Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harper's Old-School Politics of Command and Control Could be His Demise.

Lawrence Martin of the Globe and Mail is my favourite national political columnists. His analysis today about Stephen Harper leadership style and character and comments of Mr. Harper’s former mentor, Preston Manning are worth reading and pondering.

The man is all about tight command and control by the PMO. He applies it to everyone in the Harper government. The default talking point of every Conservative in Ottawa is to reference the sponsorship scandal. That is an old storyline that Canadians have moved beyond. However it is trotted out every time as the answer to any criticism directed at the Cons political, governance and statesmanship gaffe and shortcoming.

This centralized micromanaging and macro messaging control is Harper himself is bound to run its limits and try the patience of the voter. The sponsorship scandal as the Harper Cons answer to all issues is past frustrating, was never funny and now shows just how futile the Harper Cons are at real governing.

I love this African proverb and often think of it when I reflect on Mr. Harper as our pro tem PM. "If want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others." I like to add, if you want to do both you better transform the culture and find consensus. Tranfixing on dictating from the top will not go fast or far.

The Harper minority government has run its course. Unfortunately the Dion alternative is not seen as viable either. It is time for a different political approach and a different kind of person in politics. Given the nature of the job and the little upside for citizens to actually run for office, we may have ot wait a long time for that kind of change to occur.