Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Could We At Least Have a Debate?

The Ignatieff camp has been pushing for the party to anoint him as interim leader via a vote of caucus. The Rae camp objected that we need a more democractic approach, so the party has "compromised" and agreed to let party presidents and a few other people join in the vote.

I don't see how this is a compromise at all, but that's not my main concern. Who wins is no longer my main concern, as it seems to be a foregone conclusion.

What bothers me supremely is that the Liberal party is still running around like a chicken with its head cut off, being reactive rather than proactive, making decisions for the short term rather than the long term, and making poor decisions. It's understandable that Ignatieff wants to sew this thing up as quickly as possible. We are in the middle of a political crisis and he wants to change the direction of approach before parliament resumes.

What gets me is that there is so little leadership from the senior ranks of the party. They should be thinking long term, keeping steady, ensuring that the next leader has the support of the party, and working steadily to rebuild party unity. Instead they seem to be flapping their hands and running around in circles muttering "Oh my!"

Last week the leadership was all gung ho for the coalition; now it's the worst thing that ever happened. Those of us who stood up to support the party and fight for its policy, the coalition, are now left hanging out there like idiots, blamed for supporting a bad policy. No matter that the entire caucus (including Ignatieff) signed off on it.

After the election, the party decided we had to have a full-blown expensive leadership contest; now we can't have any democratic contest at all. Why the abrupt change in plans? The first decision was made out of pig-headed complacency and the reversal of that decision was panic pure and simple. It's not doing Ignatieff any favors to let him win this way. When Bob Rae says that anointments don't work very well, he's not speaking out of self-interest but for the good of the party. Paul Martin got off to a bad start because he was anointed.

Sober heads would do what Rae asks and have a compressed but democractic leadership race, taking a few weeks, involving debates and some sort of membership involvement. This "compromise" to allow a few more in on the decision is no compromise at all. The goal should be to increase party unity, but that whole idea seems to have been forgotten, and consequently it looks like party unity is going to be hammered once again.

What has become crystal clear is that our leader can't do everything. He needs better party management behind him. We blamed Paul Martin for missteps; we blamed Stephane Dion for missteps; at some point we have to look at what else is going on to make our leaders fail.

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3 comments:

whopitulia said...

You're bang on.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this is actually happening. I've sent a letter the National Executive expressing my dismay that they are excluding the membership in selecting our new leader. I also told them I will quit if this goes ahead.

Christian Conservative said...

For the record, I have to agree with your analysis... well said.