Harper Displacement Syndrome

Another day, another wistful story about the possibility of Prime Minister Harper removing himself from the national political scene.  The story opens, “Would the governing Conservatives be better off motoring into Election 2015 without Stephen J. Harper at the wheel?” The answer is, no, not really, of course not, but it then goes on to discuss possible replacements in some fantasy Canada. This genre of Canadian political analysis always reminds me of a four-year-old discussing candy – not really asking for candy, but just telling little stories about it, artlessly listing its advantages and deploring its absence, all the while reading the audience for evidence that something, anything, is eliciting a response. For years, these opinion articles have used a tone of quiet patience with Mr. Harper, pointing out how close he is to electoral disaster and offering ideas that might help him be successful.  Mr. Harper has been Prime Minister for years and may hold that office for years to come, but the mainstream media never has accepted that and never will. The main result has been their decreasing importance, and Mr. Harper’s increasing strength.