Working for Stephen Harper, David Krayden writes, was not a pleasant experience:
Since he first became leader of the Canadian Alliance and then the new Conservative party, Stephen Harper insisted upon absolute caucus control and on absolutely getting his own way on every question. MPs who resisted this form of party discipline quickly discovered what life on the Parliamentary Library Committee was like.
Though this rigid caucus control began when the party was in opposition, it intensified when the Conservatives became the government and Harper was able to take a Prime Minister’s Office that was already too large and too powerful and make it even more so. The tyranny of the PMO and the way that Harper’s minions — kids who went straight from grad school to high-priced and high-handed positions as extensions of Harper’s will — harassed and bullied MPs and cabinet ministers was a familiar tale by the time Harper was into his third term. As MPs left — or were booted from caucus, bruised and panting for air — they showed everyone what caucus solidarity meant to Stephen Harper.
The reasons for Harper's defeat go well beyond the campaign he ran. They have to do with the man himself:
In fact, those who trace the roots of Harper’s defeat to the campaign itself may be missing the point. Harper didn’t lose the campaign in the last week, or at any single point in the last three months of the marathon campaign. He lost it when he ran a majority government without vision — a government with no reason for exercising power beyond power itself.
He lost it when he consistently failed to deliver a positive conservative message. We heard an awful lot from him about how feeble and unworthy his opponents were — but rarely anything that could inspire and energize Canadians. Such an approach to politics might work for a while (as it did in his case) but ultimately it leaves even supporters with little to believe in, to hope for.
Harper rose to power because of who he was. And he lost that power because of who he was.