Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rating Stephen Harper

On the weekend the Ottawa Citizen ran an excerpt from Bob Plamondon's book Blue Thunder: The Truth About Conservatives from Macdonald to Harper that's worth reading:

It's been tough being a Conservative in Canada. For every three years Liberals have been in power, Conservatives have held office for two.

But to their credit, Conservatives have done some tough sledding while in government, often in difficult circumstances, and usually to their political detriment.

It is on this maddening legacy that Stephen Harper has his opportunity to build.

While some of Plamondon's observations are interesting, I wonder if his book isn't somewhat premature as much of it may already be getting out of date. The caucus discipline is weakening, the coalition is crumbling, the peak may well have passed. Another six to eight months and he could have included a Harper obit in his analysis.

Which brings me to another piece I read this morning, that contained this observation about Harper from, of all people, Preston Manning:

“Stephen Harper had gloomily concluded that we were gong nowhere and would likely lose badly in the next election,” Manning writes. “Rather than pitching in to help turn things around, Stephen again chose to withdraw. This was now the third time that Stephen had vacated the field prior to a big battle – the first time when he retreated from our Charlottetown Accord campaign, and the second time when he withdrew from the 1993 national election campaign to concentrate solely on his own riding.”

When the going gets tough, Stephen Harper gets going. Will Harper's personality run true to form again? Time will tell.

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