How do you feel? You’re the premier of the province. You wake up and the first thing you see is a headline that says, in 160-point type, you have the support of nine per cent of the people.
It’s enough to make you choke on your muesli.
Nine per cent! Kim Jong-Il, the nasty little piece of business who runs North Korea, probably does better than nine per cent, although in North Korea it’s a good idea, in public at least, to throw 100 per cent behind the “Dear Leader” if you know what’s good for you.
Here in B.C., you’re free to annoy all of the people all of the time, and Premier Gordon Campbell, he of the nine per cent approval rating in the latest Angus Reid poll, is in danger of ending his career as the least popular politician in the history of B.C. politics. And that’s saying something when you consider his predecessors.
At nine per cent, Campbell may even be the least popular politician in the history of the world, at least among those who managed to get elected. At that level, you can lay odds, oh nine to one, that he’ll never get elected again.
The source of Campbell’s unpopularity is most often identified as the HST. Turns out it’s not a good idea to tell voters before an election that you have no plans to bring in the HST and then slap it on anyway a month after you get elected. Who knew?
Actually, I admit I’m a little surprised at the anger focused on Campbell. His behaviour is no more snake-like and duplicitous than all other politicians around most things, but especially sales tax, which somehow brings out the worst in them. Doesn’t anyone remember Jean Chretien, who promised to repeal the GST before he got elected, then broke his promise as soon as he wrested Parliament away from Brian Mulroney, the guy who started it all?
But Chretien got away with it, and was elected again. Twice! So Campbell is probably wondering why Chretien got away with it and he didn’t. And where’s the Olympic afterglow? Why doesn’t everyone get out their red mittens and applaud?
With Campbell, there’s something more going on. Unlike Chretien, who liked to pose as the little guy from Shawinigan, Campbell looks, sounds and acts like The Man. And no one likes The Man. Fear, maybe. Like? Never. And when The Man turns out to be a dirty rotten scoundrel as well as an insufferable egomaniac, it’s game over. I’ll be surprised if he makes it to the party’s convention and leadership review in November, never mind until the next election on May 14, 2013.
If not, how low can he go? Zero anyone?