In relation to my post on the issue of "legitimacy" being a hindrance to the coalition, Murphy argued:
"What people saw, even if this was technically legal, the election was being tossed away. It wasn't a matter of understanding, it was a matter of real legitimacy, and there's a distinction to be made between something that's correct and something that's legitimate."
"But, if the Governor General did, and 10 or 12 million Canadians didn't like it, then it may still be legitimate, but you can't run a government without the acceptance of the people."
I think the "distinction" is what some of us don't calculate into the equation. While our system allows a coalition, while a coalition is entirely justified, particularly given the circumstances, if the public largely views it as a power grab, or a deal with separatists, or a refutation of election results, it will never have the necessary moral authority to govern. The basic idea of a party, which just garnered it's lowest public support total in history taking the helm strikes many as somehow unfair, rightly or wrongly. To plow ahead, comforted in the knowledge of justified procedure, without acknowledging whether the public will view the arrangement as "legitimate" is a recipe for disaster.
I don't mind that my Conservative friends are damp at the recent spate of polls, which MOSTLY show the party soaring to new highs, the tantalizing majority within reach. I believe that is a complete and utter mirage, in fact Harper and the Conservatives have been hurt by this crisis, only the idea of a coalition masks the real damage, and any cocky attitude fails to accurately read the true implications. Murphy on the polls:
"Just because the polls leaped up after the over response of the opposition, does not mean Stephen Harper earned a lot in this affair himself. Stephen Harper's been hurt, even with his own base. And, the idea that even these polls, which are at best very, very fragile, have anything permanent to offer are gone. If he were to precipitate an election, I think you would see a dive in these polls."
"His elevation in the polls, had nothing to do with the fundraising subsidy, it was the backlash against the response to him doing it, that gave him an artificial lift...They saw this turmoil, and it temporarily gave him this artificial shelf, it's just because the coalition was so bad"
An "artificial lift", which is why I remain entirely confident that once the Liberals dis-entangle themselves from the coalition, particularly with a leader that's hand it in is tertiary at best, we will see the true impact of the Conservatives actions. Harper and the Conservatives truly riding high, please.
In two recent end of the year interviews, Harper has openly mused about his tenure as Prime Minister in the past tense, he even went so far as too suggest he's moved potential successors around in portfolios to give the depth demanded for potential leadership. With those musings in mind, Lawrence Martin's column today about Harper possibly stepping aside this year, seems entirely reasonable. My only caveat, Martin fails to acknowledge the role of ego in any thinking, and I would think that a primary consideration, given that we are talking about a man who has systematically ensured all things Conservative revolve around him personally. That said, an intruiging piece:
Mr. Harper will then have served seven years as a party leader and close to four as Prime Minister. Given his enjoyment of power, his first wish would be for more of it. But he will assess the odds and, most likely, realize that the probability of his overcoming the ominous portents and enhancing his standing in his party and the country are hardly high.
As well, he may look at history, at the many leaders before him who didn't know when to leave, who sought to defy the odds. If he does, he'll see they've never stopped regretting it.
As a Liberal, I hope Harper stays on, because he's clearly past his best before date, man has a certain odor now.