Stephen Harper believes in marketing. His career has been based on his firm conviction that he can sell anything to Canadians. But, Michael Harris writes, the sales pitch isn't working like it used to:
As we begin the bumpy descent towards the October election (assuming it will be called), there is only one question to be answered: can Harper (assuming he runs) market his way to victory in the most important election in the country’s history?
The PR-as-reality machine has slipped its gears. Consider the economy. Aren’t we really better off with Steve, the CPC fondly asks? Not according to this year’s first quarter numbers for the GDP, which took the country half-way to a recession.
As for balanced budgets — if you go one-for-seven in baseball you end up on the bus that takes you from the bigs to the boonies. It took Harper seven years to balance his first budget.
The picture of Dean Del Mastro making his way in handcuffs and leg irons to a waiting police van blows a hole in the tough on crime sales pitch. A sizable number of Harper's caucus isn't buying it anymore:
Nearly three dozen non-offering MPs — that’s a sizeable percentage of the whole crew. When you add in cabinet lunkers like John Baird, Peter MacKay and James Moore, not to mention small fry like Christian Paradis and Shelly Glover, you have to start wondering about the captain. After all, these people are professional wind-sniffers. They smell defeat.
The man who was hell bent to re-make Canada in his own image is beginning to look like another Willy Loman.