Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Out-Harpering Harper?

You're going to start hearing a lot about the similarities between Harper and Dion. In fact, Liberals will be using this comparison frequently in order to suggest that Dion is more electable than a first glance might suggest.

However, there's one basic problem with using this comparison. In essence, for Dion to beat Harper, he's going to have to out-Harper Harper, and he's going to have to do it in a fraction of the time Harper had to get to where he is now.

Harper had a few years to get back into politics, revive a bankrupt party, lead a merger with another party, and run in two elections before becoming prime minister. By all accounts, Dion will have less than six months to reach the same level of competence. Yes, Dion has experience in government. Yet he has no experience as a political leader. It's a huge leap, even for the best.

Furthermore, can lightning strike twice, and at the same time? Can we have two leaders achieve success back-to-back using the same style and approach? Good luck with that.

UPDATE (8:54 pm): I'm watching a clip of Stephane Dion's press conference given earlier today. As a result, I've already noticed two differences from Harper:

  • A greater willingness to engage the press and, for that matter, the Canadian people. Generally speaking, it's easier to do that when you're a liberal. After all, they tend to make up the establishment in this country. But some of it is personality. Dion doesn't possess an abundance of warmth, but he seems to have more of it on a consistent basis than Harper.

  • Dion is not as smooth as Harper in answering tricky questions, although Harper has a penchant for making controversial statements that aren't as "measured" as they could be.

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