At this time last year, Michael den Tandt predicted that Stephen Harper would undertake a charm offensive. Perhaps he was simply hoping for the impossible. For a man who doesn't like people, Harper has chosen a curious profession.
At any rate, den Tandt is not looking for a charm offensive this year. This year, he predicts:
Harper in 2014 will make a visible effort to re-engage – likely through more frequent speeches, perhaps even more frequent press conferences. He will do so not by choice, but by necessity. The Wright-Duffy mess, the sheer scale of the venality and dishonesty exposed within his own office, among people he appointed, has shaken his personal standing. The only practical remedy is to shore up his positives, namely his reputation for competence and intelligence. He can only do so by communicating.
Den Tandt, may well be right. Harper has no other choice. But "a reputation for competence and intelligence?" If this year has proved anything, it has proved -- beyond a doubt -- that Mr. Harper possesses neither. Worse still, it has proved that he no longer possesses a shred of integrity, although there are some of us who have argued that he never possessed that quality.
As for the Liberals and the New Democrats, den Tandt predicts that their rivalry will get nasty. And that prediction could well prove true, even though that fight might once again give Harper -- devoid of competence, intelligence and integrity -- the keys to the kingdom