Stephen Harper is a stubborn ideologue with something of a superiority complex. It's not for nothing that he's ended up Prime Minister. But it's not for nothing that he's stayed Prime Minister for so long, either.
Harper is also politically savvy. He knows how to play the game, whatever you think of his actual policy.
Which brings up an interesting point.
While it's common wisdom in politics that voters have short-term memories, this isn't necessarily the case. What's more accurate, I think, is that voters are more emotionally rooted in the present than they are in the past.
Can a government ignore the majority of a populace for three years, so long as they throw out some shiny baubles in the race to the finish line? Is everything old forgiven by a few treats that are new?
Political operatives think so. They always have.
There's a big difference, however, between fixing election odds and fixing our ailing democracy.
That's not the mandate of political people, though - they're in it to win, full stop. If we want structural solutions, we have to look to ourselves to see it done. Which requires long-term commitment that won't show return for a while.
Such is the challenge of our times.