That's the impression I had, checking in with the news last night after finishing up with work in the office and at home.
First, I thought the decision to re-open same-sex marriage was bad enough. The issue felt like such a closed book to me, already part of history. For one thing, there are already over 3,000 marriages (that Harper says he would grandfather if Parliament banned SSM). But I just think many, many Canadians have moved on.
It just seems like poor political strategy to reopen this, unless Harper is hoping to get it over with now and be done with it.
What was much worse was his handling of the "Do you love Canada?" question. I saw it on TV without any hint of what was about to happen and was surprised and disappointed by the result. As dumb as the question was, I still expect the immediate impulse ought to be to say "yes" or "of course" or "absolutely" before going on to make whatever points you like.
And, yes, of course, the question was a trick question. I was taken aback when I heard it. But it really makes me wonder about Harper's political sense that he couldn't recognize the trick in this question and immediately give the answer that comes naturally to everyone else. How could he not know immediately why this question was being asked, and what the spin behind the question was? And knowing that, how could he give such a lame response?
This election is going to be a particularly long one. So, there is tons and tons of time to recover from things like this. On the other hand, if you run a lousy campaign, there is tons of time to drive yourself into the ground. I'm hoping Harper doesn't do that, because it's hard to imagine how we could get the change we need without a good performance by the Conservatives.