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Thursday 29 May 2014

What Tim Hudak has in Common with Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was really good at getting his teams to drink his Kool-Aid.  Whatever the market reality was didn't matter - through charisma, condescension, sheer force of will and whatever other trick he could muster, Jobs got his way.  

It didn't always work in Apple's best interests, which is why he lost the company in 1985.  The devastation of this experience would teach Jobs a valuable lesson, enabling his future return to grace.

Tim Hudak is faced with an interesting challenge; once again, the facts that he's sticking to are being picked apart by professionals as not supporting the policy benefits Hudak's shilling.  

Hudak has built his entire campaign around the Million Jobs Plan - which demonstrably doesn't add up to a million jobs.  It's possible Hudak figures the market will produce that many jobs regardless of what he does, and can claim victory for gravity, but I would suggest Hudak's not quite that cynical (though some on his team definitely are).

When recently asked about the deficit left by the last Conservative government he was a part of, Hudak said it never happened.

When faced with tough questions at his campaign launch, he walked off stage rather than answer them.

What has he ever done when challenged on the veracity or feasibility of his plans?

He's stuck by his messaging, tuned out the questioner and bullied or fired the person challenging him.

For his part, though, Hudak never wavers, never questions himself, never accepts that maybe he's got it wrong.

Which, frankly, is delusional.

Hudak has a distorted view of reality that he demands those around him see, or gets frustrated with when they can't.  He refused to accept Peter Shurman's requests to run where he lives; he canned Dave Brister for criticizing the Right To Work plan, which Team Hudak ended up moving on from anyway.

Before this election, there were many in the PC Party who were waiting for the post-election opportunity to turf Hudak as a liability - much as what happened to Jobs.  Politics tends to be a bit less forgiving than business, though - once gone, it's unlikely Hudak will ever be back.

Give the tightness of the race, I would imagine even those PCs that are fed up with Hudak are holding out hope he can eke them a win - but what then?

Hudak has been dismissive of his own, elected Caucus - he is, after all, the boss.  He's made moves and taken steps that have left egg on their faces unnecessarily, like leaving a Northern candidate to defend Hudak's dismissal of the Northern debate.

What happens if he becomes Premier?  What if it's public servants with facts, experience and expertise who are challenging Hudak on his ideologically-driven policies?  What if it's a First Nations group that gets defensive because Hudak decides to crack down on cigarette smuggling without "committing sociology?"

It took a massive defeat and some damage to the Apple brand for Steve Jobs to burst his bubble of delusion, even to a small degree, and step put into this reality-based world of ours.  

The same will ultimately hold true for Hudak - the only question is how much collateral damage he inflicts before then, and if it will be just the Ontario PCs or the whole province that's on the receiving end.

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