No matter what you might think of Stephen Harper's policies, his strategic abilities and sense of the political jugular are not to be underestimated.
The Harper, "strategy master", has become conventional wisdom in the media. More and more, I question this characterization. The view seems to have started after the last election. No doubt, the Tories ran a tight, focused campaign. However, you can't look at this fact in isolation. The Liberals were awash in negativity, a by-product of too long a reign, scandal and uninspiring rhetoric. In other words, Harper winning a narrow minority was largely predictable, given the landscape. Important to remember, it's not like Harper swept the nation. Harper won because of a "kick the bums out" sentiment, not some masterful strategy to paint Canada blue. I think the media overstates Harper's political "brillance".
The above quote is taken from an article that cites Harper's attack ads on Dion as evidence of his prowness. How can you conclude this, when today we read headlines as ridiculous as "Embattled PM says he now accepts need for climate-change action". Think about this, on a day when scientist conclude the debate long since over, we have the Prime Minister at the back of the line with the stragglers saying "I'm in". Stephen Harper has been a trainwreck on the environment file since this government took office. Harper hand picked an incompetent to manage a massive file, failed to see the obvious growth of the issue, completely blew it on the international stage in Nairobi, released one of the most disasterous pieces of legislation I can remember, re-hashed old ideas, threw billions around with no political payoff and is today, one year later, still on the defensive, trying to convince us all that he cares. This is just pathetic desperation:
Harper vowed Canada would attend a global summit that hasn’t even been called yet — a conference on climate change that some in the United Nations are demanding.
“I have not received an invitation from the United Nations Secretary General. However, if we did, we would accept,” Harper said.
How does anyone find a deft politician in this shit storm that looks like amateur hour? Harper' strength is his tight control, but this ability isn't necessarily a good political fit. Issues are fluid, events largley unforseen. How a politician reacts is the best way to determine instincts and capabilities. In recent weeks, Harper looks increasingly desperate, like a beaver tending to a failed dam. I don't think Harper has ever had any grasp of this issue, as the frequent missteps attest. Harper the master tactician, methinks this is media inspired mirage. The gang that can't shoot straight sounds better.