In his review of Paul Wells' book, The Longer I'm Prime Minister, Crawford Killian writes that Stephen Harper has a history of political misjudgement:
One of Wells' key points is that Harper is the author of most of his own misfortunes. He's the guy who ignored China until the Keystone XL pause taught him to seek foreign markets for oil; that made energy exports to China his priority #1. And that led to a declaration of war against "environmentalists and other radicals" who might stall the Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific.
Perhaps his worst failings might be called human-resources errors. For a man who understands voters, he's a terrible judge of people. He tends to put them in jobs where their behaviour backfires, creating more problems.
Remember Maxime Bernier, leaving classified documents in his girlfriend's apartment? Vic Toews, dividing Canada between his supporters and the child pornographers? Tony Clement, dispenser of tax largesse in the form of gazebos in his own riding? Bev Oda of the 16-buck orange juice? Peter Kent and Leona Aglukkaq? Not to mention a host of disposable gofers in the prime minister's office who soon burned out or otherwise failed.
This, after all, is the man who made Dean Del Mastro his parliamentary secretary, a man now turfed from the Conservative caucus after charges of violating election spending. And this is the man who swore he would reform the Senate, before appointing dozens of mediocrities including Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin.
Wells gives Harper credit for playing the long game. But the prime minister has almost sabotaged that game several times by making poor personnel choices. He knows strategy; but he doesn't know people. His strategy for dealing with poor choices is to accuse those around him of disloyalty and then dispose of them.
Eventually, that strategy catches up with you. The Senate scandal may well be Harper's undoing.