Saturday, October 14, 2006
The journalists have pounced on Harper, too
At the risk of defending everything that Conservatives do, while doing the exact opposite with Liberals, I think much of the media has missed the mark on their criticisms of Harper's "anti-Israel" accusation.
I don't think Harper intended the comments to be as newsworthy as they were. I'll allow at least that much. He made a big announcement on crime that day that was completely overshadowed by the entire Israel controversy. That's probably not what he wanted.
However, having said that, I think Harper's painting of Liberals as "anti-Israel" is fair game. The entire party might not be "anti-Israel", but it sure looks like some of their most prominent members are trying to woo supporters who are. Why else would Iggy have called Qana a "war crime?" Yes, he put his foot in his mouth yet again. But he also clearly wanted to start catering to certain supporters in the party on the issue of the Middle East.
As Harper suggested recently, most of the Liberals leadership candidates either attacked him for siding with Israel during the summer or stood silent as Liberals made anti-Israel remarks.
I'll also remind people that the media is nowhere to be seen when Liberals still routinely suggest that Harper is anti-Canadian. Almost every Question Period in the House of Commons includes at least one comparison of Harper to Bush. And let's not even start talking about the last three election campaigns.
Furthermore — and this is something most people are missing — if Harper had said nothing about this, my bet is that it would have faded as a news story. The leadership hopefuls have been extremely reluctant to attack each other so far. They were going to let Iggy off easy. Instead, Harper threw his line into the water, and Iggy took the bait. The latter is the one who's getting most of the media attention as a result. That's not good.
As far as Harper is concerned, it's mission accomplished. It may not have been pretty, but I think it's been more effective than the media is willing to realize. Just ask those Liberals who continue to leave the party.