US Vote: Trouble for Harper
Date: Tuesday, November 14 2006
US Vote: Trouble for Harper
By Murray Dobbin
Published: November 13, 2006
For millions of Americans and Canadians, it was a huge sense of relief to see the most corrupt, amoral and incompetent Congress, possibly in American history, go down to defeat. Those days, we can hope, are over, as the political agenda is now in the hands of a Democratic Congress.
For a few weeks, at least, we can enjoy that relief and not dwell on the fact that things may not get a whole lot better. Given the general state of American duh-mocracy (poisoned by money, gerrymandered seats, defective voting machines and dirty tricks), we have to keep our expectations in check. A lot of the new Democrats look a lot like Republicans. We can focus on the fact that for the first time, a woman -- and one with smarts and heart -- will be the Speaker of the House, and that for the first time, both a socialist, Bernie Saunders, and a Muslim were elected. These are not small things. And Americans -- despite being shamelessly lied to by the Republicans and abandoned by their media -- came through in the end. They said enough is enough. Bless them.
Lessons for Harper
Canadians are apparently not going to give Stephen Harper six years before they say enough. A poll released by Environics for the CBC on the day after the U.S. election showed the Harper Conservatives and the Liberals virtually tied (33 per cent versus 32 per cent), with the NDP up to 19 per cent and the Greens, notwithstanding their shiny new leader, at five per cent -- barely more than their showing in the last election.
Bush's humiliation will make things more difficult for Stephen Harper. For his core supporters, Harper's apparently "good" relationship with Bush was a positive. It gave him the aura of a winner -- a player on the world stage. But Bush and his party will now be totally preoccupied with how to salvage something in the 2008 election. To them, Canada and Mr. Harper will be even more irrelevant than they are now. Harper has received nothing from Bush for all his sycophantic pandering. If you can get less than nothing -- and in Canada-U.S. relations you can -- then this is what Harper can expect.
Harper will have to deal with a lame-duck president and one who might even have to compromise with the evil U.S. liberals to devise anything resembling a saving strategy. In other words, Harper's soulmate will be found straying from the path of the true believer and Harper will look like the anachronism he is. He can't deal with the Democrats because they believe (or say they do) in all the things Harper hates. For the months leading up to a possible spring election, the America Harper loves will be in change mode.