Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Robert Benzie, "PM partisan, passionate and profane," Toronto Star, December 6, 2008.

[This story is packed with unnamed contributors, but it describes what many see as a central contradiction in Stephen Harper's political persona. -jlt]

  "He cannot stop himself. He has this pathological inability to put aside politics – too bad for him and for all of us."
Ken Dryden

He just can't help himself."

So says one of Stephen Harper's long-time acquaintances, wryly noting the Prime Minister has few friends.

As Harper struggles to contain the national psychodrama he sparked, the amateur psychoanalysis is reaching a fever pitch.

No less a political sage than former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney has privately told at least two of his vast network of friends that he is disappointed in the man who was briefly his protegé.

Several sources told the Star that Mulroney, virtually excommunicated from the federal Conservatives over the lingering Airbus scandal, is flabbergasted over Harper's tactical blunder last week and not just because it recalled Joe Clark's miscalculation that cost the Tories power in 1979.

Mulroney's tutelage, especially his shrewd counsel on the electoral realities of Quebec and Ontario, helped sweep the Conservatives into office in 2006.

But in the subsequent estrangement comes this assessment:

"There's always been this concern that Harper believes he's the smartest guy in the room and that, no matter what, he's never wrong," confides the Harper acquaintance (who's also a Mulroney friend).

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