Faced with the prospect of debating a strong and untainted Stephen Harper instead of beating up on a feeble and corrupt Paul Martin in a one-on-one debate, Gilles Duceppe has folded like a cheap tent.
Nonetheless, Stephen Harper comes away a big winner with little risk.
By taking up Duceppe's challenge, he killed three birds with one stone. He killed the perception that he's working with the Bloc to cripple the federal government; he killed Paul Martin's claim to be the great uncompromising champion of federalism in Quebec, and he killed the myth that only the Liberal Party can stand up to the separatists.
All without having had to say more than, "I accept."
You can't do better than an unassisted triple play.