What’s eating Stephen Harper?

Gerald Caplan considers Sarah Palin, Mike Harris and Richard Nixon in an attempt to understand Stephen Harper and that outburst in Italy.

Why is Harper such a troubled man? Why are those who disagree with him enemies, not opponents? No one has a clue what’s eating him deep down. He’s not a small-town nobody as Mike Harris had been. He wasn’t an outsider in his own universe the way Richard Nixon was. He seems to have had a happy, typically middle-class upbringing. In fact, he grew up one of the luckiest human beings on earth, with privileges that only a fraction of humankind has ever enjoyed, and has remained lucky and privileged ever since. Yet he’s such an angry man.

Stephen Harper seems incapable of suppressing resentments that are unfathomable to the rest of us but that lead him to the most outrageous and self-destructive partisanship. His dismissal of socialists and separatists is just conservative boiler-plate. But his loathing of liberals/Liberals surpasses all understanding. No doubt he is a very smart man about some things. But for such a smart man he sure does some troubling things.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.