Saturday, 14 June 2014

Harpering the rules of a game

When you google "harper as a master strategist" a list of rather unflattering links appear—"unflattering" insofar as mercilessly ridiculing a man who has squandered away the assumed crediblity of a majority government, a man who, it turned out, was just a Wizard of Oz vulnerable to an undoing by a Toto, a man who attained the title "master strategist" by the simple virtue he really was handed the rules of the game for him to re-write rather than earning the epithet through skill and hard work.

Andrew Coyne of Postmedia News (http://o.canada.com/news/harpers-reputation-as-strategist-obscures-his-screwups) provides the most credible overview because many of the search results link to heavily sarcastic websites.

In politics, it is often said that governments aren't brought down by opponents as much as by their own track records, so it was astounding to political junkies in the last Ontario elections when Hudak managed to "snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory". Though it is kind of a stretch to equate federal politics with provincial election results it is rather telling of an electorate to hand over ten seats from an unapologetic Harperite, Hudak, to his opponents, especially in light of the fact that Wynne ran on a platform to spend Ontario out of its economic woes.

One conservative talking head wondered aloud, when a majority Liberal government was projected, whether people are tired of ultra-partisan politics. Very insightful.

Hudak (besides his "honesty") blundered his way through a campaign that promised so much (for his ilk, that is) and what should have been his to win. But I would contend that the truism in politics on how governments are brought down still holds. Hudak made one of his austerity announcements in a factory he tried to deny financial help as the leader of the Ontario opposition (just one of the many blunders).

He took the very playbook perfected by Harper (again, taken from Andrew Coyne's column):

Step one: Fail to gather consensus or anticipate opposition. Step two: Make no effort to disarm or co-opt critics, but antagonize them at every turn. Step three: Attempt to bluster or bully them into submission. Step four: Ignore warnings of imminent collision with reality. Step five: crash and burn. (ibid, Coyne, April 28, 2014)

Jay

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