Think about it. Not two months have passed since the opposition unsheathed the threat of a coalition to stop Stephen Harper's Canadian neocon revolution. When it happened it was like the ninety-seven pound weakling giving the muscle-bound bullyboy on the beach a swift kick in the gonads. It was as if the opposition said, "Take that!" for all of the many insults and slights he made it suffer during the three years he had been kicking sand in its face.
Although Harper's first reaction against his unlikely tormentors was invective and divisive rage,
just like a bully he quickly and gingerly inched his way in retreat to behind the comely skirts of the Governor General. She gave him a reprieve from what was sure to be his government's fate - an ignominious departure from power.
Since his near death experience a lot of good things have happened.
1. Instead of continuing to bamboozle Canadians that there was no cause for alarm about the world wide economic catastrophe, the government finally admitted that yes, we were all in trouble.
2. Instead of trying to implement some hare-brained neocon solution to our economic woes in the tradition of say, Herbert Hoover or R. B. Bennett, the government's budget yesterday adopted a more sensible Keynesian stimulus approach in the wise tradition of FDR.
3. The former bully boy abandoned his plans to create an extreme right one party state.
4. The Liberals fast-tracked their leadership contest with the crowning of Michael Ignatieff in a bloodless process which achieved party unity for the first time in almost a decade.
5. Ignatieff has shown himself to be a polished performer and wise strategist, with a gift for coining a phrase for the moment. The words "This government is on probation" are likely to be heard frequently in the months ahead, as furrowed-brow Canadians carefully peruse every step the government takes to deal with the economic crisis.
6. In the polls Liberal fortunes have risen exponentially, particularly in Quebec where the people have wisely decided that Harper is not their friend. See: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2009/01/29/disconnected-from-quebec-reality-harper-sees-support-plunge.aspx
7. The budget itself has been universally characterized as a Liberal budget primarily driven by Liberal policies. And it is the Liberals who will play the major political role in looking over the government's shoulder to determine its commitment to its provisions.
8. Mercifully for all concerned, the coalition government is, at the moment at least, history. But its threat of resurrection hangs over Harper's head like the Sword of Damocles. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles. It will forever be in his attention.
The Liberals and the Opposition parties - and here Stephane Dion must be given much credit - have shown Canadians how to respond to a bully. See Darryl Raymaker blog
The swift kick was not only the great equalizer. It was the secret weapon that within the year will be responsible for the bully being forced to take up another line of work.