i take him more as suggesting that the harper political machine is better at putting on a show and delivering messages that sink into the public consciousness than the ignatieff liberals. i'd have to agree. their single most effective communications piece is that they are excellent at branding people - especially opposition - before those people have a chance to brand themselves in the media spotlight. it's a remarkably effective strategy, and exactly what has happened with ignatieff.
and part of that success is based on harper's brand - that he isn't a showman, that he is just a humble servant of the people that doesn't seek the spotlight. but behind the scenes he is exactly that kind of propagandist. he controls all of these attack ads, all of these branding exercises involving his opposition, all of the muzzling of his own people and the tailoring of every political message that comes from his party to meet the demands of his office. again, it's excellent branding. do one thing, but convince the public you are doing exactly the opposite.
and it is the effectiveness of this propoganda campaign that keeps the sponsorship scandal glued to the liberals (who hardly have anyone left from that era), while the littany of conservative scandals (twice shutting down parliament so he didn't lose votes in the house, contempt charges, the bev oda nonsense , the long form census, g20 spending and police, the in and out scam, guergis coverup and them subsequent banishment, afghan detainees, and the colvin smear, carson illegal lobbying in indian affairs, etc) don't stick. he is a superb propagandist.