In the same week that Canada's political pundits hailed Stephen Harper's "remaking of the political landscape," -- the week that Micheal Ignatieff resigned as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and headed to the University of Toronto -- Andrew Coyne recounted a meeting with one of Harper's operatives, a veteran of the Conservative War Room. Obviously proud of his work, he distinguished between the two strategies the Conservatives used in the attack ads which took down Stephane Dion and then Micheal Ignatieff:
They say that we try to portray Ignatieff in our ads and so on as a weak and flailing professor,” the war room staffer said. “No, that’s how we portrayed Dion. Dion was weak, you know, Dion was ‘not a leader.’ We’ve never said Michael Ignatieff isn’t a leader. We’ve never called him weak. And we’ve never called him a flip-flopper. Even when he changes his mind, we don’t say he’s a flip-flopper. Michael Ignatieff, in our narrative, is a political opportunist who is calculating, who will do and say anything to get elected.
“He’s a schemer. When he says one thing and then he changes his mind the next week, it’s not because he’s indecisive and a flip-flopper. It’s because he’s an opportunist who will say different things to different people. I don’t think we’ve even used the phrase, even internally, ‘He’s a malicious human being.’ But that’s kind of the sentiment we’re getting at. With Dion, we were trying to portray him as weak. You can’t trust him to lead us out of the economic recovery because he’s a weak man. With Ignatieff, it’s ‘He’s a bad man,’ right? He’s someone you don’t want your daughter to marry, right?
I bears repeating that the man who hired this Apostle of Sweetness and Light hired Bruce Carson. He smeared Richard Colvin. He fired Linda Keen. And then there is the sad tale of Remy Beauregard. Yet despite all the evidence -- on the public record -- last Monday a majority of Canadians chose to re-elect Stephen Harper for a third time. The difference was that this time they gave him the keys to the car and told him that he could drive it unsupervised.
It was an act of folly which will have tragic consequences. As Shakespeare's three weird sisters warned, "Something wicked this way comes."