Pundits of all political stripes were expecting Stephen Harper to shuffle his cabinet this summer. Bev Oda left the cabinet yesterday and Julian Fantino replaced her. The shuffle was a fizzle. Why did Harper not deal the country another hand of cards?
The truth is, no matter how he shuffles the deck, Harper knows he has a lousy hand. He's known that from the beginning. That's why he has ridden herd on his caucus from the very beginning. They are not this country's best and brightest.
And despite his electoral success last May, they still keep getting themselves in trouble. Vic Toews can't open his mouth without putting his foot in it. And Peter MacKay -- who is the reason Stephen Harper is prime minister -- can't add or subtract. Lawrence Martin asks:
What kind of message is being sent to the public when so many in the Conservative government are not held to account for their actions? What is it about Mr. Harper that makes it so difficult for him to show a degree of contrition or humility that would sit so well with the public? How much hubris is in that tank?
The answer -- and it should be clear to everyone by now -- is that there is a lot more hubris in the tank. In the Harper government, the caucus and the cabinet are straw men and women. Their job is to do as they are told. Those who refuse -- the Jim Prentices, the Belinda Stronachs, the Bill Caseys, the Garth Turners -- leave of their own accord.
They're too smart to stick around.