Thursday, October 07, 2010

No room on the Harper book shelf

Just in time for the Christmas gift giving season, comes a new political tome from the Globe and Mail's  Lawrence Martin.

The long time political observer, has fixed his gaze and research skills into a collection of thoughts on the rise of Steven Harper's brand of Conservatism.

And if the indications out of the PMO office have it,  it's a piece of work that will not be a featured item on any Book Club selections from Mr. Harper's office.

In fact, just the announcement last week of the book's pending arrival on store bookshelves and online portals put the PMO on the defensive, with the Prime Minister's press secretary offering up his thoughts on the efforts of Mr. Lawrence.

The Conservative insiders apparently having read some of Mr. Martin's past works believe he has a rather Big L bias in his work.  An accusation that Martin rebuts with the suggestion that Conservatives had no problems when he was exploring the days of the Chretien era.

Still, the belief of that Liberal bias probably won't be relieved when they thumb through (clandestinely  and far from the gaze of the boss no doubt) the pages of the 275 page review that went on sale yesterday.

Harperland: The Politics of control,  it seems offers up a rather extensive look into the Prime Minister's leadership style, his hands on control of the party's affairs and  the sense of fear that the PMO puts into the loyal Conservative troops.

Martin also explores Harper's apparent pre-occupation if not outright hostility to all things Liberal and his rather thin skinned nature when it comes to criticism of his leadership.

One theme that should be of interest to Conservatives is the accounts of the Prime Minister's inability to capture that elusive Conservative majority government , putting some of the blame squarely on the personality of Mr. Harper and his less than warm and fuzzy resonance with the Canadian electorate.

However,  more than one observer has suggested that Mr. Harper himself should settle into a comfortable chair one night, pour himself a favourite beverage and crack open the covers and dig in.

What they suggest he may find is the key to his potential longevity as Prime Minister and yes the successful end to his quest for a majority.

In fact, as Don Martin of the National Post points out in his review of the book, part of the Prime Minister's image problems stem from number of Conservative insiders that have felt the wrath of the Office of the Prime Minister and felt no hesitation in sharing their thoughts with Lawrence Martin.

It seems that the controlling nature coming out of the Prime Minister's Office has made for more than a few hard feelings and in the end may contribute to a growing collection of enemies from within.

As though to reinforce part of Martin's theory on the Conservatives problems and Indicative of the tone deaf nature of the Prime Minister's office these days, rather than just offer the normal commentary of such that the Prime Minister perhaps is too busy to read every book that comes out, the PMO's office instead offered up the kind of pre-release publicity that should shoot the new book up the sales charts.

Something we're sure that Martin and his publisher  (not to mention the Opposition parties in Ottawa) are quite thankful for

Hey may not want it, and probably won't drink it, but the Prime Minister should expect a case of champagne from Martin in thanks for his help on the publicity trail.

He may not be the most enjoyable of guys to be around on the Hill, but when it comes to launching a book project it seems that Stephen Harper has the touch, much to his chagrin we imagine.

The political junkies of the nation have either had advance copies of the work or apparently have done an all nighter cram session for their book reviews, some of their efforts can be found below.

Times Colonist-- A visit to Harperland can mean a wild ride
Globe and Mail-- For Tom Flanagan, Harper book shows Ottawa 'puts too much on confidentiality’ Lawrence Martin's Harperland exposes a prime minister in control
CBC-- Author defends Harper book
Winnipeg Free Press-- Harper book paints picture of ruthless PM demanding total control, discipline New book 'Harperland' paints PM as controlling

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