Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Intelligent, Experienced, Sincere, Passionate, Honest - What's Wrong With That?

Two years ago I was really pissed off at the way Stephane Dion won the leadership via a secret deal with Gerard Kennedy and some split-timing shenanigans that did an end-run around the democratic process.

But even though I didn't support Dion for Liberal leader, I don't understand the flack he's getting these days. It's really over the top.

The guy is super-intelligent and has a ton of cabinet experience. He's sincere. He's passionate. He radiates integrity. There is no question that he is ready to be prime minister.

The main thing against Dion is his ability to speak English. Even there the problem is only with pronunciation. Aside from that his English language skills are excellent, and definitely a lot better than Chretien's. Or Harper's French.

He is blamed for the Green Shift. Don't forget, though, that he had some bad luck on timing. When he brought out the Green Shift the environment was the big issue on Canadian's minds. (I criticized the plan because it is revenue neutral; I thought that new taxes should be collected to pay for transit and so on. But it doesn't raise taxes at all.) Almost immediately after he announced the plan the economy started to stumble, and the economy became the priority of Canadians. Even though the plan will in no way slow the economy, the Conservatives were able to sell the story that it would.

Some pundits are saying that Dion doesn't connect with people. I just find that hard to believe. He's adorable. He has a sweet, wry way about him, and he's by far the best looking of our national leaders. The Liberals shouldn't be leaving Dion out of ads - they should be showing more of him. They don't have to do a personality whitewash as the Conservatives did with Harper. Just film him doing his thing, and this nonsense image that's being created of him will disappear.


Lycan Stark said...

And yet today, I saw Bob Rae give a rousing speech that should have been given by Dion. But it wasn't. People notice these things and today, I'll bet that backroom Liberal muttering just got louder - Dion the supposed leader needs rescuing from the people who would lead in truth.

Yappa said...

Hi Lycan Stark -

Funny that I just read this exact same comment from you on another blog. I'm not sure what you're up to (if anything). But I disagree. I was a very adamant supporter of Bob Rae in the leadership race, and have hopes he'll still get there.

But for goodness sake, at this moment in time who CARES who is giving the rousingest speeches as long as it's a Liberal? McCain doesn't care if people only come to his rallies to see Palin - as long as they come.

Plus, it helps the party to show the depth of our field. The NDP and Greens don't have MPs who could step up and be great cabinet ministers; only the Liberals do. We need to show off every strength at this point.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed that you are giving Dion credit where credit is due.

That leadership race was nasty and nearly ruined the party. Which is irresponsible to do to Canadians who need responsible leaders and government.

Now if only Rae and Ignatieff diehard fans would follow suit. But will their ego let them? You are a rare exception and one I'm grateful to read.

As for Rae or Ignatieff, if either of them is EVER put as Leader, Liberals will never ever be in power until they're gone. Ontario will never allow Rae again. And Ignatieff is too USA, despite being born in Canada. I don't trust either of them and that's true of many many other Canadians I've read and spoken with about this.

Yappa said...

To anonymous at 8:26 -

Rae polled higher in Ontario than any of the other leadership candidates. As to his or Ignatieff's supporters, I have never heard a whiff of a problem. Nor do I recall nastiness between any of the top three in the leadership campaign.

I hope you realize that a likely outcome of this election is that Dion will be ousted and we'll have to find another leader. We really need to pull together and look at our options clearly to make sure we pick the most effective leader.

The thing that horrified me most about Dion's secret deal was that if a few votes switched the other way we might have ended up with Gerard Kennedy as leader. Had that happened, the party would be a laughingstock and could have been destroyed.

Anonymous said...

That is a very interesting fact. I find it quite impressive how many people seem to overlook all of Dion's good qualities ONLY because his English isn't perfect. I have never thought about it before, but it is true that no one seems to criticize Harper's French. Is Canada truly a bilingual country? Do you think that if Mr. Dion had better english, he would be more likely to become our new prime minister?

Yappa said...

Hi anonymous at 12:03 -

I think the real reason that so many people have a problem with Dion is that Harper has a huge budget and a good PR firm, and has spent two years plastering the country with anti-Dion ads. When you think of it, some of them, like the famous "shrug", are really attacks on the Gallic style.