the Reform Party specifically to bring substance to Canadian politics.

From the look and sound of a screechy preacher in cowboy boots, Manning gradually morphed into the kind of made-for- TV capital conformist he used to deride as the "Otta- washed."

First it was the eyeglasses that went from aviator to designer and finally into the trash after laser eye treatment. Then came the wardrobe, a slow transition from barnyard chic to Hugo Boss.

"Barnyard chic". Nice.

Not often we get a slam at both Christianity and Western rural culture in a single sentence.

No wonder Westerners don't trust the bigoted Eastern Media. Though Weston's points are valid, it's disappointing to see them wrapped in petty ad hominem. Perhaps a "style" makeover is in order for this cynical and negative Ottawa columnist.