If you wonder how conservatives -- real conservatives -- are reacting to Stephen Harper's cross country tour, read David Krayden over at ipolitics. Krayden writes that he will vote Conservative -- not because of Stephen Harper, but in spite of him and a campaign that is all about him:
At any rate, it’s misleading to talk about a Conservative party campaign in 2015. This is a Stephen Harper campaign. If you understand that, you understand the thrust behind the ‘Just Not Ready’ ad: the veiled suggestion that Trudeau can have the office once Harper is done with it. This campaign just doesn’t put the leader front and centre — it focuses entirely on Stephen Harper, apparently excluding all other candidates. When Harper was in Vancouver last week, he stood — alone — against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. No incumbent MPs or earnest candidates by his side. The slogan attached to his podium was about him; it didn’t even mention the party.
Krayden long ago reached the conclusion that Harper is not who he claims to be:
At any rate, he’s leading a party that is conservative in name only. In a July pre-campaign announcement, Harper proudly claimed that the introduction of his government’s Universal Child Care Benefit was a “historic day” for Canada. And so it was — it was the day that a serving Conservative PM decided to define his legacy and political prospects in terms of how much money he’s willing to dump on the taxpayers who gave it to him in the first place.
Harper has already cleared the caucus of social conservatives: the list of Conservative MPs not running again is a Who’s Who of evangelical, assertively pro-life legislators in Canadian politics. Harper and the keen kids in the PMO have intimidated this crew for years.
Harper was never a social conservative. Once, he was a libertarian. Now he’s a libertarian who thinks big government — big Harper government — is the answer to all of Canada’s problems. He has become a living, breathing oxymoron.
Some might be tempted to remove the first two syllables of that last word. But the truth is that Stephen Harper is too smart by half. The Duffy trial has revealed how morally bankrupt the Harper government really is. Nigel Wright's blood is in the water. Ray Novak will be the next to bleed publicly.
The question is, "Will Harper be part of the carnage?" If there are enough people like Krayden willing to vote for him, Stephen may escape Nigel's and Ray's collective fate.