Let's say you're the leader of a contumacious, Prairie-based party fuelled by populist class-war resentment, and let's say you manage to scrape together a hanging-by-the-fingernails minority government by expanding your support base beyond the angry loners, middle-aged virgins and trailer-park glue-sniffers who once comprised your core constituency.
Let's say that, after installing your velvet Elvis paintings and Maple Leafs night-lights at 24 Sussex, you proceed to do the following:
1) Accept floor crossers and an unelected hack Senate-appointee into Cabinet--in flagrant violation of your most fundamental ethical standards--in order to give yourself instant M.P.'s from places where virtually nobody voted for you;
2) Bring down some of the most costly, irresponsible, pork-filled budgets in recent Canadian history;
3) Pursue a thuggish program of anti-Opposition vilification and odium unlike anything witnessed in living memory;
4) Perfect the art of pandering to influential and wealthy ethnic groups for partisan gain;
5) Provide the most abjectly anti-federal concession to ethnic nationalism ever witnessed in North America;
6) Strangle any hint of independent thought, speech and action in an effort to retain total control of "the message" and constrain your caucus' vocal platoon of bone-in-the-nose recreants;
7) Fire or intimidate any civil servant who has the audacity to do his or her job without reference to your partisan needs or ideological programme; and
8) Suppress debate concerning your government's central foreign-policy initiative by slandering as "terrorist sympathisers" anybody who dares give voice to majority domestic opinion by critiquing the conduct of the war.
Now, if you've completed all these tasks, would you be happy with this? Would you be satisfied being in a dead heat with the Opposition, especially when you're an experienced, veteran politician who has rarely had his lips off the public teat during the span of his adult life and when your adversary is someone your party considers a laughable, gutless, clueless, indecisive milquetoast?
Would you enjoy taking the polling equivalent of an unlubricated bratwurst-sized proctoscope in Ontario to the tune of a measly 32% against the Opposition's 50%? After doing so much humiliating kow-towing to Quebec nationalism, would you expect to be rewarded by being twelve points below the separatist party and in a dead heat with a party led by one of the most hated men in Quebec?
In brief, could you possibly conceive of yourself as anything other than an achingly inept, stumblebum poltroon?
If your answer to the above question is "no", two things are indisputably true:
1) You are more honest than your disciples are; and
2) You are smarter than they are.
For more details, consult the entry for "Faint Praise" in the Oxford Dictionary Of Idioms.