June 09, 2005

Fools rush in.

Stephen Harper seems to be learning the hard way that while the early bird gets the worm, there is a certain form of over-eager, extra-early bird that ends up with squat.

Where Martin dithers, Harper has a tendency to jump in just a little too fast. First he lauded the budget while it was still being presented in the House by Ralph Goodale, only to have to engage in a delicate "I love the budget, I hate the budget" dance for the next few months. Then he came out all guns blazing after Martin's televised speech on the sponsorship scandal, only to have his unseemly eagerness gradually backfire as Martin's commitments found some traction.

To put it a different way: Where Martin is desperate to stay in power, Harper is desperate to attain it. Too desperate -- and it shows.

Harper's latest error was to jump too enthusiastically on Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal's "I've got it on tape!" bandwagon. Now, for reasons I don't need to explain (though I have to say that if the airport stories are true, it's pretty rich that Grewal taped the Liberals but didn't stop to think about airport surveillance -- genius!), this house is crumbling around him, and the poll numbers are slipping away. While these are fickle times and the momentum could shift again, clearly Harper is seeing an opportunity start to fade. The latest poll has his party running almost 15% behind the liberals and just 2% ahead of the NDP. In Ontario, the situation is even worse, and the NDP lead the Conservatives.

It's not clear if Harper will ever learn to control himself, but it may be too late already. He was sounding desperate in a different way today, putting the responsibility for bringing down the government on disgruntled Liberals and complaining about how he has trouble rallying even his own caucus.

Meanwhile, news stories are finally carrying some comments from fellow Conservative MP and purported potential floor-crosser Nina Grewal. It's kind of shameful that this is the first we hear from her. One news source described her as "breaking her two week silence", but quite frankly there wasn't even a "couldn't be reached for comment" in the stories of the past few weeks. I would be pleasantly surprised if it was deliberate silence on her part that kept her out of the papers. Incidentally, she has apparently said that she was not approached by the Liberals and did not participate in these talks.

Gurmant Grewal may be sleeping on the couch -- both at home and at the office.

Posted by anatole at June 9, 2005 01:14 AM

"The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese." - Steven Wright

Posted by: Mike Hoye at June 9, 2005 08:28 AM

Wait. Are you suggesting that Grewal and Harper are no longer sleeping together? What a scoop!

Seriously, Anatole: when are you going to stop this Environment Canada dalliance and join the Cons as a much-needed political strategist. I don't care if you do/don't believe in their agenda, but this one-party system is getting pretty damned tired these days, and it's obvious that the Tories aren't learning any new ways of digging "up".

Posted by: beltzner at June 9, 2005 09:58 AM