Thursday, December 09, 2004
POLITICS AS USUAL: YOU KNOW YOU'RE TURNING INTO A MODERATE WHEN...
"Stephen Harper seems to be recasting the party in the image of Brian Mulroney, Mr. Clark and Robert Stanfield. The old Reformers, happily drafted, have been shafted. The new party's about as radical as tea and crumpets.
It's been a telling few months. Mr. Harper signs on to the Liberals' statist health-care package. Mr. Harper is mushing around the middle, just like the Grits, on missile defence. The Liberals trot out a semi-socialist national daycare program. The Conservative leader can't get worked up about it.
With his soft-power strategy, he lacks a bold set of policies to differentiate himself from the Grits. That's a problem. But not much of one. When the Tories won in 1957, 1979 and 1984, their platforms hardly featured radical change.
The bigger problem is to be seen by voters as a threat to the existing order. Mr. Harper needn't worry about that. The way he's been sounding this year, he'd be comfortable on Paul Martin's front bench."
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