OK, OK. Maybe it should read "avoiding armageddon". Irrespective, the Conservative Party can likely feel pretty good about how the convention turned out. Yes, there were lots of things that went poorly. Peter MacKay threw a hissy fit on Friday as old cracks showed. Stephen Harper kicked a chair. Harper gave an ugly press conference at the convention's conclusion where he looked defensive and attacked the media.
There was one thing the Conservatives had to do this convention. They had to put forward a moderate policy platform that nevertheless differed them from the Liberals. And that's exactly what they did. All the contentious resolutions were voted down - abortion, watering down of billingualism, referendum, recall, fixed election. Gone, gone, gone. This is going to make all the talk of a "hidden agenda" a lot harder for the Liberals in the next election and, if it's spun correctly, will help portray the Conservatives as a real, somewhat moderate alternative.
Nevertheless, they aren't just "Liberals lite". The traditional opposition to the gun registry and Kyoto are still there. As is support for tax cuts and the "2003 traditional" definition of marriage.
The policy house is now in order. It's only a matter of doing a competent job selling their party. But for Stephen Harper, that's a lot easier said than done.