Harper Just Needs to Survive

"You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to loose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."- Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale

It's important, particularly now, for Federal Tories to remember the above quoted "Stockdale Paradox." Now isn't the time to be relentless optimists.

This rings especially true in our present state of affairs. Don't believe Count Iggy's newfound distaste for coalitions - one is in the works, behind the scenes, ready for deployment.

It's impossible to conceive of a logical reason otherwise for the recent Liberal penchant for an election right now. Count Iggy had a year to turn Liberal fortunes around in the polls - and that hasn't happened. A year is enough for most Liberals. His time in power, he must reckon, isn't going to last much longer. His only shot at being Prime Minister is now. And if he can't get it by winning votes, there's always "... a coalition if necessary."

That means that Conservatives need to confront the brutal fact that a coalition of the left in this country is almost assured.

The way I see it, there are three possible tactical counter moves to this problem:

1) Win an outright Majority. To me this qualifies as the relentless optimist's choice. Most polls have consistently shown that the Tories have a ceiling of support of a bare majority - at best. Even former Harper Advisor Tom Flanagan has pointed out that we are living an era where a Tory majority is a reclusive dream. That doesn't mean that a Tory majority isn't possible - only improbable. If it happens great, but despite Tory hopes, and Tory best efforts (which should not abate), a majority will most likely not materialize. But there are other options.

2) Convince Some Opposition MPs to Switch Sides. Current polling projections shows the Tories winning somewhere between 150 and 153 seats in an election. That's just a 1/2 dozen seats to a majority. It's possible that some opposition MPs, unhappy with Count Iggy Puff's coalition of losers, would be willing to jump ship. To me this is a very realistic scenario, and one that would save Canada from a socialist fate that would make even Pierre Elliot Trudeau Blush.

3) Resign En Masse. To me this is the nuclear option. At the end of the day, it's the very one thing that could blow any coalition attempt away - yet it brings with it high political dangers. If every Tory MP resigned en masse as part of an organized take down by the Harper Tories, it would prevent a new coalition government from functioning. Everything would grind to a halt. Effectively it would force the short lived Prime Minister Count Iggy's Government into another election. Very quickly the man who said he wouldn't, and the other men who said nothing would be facing an angry electorate asking the question why? Good luck to the opposition on navigating that situation.

Given the above, the Tories need to prepare themselves for the brutal reality of a coalition government. It's possible that Harper may not be Prime Minister for a brief time (despite winning the most seats), before returning to power in a snap election. The best thing they can do is make the moves now to strategically position themselves for what they will need to do later.

In short, Harper doesn't really need to win a majority at all. What he needs to do is survive. If he can, very shortly he could find himself facing a divided, unpopular, cash strapped opposition as Prime Minister of a stable Majority - Even if he has to take a short lived "walk in the snow" to get there.