Sunday, May 22, 2005
No wonder Harper yelled and screamed for an election, damn it!
It now seems clearer to me that Harper's strategy all along was predicated on the necessity of having an election to differentiate himself and his party from the Liberals. If that's the case, Harper's big error was his inability to keep enough votes on his side of the House. Both Cadman and Belinda, not to mention Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams, used the general unpopularity of Harper's tactics against him. Tory history has been filled with instances of not being able to keep their own on side. Perhaps Harper gambled too much on a very slim margin in any vote of confidence. And he lost way too much political capital by remaining negative at a time voter cynicism hit an all-time low - a set of circumstances he himself helped create.
I still don't think it's over until Parliament adjourns for the summer. I also think some of the hysteria surrounding Harper's apparent loss is unfounded. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But he has lost in the arena of public opinion. And you have to wonder how long he can go on doing so by waiting for an election in order to start going positive. Mind you, the worst from Gomery is yet to come. Paul Martin has not shown himself to be a wise leader. So, who knows? Maybe Harper can get away with it yet. Convincing his own party hasn't been all that difficult. So maybe he really is on to something. Too bad the rest of us don't really know it yet.