You're a struggling opposition leader, becalmed in the Sargasso Sea of politics, as you watch your rivals sail on by. Somehow you've got to get moving, you have to go on the attack, get noticed, build some inertia.
Easier said than done, especially when the guy you should be targeting turns out to be as popular with your crew as you yourself. They like him as much as they like you - and he's way ahead.
Such is life for Tom "Angry Beard" Mulcair. Two recent polls have found that Justin Trudeau is about as popular with the NDP faithful as is Mulcair.
Tom Mulcair's approval rating has slid since the end of the election campaign. At the time, Forum estimated his approval rating to be about 50 per cent. The latest poll puts it now at 41 per cent, with 31 per cent disapproving. EKOS, which had Mulcair's approval rating standing at 53 per cent at the mid-point of the campaign, now puts it at 46 per cent, with 31 per cent disapproving.
Only in Quebec did both polls show a significantly higher level of support for the NDP leader.
Problematic for the New Democrats, however, is how Mulcair stacks up against Trudeau among NDP voters. Forum and EKOS put Trudeau's approval rating among New Democrats at between 67 and 72 per cent, with just 15 per cent standing in disapproval. By comparison, Mulcair scored a 71 to 77 per cent approval rating among New Democrats, with his disapproval rating sitting at 14 to 18 per cent.
Conservatives had no such split personality: 78 to 84 per cent of them said they disapproved of Trudeau.
Even if you could close to shooting distance you've got a problem. Your people strongly endorse their guy's policies and performance. He's not like the old guy, the Calgary stumblebum with that bullseye on his back. There was somebody you could attack all day, not that all your slings and arrows made a damn bit of difference.
Oh well, you'll probably figure something out, eventually, maybe. Or maybe not. It's hard to draw a bead when the target is that close. Sort of like shooting yourself. I know - why not give yourself a bit of range? Your aim is bound to be better if you move back to the Left, your old stomping ground. Well, not your old stomping ground but your party's. It's once you get there that you'll see where to aim and, trust me, there will be opportunities.