Ian Brodie quibbles with the suggestion that luck explains Stephen Harper’s success.
Merging the Reform-Alliance into the Conservative Party may have looked easy to outsiders obsessed with the drama of David Orchard’s efforts to block his Party’s ratification of the merger deal. But Harper had worked long and hard to overcome years of Reform-Alliance hostility to Toryism, and reaped the benefit of that work when the time came to do the deal. Keeping the new party unified and focused in the face of predictions of the coming Martin “juggernaut” may have looked easy to outsiders, but required careful internal leadership and work. Snatching victory from the jaws of victory in the 2005-06 campaign looks, in retrospect, like the inevitable unfolding of history, but required two years of brutal, disciplined work. And is it lucky to be in charge during a mammoth economic crisis? Does having an excuse for spending billions on economic stimulus lead to political success? Please, someone, ask Barack Obama.
If Brian Mulroney had been lucky enough to be in power during a long, global economic boom with very low interest rates, he and Mike Wilson would have balanced the federal budget. Instead, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin were the lucky ones. But let the Liberals keep on thinking that Harper’s success is the result of luck. Let them believe their current crisis is the result of bad luck. Whatever we do, don’t ever persuade them they need to change their approach. Let them keep rolling the dice and betting the house.