People have bragged in the past about Stephen Harper's strategic prowess. But in every case of his supposed genius, it is being applied in a dishonest way and with the goal of shutting down real political discourse. He didn't say, I am breaking my own election law because this is a good opportunity for me to acquire a majority. He didn't say I am proroging parliament in order to avoid a legitimate vote of confidence. And recently he didn't say he was proroging parliament in order to buy himself time on the Afghan issue. Yet we all know that was what was going on. That is not strategy, that is just dishonesty. When people brag about their leader's strategic genius the litmus test should not be "does this effectively undermine my political opposition?" The question they should always ask themselves is; is my leader being honest and straightforward in the pursuit of his political goals?
One thing to consider is the psychology of this process. Only if you are being honest about your goals can you be honest about the outcomes. Many people observed that George Bush seemed congenitally incapable of admitting he was wrong or had made a mistake.. This is generally because he was seldom honest about his political motivations so an admission of error would make no sense. Stephen Harper cannot, for example, admit that he made a mistake proroging parliament because his stated goals (choose which every one you want among the several that he has used) were an effort at 're-calibrating his budget agenda to better serve Canadians.' Admitting that he was wrong would make no sense within this context. An admission of error could only come if he could admit that there was some incongruity between his goal and the outcome. Instead what you find men like Bush and Harper doing is continually shifting the grounds of their stated goals in order to try to avoid admission of error. Bush of course famously invoked 911 before he invaded Iraq, when this became problematic, he invoked 'Weapons of Mass-Destruction,' and when that failed he attempted to make it all an issue of human rights and democracy, and then toward the end when all else failed you would occasionally hear some vague reference to 'stability in the region' etc. And of course, Harper has recently done the same thing with prorogation. Because he will not admit publicly what his actual intentions were, he is forced to constantly shift his stated intention.
Gandhi's great salt march was a way of highlighting an immoral law, and a method of inspiring a people. It was clear direct and honest. Indeed it was a strategy but its goal was not to undermine Gandhi's political opponents through trickery. Gandhi was not taking advantages of loopholes in the law and then misrepresenting his actions as something they weren't. It is about time we stopped admiring politicians simply because they sometime outmaneuver their opponents and start admiring politicians who state their goals clearly and portray their strategic moves honestly.