With the announcement that Jim Prentice is leaving politics, the pundits are all in a spin. He was seen as the next leadership hopeful, and this will leave the doors open for other prospects.
But something Prentice said is quite compelling, invoking his father: "Leave while the crowd's still cheering".
Was it his own personal cheering that might stop or his party's. John Ivison is crowing that the Conservatives have already won the next election and Harper is going nowhere, but why would anyone assume that the Conservatives will win the next election?
Polls show another minority, but polls at this stage of the game mean very little, as history has shown. Paul Martin was "polled" to win a majority in 2004 and a minority in 2006. Neither of those things happen.
The Conservatives have a lot of baggage, especially Stephen Harper. These things are not on people's minds right now, but they will be during the next election campaign.
Two self-serving prorogations, the detainee issue, excessive spending, lobbying scandals, inaction on climate change, losing our UN security bid, just to name a few. He may find himself playing defense the next campaign, and he doesn't handle that well.
The other problem, is that many of Harper's moderates are leaving. Jim Prentice was PC as was Greg Thomson, who resigned as head of Veterans affairs because of Harper's abuse of veterans.
Chantel Hebert says that none of Harper's Quebec MPs get along, and with the ongoing Christian Paradis scandal, they can't be pleased.
Prentice, however, appears to be getting tired of being a cabinet minister, but having no power. Instead he takes direction from a "communications" team in the PMO, where only politics matter.
How many others are getting tired of this arrangement?
In Lawrence Martin's Harperland, he paints the picture of an angry man in the prime minister, who must control every aspect of the government. Dean Del Mastro claimed that he's even afraid that he might pick out the wrong tie and be chewed out for spoiling an image.
Who can work under those conditions?
Another thing that most Canadians now realize, is that Stephen Harper's conservatives are not a party in the centre, as he originally tried to portray them. They are definitely far right, and Prentice's exit helps to validate that.
This could help the Liberals, the only centre party left.
Is Prentice getting out while the party is still in power, having no desire to sit in opposition?