The longer a leader stays, the more his or her party takes on the leader's personality. That's certainly the case with Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Andrew Coyne writes that, whatever good news the Conservatives may have to deliver, it gets drowned out by their in your face ugliness:
How could a government presiding over such a strong economy be so unpopular? It is unusual enough for a governing party to fall, and stay, below 30% in the polls. But to do so in good times? Unheard of. And while governments sometimes are obliged to take a hit early in their tenure, traditionally the time for taking tough decisions, it is hard to think of what the Conservatives might have done on the policy front to make them so unpopular.
It seems, rather, to be almost entirely to do with their no-prisoners approach to politics. The criticisms on this front are well known; the point is it is wholly self-inflicted. The Conservatives are in such odium neither by bad luck (as governing in bad times usually amounts to) nor necessity, but by choice. They aren’t an especially bad government. Arguably they’re more competent than most. But they seem almost to have gone out of their way to alienate people.
For it is patently obvious that the party -- like its leader -- doesn't like people. They don't know how to talk to people. They can scold; they can scream; they can deliver snide asides. But they can't carry on a conversation.
That's why the scandals won't go away. Mr. Harper, try as hard as he may, can't put them to bed:
The RCMP will continue to investigate the Senate mess, with charges likely (though possibly not before election day). At some point, too, the Auditor General will report the findings of his examination of senators’ expenses — the same senators who so lately sat in judgement of three of their fellows for abusing theirs.
On another front, later this spring the trial of Michael Sona, the only person to be charged to date in the robocalls affair, gets under way. His lawyer has suggested Mr. Sona is being made to take the blame for a much larger plot. Whether that is true or not, the Conservatives’ handling of the whole matter has been so strange that its return to the headlines can hardly be a welcome development.
A party which was in the least way reflective might consider changing leaders. But the Conservatives are -- in Charlie Angus' apt epithet -- "Thatcher's ugly children." And, so, they will live and die with the ugliest of their brood.