Monday, December 08, 2008

The Leadership Race

I don't know what form the leadership race should take, but if a small group in Ottawa tries to force Ignatieff on us without a fair, democratic contest, I am going to be mighty pissed off.

I have tried to keep an open mind about Ignatieff, but the last couple of weeks have made that really difficult. When his party needed him he showed zero leadership and schemed for his own career. In the midst of the coalition kerfuffle I got an email from him saying that "in this time of crisis I need your support..." Yesterday I got another email titled "Winning the Leadership the Right Way" - implying that he'd already won.

I have not seen one single media interview in which he has impressed. He is pompous, pedantic and boring. I have a huge vocabulary and yet when I saw him on CTV recently I had to look up a word in the dictionary. Imagine what people who haven't had seven years of post-secondary education are going to make of him. He has been no better on the floor of the House.

Forget the fact that I'm a Rae supporter. I'm no longer sure that Rae can win. He can't seem to overcome Liberal hatred of the NDP. All the crap about baggage from his time as premier of Ontario is just that - crap. The heart of the matter is that Liberal insiders cannot accept an NDP premier leading their party. Rae has already failed to overcome that prejudice in one leadership race and the two years since. His charisma, political skill and leadership ability are all apparently lost on Liberal insiders, and it seems there is nothing he can do about it. If he had more time he might be able to attract enough NDP voters to the Liberal party to sway a vote, but that opportunity seems to have passed.

So that leaves Ignatieff. But what Ignatieff needs to do is show me that he is ready to be PM. With less than three years in Canada out of the last 33, and with less than three years of political experience, he needs to do something to prove he can lead the party.

If Ignatieff is anointed without proving himself, which is apparently what he is angling for, he will not have my support. The fact that he's trying for that shows how inexperienced he is. We need a leader who can lead. We need a winner. We do not need "Dion: The Sequel." But that's what we're heading towards.



Eugene Forsey Liberal said...

The more one watches Iggy, the less one likes him. I'll be reposting something about that soon. Keep an eye out.

Anonymous said...

As a Liberal I've learned two things from all this.
1) We need to lose the next election, with the Conservatives winning a majority. What our party is attempting to force upon us proves that renewal is necessary in every nook and cranny of our party and it will not happen unless we are out of power for at least four years.
2) Ignatieff can always be counted on to say or do stupid things.

Anonymous said...

Lets see now. Someone goes up to a bunch of MP's and says would you vote for me so I can become the leader even though I wasn't voted in as leader. So instead of going to the grassroots people of the party he skips that stage and gets the MP's to support him
. . . and the grassroots people be damned.

Now, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah. The coalition.

Chrystal Ocean said...

That Iggy hasn't spoken out in favour of the LPC grassroots pretty much says it all. In his view, he doesn't need them.

He's right too, in terms of attaining the LPC leadership. But he's wrong if he thinks he can win an election without them. Don't have feet on the ground to connect with voters? Then you're not gonna get the votes.

As much as I hate to agree with anything the National Post writes, here they're bang on:

"If the Liberals could find a worse alternative to the leadership of St├ęphane Dion - who now has declared that he will leave the scene 'as soon as my successor is duly chosen' - it would be to choose a replacement undemocratically. Yet that appears to be what they are set to do with the expected coronation of Michael Ignatieff as early as Wednesday by the Liberal caucus without so much as a leadership vote among party members, or even any formal consultation until after the fact."

Some leader Iggy is turning out to be and he hasn't even been crowned yet.

Anonymous said...

View from the Outside (and I mean that. Not a Liberal and don't care who wins the leadership).

Rae may be the person who will hold truest to Liberal values (Trudea era Liberal values), but he will never appeal to the centr e right. In fact, Rae will leave that centre right wide open for Harper's taking and to the real possibility of a Conservative majority after Conservative majority for. Rae would amount to three parties scrapping it out for the centre left votes.

Ignatieff may take the Liberals too far right of centre for many Liberal's comfort, but IF he performs well, he would take that centre right from Harper Conservatives and at the very least block Conservative majorities, if not win a Liberal minority.

So, really Liberals need to decide if they want to WIN or if they want to stick to traditional values. I don't imagine it's a very easy choice.

A Eliz. said...

For the life of me, all the intellect Ignatieff has, ... why does he not use it.Perhaps if he got thousands of nasty emails telling him how we feel about what he is trying to do, it might do some good.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me how Rae supporters can reconcile their assertion that a coalition government imposed upon Canada by a majority of 308 MPs is totally legitimate, but selecting the Liberal Party leader by a vote of 77 MPs (and 58 unelected senators) is totally unfair and undemocratic?

Seriously, I'm dying to know.

Yappa said...

Hi view from the Outside -

Very interesting comment. I have trouble agreeing, but only because I see Ignatieff as a Conservative and Rae as a Liberal. Liberals did not support the war in Iraq, but Harper and Ignatieff did. Rae, on the other hand, seems pretty mainstream Liberal to me. He was always a fish out of water in the NDP.

Still, I see your point. Thanks.

Yappa said...

Anonymous 11:03 -

Sure, I can explain that. It seems you missed Civics in high school and haven't ever bothered to learn the rules of democracy since.

In October of this year, we had an election. The voters gave the majority of seats to the opposition parties. The Conservative government won the most seats, but not a majority. Therefore, by the rules of our system of parliamentary democracy, they could only stay in power as long as they have the confidence of the opposition parties. Are you with me so far?

But when Harper had his finance minister deliver his economic update, he went so far over the line on several issues that the opposition parties could not support him. That means that when the economic update went to a vote in the House, they were going to have to vote against it, which is called a "no confidence vote." That means that the Harper government would fall. The opposition had two options: either let an election be called or try to form a coaliton. Since it had only been seven weeks since the last election, they opted to form a coalition.

This has all been explained many times in the newspapers and on TV. The Harper government is engaged in a very vigorous and expensive PR campaign to convince Canadians that the coalition is undemocratic, but the Conservative government is lying.

On the other hand, the Liberal party has very clear rules on how to choose a leader. Having the caucus choose a leader is not in the rules. When an interim leader is chosen, it is never one of the leadership contenders because that gives undue advantage to that candidate.

Anonymous said...

II think people when they see Rae and the NDP together, why in hell is saying he is a Liberal if he is helping the,coalition, and it looks bad, reminds me more when he was premier of Ontario.

Noam G. said...

"Liberals did not support the war in Iraq, but Harper and Ignatieff did." (Yappa at 11:11)

Yappa, you are effectively saying that anyone who supported the Iraq war is not a Liberal.

I wholeheartedly disagree with this implication. There are and cannot be "Liberal litmus tests".

The reason for the success of the Liberal Party throughout its history is that it has successfully straddled the centre.

As a result, you will find Liberals on both sides of every major issue of the the last generation - free trade, abortion, capital punishment, the GST, Meech Lake, Charlottetown, Iraq, Afghanistan, the first Gulf War, price/wage controls, the NEP, etc ad infinitum.

These people are all Liberals, even if they disagree, sometimes loudly.

Ignatieff is a Liberal. Rae is also a Liberal. The best definition of a Liberal may be someone who chooses to join this Party because they believe it is the best political vehicle for making Canada a better place, even though they may not agree on the best route or perhaps even the exact destination. Anyone who chooses to join this Party is a Liberal, regardless of how out of step they may be with other Liberals on particular issues.

That's the way it has to be in a big tent party. Let's leave the ideological purity tests to the Conservatives and the NDP, please.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Liberal party member, but I donate money to the party each year.

As an NB'er, I think that Dominic LeBlanc did the right thing today. I watched his press conference on TV and was impressed by how well he spoke, and also by the fact that he allowed numerous questions from the press. He put his political career on hold for the good of the party and the country. He is young and so will have another chance at the leadership.

I think that what everyone has to keep in mind is that HARPER is the enemy--so who can best win against him. (Harper would love nothing better than to see a little in-fighting here. Sigh!) I like Rae. He is very personable and a great guy, but we have already gone down that route. Dominic is correct in saying that we need a LEADER, and we need him NOW. Face it, Ignatieff has the best chance of winning an election over Harper; and that has to be the number one priority.

Anonymous said...

If Rae somehow seizes the leadership, I'm seriously abandoning the Liberals.

I won't go to the Cons, I'll turn into a political nomad.

Yes, go ahead...pick two losers in a row. You really think Rae is electable? I just can't wait till you find out in the next election. Seriously, the Liberal base needs to get a clue.

Right now, I'm not sure if Iggy is the right thing, but I KNOW that Rae is the wrong thing.

penlan said...

LeBlanc should have stayed in the race. The more I read & hear about him & hear him on T.V. the more I like him. At least he would have been an alternative to Rae & MI.

Yappa said...

Hi Noam G:

You are exactly right. I shouldn't have said that Ignatieff isn't a Liberal as I too see the Liberal party as a big tent. Also, my complaint about Ignatieff being out of step with the party doesn't extend beyond his stand on Iraq, and he has modified that view.