James Travers had a piece in the Toronto Star on the weekend in which he wondered if the federal government was too stupid to learn.
The federal government hired a communications firm with close ties to Prime Minister Paul Martin to track public opinion through every twist and turn of last fall's health-care summit between Mr. Martin and the provincial premiers.
The survey by Veraxis research and communications, which is headed by senior Martin adviser David Herle, tested support for the various proposals being considered, as well as who would bear the blame if the talks were to fall apart.
It occurred to me for a moment to wonder if the contract for this polling was properly tendered. Then I decided that it didn't matter because in politics, perception is everything. And where the Liberals are concerned the perception is still that it isn't what you know, it's who you know.
Veraxis Research and Communications is, of course, Earnescliffe Research and Communications with a different name. And at least in this corner, the Liberal party has no credibility until all of these people are miles away from the government.
It's always possible that it isn't stupidity at work here. It could be arrogance -- the belief that this kind of patronage can continue without penalty. I'm not sure which is worse.