I'm barely savvy enough to realize that most of the candidates for the Liberal leadership are in it to further their political careers. As an example from another race, Belinda Stronach parachuted into celebrity political status by putting a ton of money behind a Conservative leadership bid - was that just a couple of years ago? - when she was totally unqualified. Most of the current Liberal contenders have no chance of winning and are just in it for a cabinet position, when/if the Liberals regain power.
Some of the can't-wins may be in the race to get their ideas in the national forum. I hope that's why Carolyn Bennett's there, because her ideas about reforming the party and bringing it back to the grass roots are wonderful, but I don't think she'd make a good leader.
Then there are the front-runners. A friend of mine was speculating the other day that Ignatieff would not have given up tenure at Harvard unless the current powers-that-be had promised him a mighty strong chance to win the leadership. My friend's argument was that because of this Ignatieff is the candidate who offers the least chance of party renewal and the highest likelihood of returning to government-by-senior-consultants.
What about the other two front-runners, Dion and Rae? Why are they in it? They seem like straight-ahead guys who are in this to win, but is it possible in either case that this is just a chance to rejuvenate a flagging political career or to increase their brand so that they can win international positions? I strongly believe that Bob Rae would be an inspirational leader and one of our greatest Prime Ministers, but sometimes my faith falters and I wonder if he's really in this to win... or whether the race is already overwhelmingly favored for Ignatieff.
Another issue that's nagging at me is why so many senior people, including my riding leadership, are supporting Gerard Kennedy. Kennedy couldn't win the next general election and isn't qualified to run the country; either they're conceding the next election to Harper (as many of Kennedy's supporters say they are), or they don't care whether the Liberals win... or they're strategizing the second and third ballot in the leadership convention... or they hate all the other alternatives... or there's something else going on.
I'll probably make a bid to go to the convention, despite the estimated $1200 price tag. I'm currently a Rae supporter who would probably follow Rae's direction if he had to drop out on a subsequent ballot, or would otherwise go to Ignatieff... so I have no idea if I would get enough votes in my riding to go. In the meantime I'm trying to be transparent in my reasoning and open to debate.