At least this way of handling crises (Rob Ford, Stephen Harper saying nothing) isn’t to prostrate ones self on the public in a display of nausea intoning a meaningless apology. This modern way of crisis handling, devised by Conservative handlers, is just as sickening. The process of denial by the presumed culprit and then a repetition of, what they claim, as successes in their field as well as an atempt to shift the blame onto perceived enemies.
Thus it was this week. We saw the “Duffy” scandal positioned as the fault of the NDP, because they have refused to support the Conservative attempts to reform the Senate. Thus it was the fault of the Toronto Star that the Mayor of Toronto was accused, scurrilously, of smoking crack cocaine.
As commentators and observers we at the BR are appalled that these obfuscations will work. These clever diversions, in the words of pundits, are designed to shore up the base of their voting section. To hell with public interest, obligation or just transparency, these cynical moves not only damage the utterer but defy logic and credibility. Just because Stephen Harper, or Rob Ford say things it doesn’t make them true. It defies logic and methodology when Harper says he didn’t know what his Chief of Staff was doing, especially in the light of his history as a control freak. The fact that he said what he did in Peru yesterday just damages his own credibility and insults the public’s intelligence.
But lucky for these two perceived liars the public attention is very small and will fade fast. This very case was being made this morning by Andrew Coyne, a persistent rightwing pundit who has been apalled by the antics of Harper. But he declared defeat this morning and we will see him move on tomorrow when he, of all people, should be pursuing this case the end of the earth.
But as to the rest of us what will we do? Probably tut-tut to our friends and hope that this constant drip drip of the erosion of credibility will get the point that all sitting politicians get to, in the twilight of their days – public derision. It has been said that the point of rejection for voters often takes place a couple of years befor the vote. If that’s the case the Harper Tories have a long slog coming up and we the public will probably be very tired of ‘talking points’ from hacks.
But back to the main thread, this new way of crisis handling is an interesting one. Just how long will the public put up with it and when will total cynicism hit the voters enough that they give up on the system completely?