If Harper is anything, it seems to be someone who craves unfettered control.
Whether it's in his own party or as the elected leader of a country, he follows his own script tightly, providing even his most skilled ministers little room to exercise their own abilities. Perhaps the lack of Tory talent explains part of it, but many are now publicly coming to the conclusion that Harper has no faith or trust in others when it comes to making or even pronouncing decisions, but doesn't have the judgement skills to avoid self-inflicted wounds.
That is one reason why the blame for Parliamentary gridlock cannot be shared equally. Who is in control of the government's agenda? Who but the opposition, usually the Liberals, has bent and given way to his often ideological demands? What circumstances were in the way of governing prior to the fiscal update? And did Harper not hear the will of the Canadian people, who favoured giving him a little more rope, but still on a leash?
Harper is not capable of accepting responsibility, and definitely no blame, when cornered with the results of his dictatorial manipulations. Heck, even take his support of the Invasion of Iraq. While Ignatieff has come around and admitted that his support was in error, Harper avoids the question, thus leading to the only conclusion -- He would do it again. The interview with Mansbridge this week highlighted just that trait, as did the press conference outside the G-G's mansion. This current predicatment has even drawn some comedic arrows. When a little contrition could go a long way, even as a political piece, to soothe this trouble, he denies it.
So I was thinking (excuse me for this fruitless exercise, I don't have a dog to walk) what can we read in the tea leaves of today about this narcissist?
He's cornered in a way, although still holds a powerful tool, that being the threat of an election. Just today he's signalled another loss in principle by moving to load the senate with 18 CON zombies to follow his orders. Is it because he feels this is his chance to do it, under cover of a coalition threat, or is it because he sees the writing on the wall entirely?
Put it this way -- he spent nearly 2 years attacking his nearest rival with never-before-seen-in-Canada adverts outside an election cycle, denigrated an honest man's whole career essentially through the power of money and many bleating sheep repeating the false mantra. And the end result was a slightly bigger minority, not a majority. He broke another promise to just get to that point. Could his fiscal update have been a belated tantrum meant to slap the opposition silly while continuing to stick to the whole 'There's nothing wrong in a Conservative Canada' meme that cost him the chance at a majority?
The whispers behind the door have yet to escape outside, but they are there. Harper has heard them, if not just in his own self-obsessed mind. Just as he refuses to provide elbow room for a possible successor, he most likely won't want to hand over or share any power at this stage.
If his measure of Ignatieff is that a Harper government must offer an authentic olive branch, or risk it all in a high-stakes (playing with Canada's national unity like so much kindling) game of poker, would this 'winner-take-all' type revert to running away like he did in the past?
Could Harper, who has felt the heat from inside his own office, despite the timidity of his staff around him, be preparing to exit?
Are we watching a man rehearsing his own pirouette?