More delusional hopes among Red Tories that President Steve might see his shadow and hoof it back to Calgary, threepeat legacy intact, furnishing them with a chance to take their party back from the Reform tar-pitters.
But who is the Great Pink Hope to lead the Red return from neocon purga-Tory?
One contender, Frank hears, is quietly taking soundings.
Step forward, Jean Charest, last seen insisting that at 56 years of age, he was all lied out and had no further interest in matters reptilian.
“There is no one who sees me returning to political life, especially me… and above all my wife,” Harpo told Le Devoir back in August. “Honestly, I don’t miss politics at all.”
So on what foundation are the Reds basing their quaint hopes?
1. Harpo popped up as guest speaker at a November fundraiser at a Toronto law firm for Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, who worked on his ’92 PC leadership bid. By all accounts the 400 hacks in attendance heard a remarkable speech for a putative retiree. “All the federal juices were flowing,” said one Tory vet.
2. 5,000 people, most of whom had not heard from them in years, suddenly got beautifully designed Christmas cards from Jean and Michelle.
3. Byron Muldoon, who still has clout in some quarters of the party, has reportedly been quietly encouraging his old protégé.
4. Charest is still popular in Quebec, currently a phantom zone for the Tories, and a good retail baby-kisser, with the gravitas to expose succession frontrunners like Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney for the twerps they are.
5. He’s not doing much else.
7. That’s it!
OK, but what’s in it for Ben ?
Charest would make a terrific leader of the 4th party in the House.
Hmmm, didn’t he have that job once already?
How many party leaderships would this project bring the total to? His allegiance is, er, flexible to say the least.
If Harper does not win another majority (by no means a certainty), he may be done. In that case why not another kick at the can for Charest? The Conservative base will never support Trudeau or Mulcair and he would attract more blue Liberals than Harper ever did. Regardless of one’s opinion about him, Charest is a consummate pro reptile, I mean politician.
But what would he be without the bolstering influence of Elsie Wayne, the Groucho to his Harpo, the Velveeta to his Baloney, the Giant Tiger to his Hart?