Could Stephen Harper's seeming lack of personality be caused by the fact he is spreading his (already severely limited) charm and wit amongst multiple different Stephen Harpers?
I think I may be onto something here. It's like making a photocopy of a photocopy. Just ask the Asgard. Or those aliens that tried to clone Commander Riker. You can only make so many copies before the quality becomes crap.
So far, I've counted at least eight different Stephen Harpers.
There's the Harper that says one thing when speaking to a wide Canadian audience:
The marquee speech Canadians saw on television Tuesday or read about the next day was about how the economy would recover swiftly and strongly through targeted spending in the budget.And there's the Harper that takes another tone entirely with his fellow conservative diehard true believers:
In a recording obtained by The Canadian Press, Harper goes after the Liberals in a election-campaign style attack, saying the current situation would be much worse had they been in power.
"Imagine the stance Canada would have taken when Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists attacked Israel. Imagine how many Liberal insiders and ideologues would be now in the Senate, the courts and countless other federal institutions and agencies – I should say, how many more," Harper said to laughter.
The Harper that praises Barrack Obama and mugs with him for photos:
And the Harper that rudely attacks the popular president of our largest trading partner:
"President Obama and I agree that Canada and the United States must work closely to counter the global economic recession by implementing mutually beneficial stimulus measures and by supporting efforts to strengthen the international financial system," Harper said.
"We concur on the need for immediate concerted action to restore economic growth and to protect workers and families hit hardest by the recession."
He twice pointed disdainfully to tax hikes U.S. President Barack Obama introduced for the highest tax brackets.There's the Harper that says one thing to English Canada:
Harper urged the crowd not to "forget that Conservatives being in power has made an enormous difference."
Harper said only true conservatism could turn the economy around, and pointed to the U.S. as having abandoned those values.
"We are in a global recession principally – and we have to face this – because a lot of people on Wall Street, because a lot of people in the private sector more generally – homeowners or consumers – pushed or bought into a very unconservative idea that they could live beyond their means," he said.
Harper appeared critical of Obama's stimulus package, which raises taxes on earnings of more than $250,000 a year, adding that Canadians could have expected nothing less from the Liberals.
"They didn't tell you the taxes they would raise – we are seeing that in the States now – but they wouldn't have brought in any tax reductions at all."
Then Harper, unaccountably and most irresponsibly, poured more oil on the fire in his address to the nation Wednesday night. Four times, he referred to "the separatists," as in "this is no time for backroom deals with the separatists."
And another Harper that says something different to Quebec:
In the French version of the tape, he referred to them by the kinder, gentler term of les souverainistes, and of course got caught out on it within minutes. Never has a prime minister turned a state occasion such as an address to the nation to such a blunt partisan purpose. Harper's five-minute address was totally inadequate and completely tone-deaf, lacking any admission that everyone could learn something from this, beginning with himself.The Harper that decries Keynesian stimulus and deficit financing:
"Minority governments show no particular tendency to fiscally irresponsible behaviour, contrary to some theoretical predictions."And the Harper that embraces it whole-hog:
"A general observation would be that, while there is no evidence of a 'chronic deficit' tendency in Canada historically, neither is it clear how such a problem is resolved once it occurs."
"The record indicates that particularly activist Keynesian policy has been rare in the postwar period. The results indicated that it should remain so."
It's official: the days of big bad budget deficits are back.
The Harper government declared Thursday that it will run deficits for up to five years, including a massive $64-billion shortfall over the next two. A senior official said next week's federal budget will forecast a $34-billion deficit for 2009-2010 and a further shortfall of $30 billion the year after.
It's a startling about-face from just two months ago when the government forecast a surplus in its fall economic statement.
That's a lot of Harper personalities. No wonder the quality seems rather faded. I can see why he sued the Liberals for misappropriation of personality. He's spread pretty thin. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers