Monday, 20 October 2008

Leadership Dumplings

I’ve fallen behind in my day to day postings in favour of taking photos in this magnificent autumn weather ! Here, though, are a few random Lib leadership dumplings, for what it’s worth ....

1. I can't help but feel a little bad for Dion. Smart man, sincere guy, did great work on the constitutional stuff. Through a combination of self inflicted wounds, Tory inflicted wounds and the unforgiving nature of tv politics he just wasn’t seen as a leader and had his ass handed to him in front of 35 million people. Like Martin, he probably should have quit while he was ahead.

2. Dion didn’t stumble out of the gate so much as he fell asleep inside the gate and got dragged along underneath it for a while. His crucial error was disappearing for the summer. By the time the 'dogs days' were over, Dion had to spend most of his time defining himself as NOT what the Tories had been saying about him for the previous six weeks. Bad Start.

Not sure how the Libs can pull it off but they gotta drum up enough cash so that the new new leader can get out and sell themselves rather than waiting until the weeks before an election campaign. Hell, even do an Elizabeth May style train tour as, chances are, it won’t be someone with a seat in the House and will not have the daily constraints of MP life. (Speaking of May, Chantal Hebert had an interesting column today in the TorStar entitled "Why not recruit May for the Liberals").

2. In 1993 Kim Campbell laid an MTS Centre-sized egg on the campaign trail with her quip: "an election is no time to discuss serious issues." While I don’t necessarily agree with that, it certainly isn’t time to spring forth something as radical as the Green Shift. Unless you have an Obamaesque budget you’ll never get the media time needed to explain in detail the whys and hows of such a fundamental shift in the economic and taxation systems.

Combined with the complete inability of anyone, Dion included, to boil the plan down into a couple of interesting ten second sound bytes, the Green Shift was treated like an embarrassingly loud uncle at Thanksgiving dinner - as time wore on people stopped engaging it hoping it would just go away. By the end of the campaign it was found sleeping on the sofa with it's pants button undone.

3. This leadership round I can see the Toban, Manley, McKenna types being heavily wooed to come out to play. The Libs experimented with an intellectual with big ideas and lost. They’ll be looking for something more familiar this time. Not necessarily the complete opposite end of the scale - the "guy you can have a beer with" type - but I think Iggy and Dryden and a couple of the other runners from last time will be on the sidelines.

There. I’ve said my piece, now back to the pretty pictures - oh look, cute prairie dogs grooming each other !


cherenkov said...

Looks like Stephane Dion giving Liz May a back rub.

Anonymous said...

Does Lloyd have a run in him?

Always thought he should have be leader in 1990...how old is he now?

If the Liberals want an academic, than Lloyd is a better choice than Iggy, cause Llyod also knows how retail politics is played.

mrchristian said...

@ cherenkov: Heh, I thought similar when I posted the pic but the other way around - May soothing an anguished Dion !

@ anon - Lloyd would be ove 70 now, I think. Being pres of a uni is probably more political than being a cab min. Im sure he has his hands full of retail politics !

Anonymous said...


I thought he was in his early 60's.

That rules him out.

His departure from the Federal scene in Manitoba has really lead to the state the Liberal Party is in today in Manitoba. We lost seats in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Dr. Rey, Alcock, and Duhamel all had their strengths and weaknesses but they could not compare to a strong central leader like Axworthy was in terms of building the party here.

The party needs some young, fresh faces to become the next Axworthy or risk being wiped out. In 84, Axworthy built the party back here from scratch, leading to 12 seats in 93. Neville is not going to do that. I hope someone can.