The man in the blue sweater-vest

People who have worked with Stephen Harper in previous elections say they are pleasantly surprised by the new Conservative campaign advertisements. In years past, Mr. Harper would rip up any scripts that packaged him to fit focus group expectations. “He’d simply say ‘I’m going to be who I am and I’m not doing it’,” said one campaign veteran.

Yet the new batch of ads features the notoriously private Prime Minister at the fireside at his Harrington Lake retreat talking about playing piano and card games with his son in a spot called “Family is Everything.”

John Ivison: Biggest Tory asset is Harper himself

That more or less says it all, doesn’t it? Once, Stephen Harper was who he was — a person of authenticity, that is, possessed of beliefs, and principles, and self-respect. But now they are all gone: first the beliefs, then the principles, and at last even the self-respect. And all he has to show for it is power.

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