Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Channelling Machiavelli

To put it into terms Liberals can understand: Dion is the one who stands the best chance of delivering victory to the Liberal Party, not an election or two from now, not after another five or nine years of Tory rule, but in the one that's going to happen next year.

Look at the other options:

First there's Ignatieff. A good candidate, a man who could certainly lead a country. But his electoral weaknesses are obvious, and easily exploited. He supported the war in Iraq. Granted, so did I, and for the exact same reason as Ignatieff no less. But pragmatically, this is a problem. There are a sizable contingent of Liberal/NDP swing voters, and as we all know, that particular issue is a volatile one for the left. The left-leaning among us generally hate the war, and anything associated with it. Associating the Liberal Party with it is a recipe for electoral disaster. Then there's the secondary issue, that he's been out of Canada for the past twenty-five years. Don't think voters won't take notice of something like that. The fact is, we cede some of our strongest strengths if Ignatieff becomes the leader. It wouldn't guarantee an election loss, but it would make a win harder.

Then there's Rae. What else needs to be said? Rae is a huge risk in Ontario, a place where the Liberals have already lost far too much ground. If the Liberals lose the 905 belt - which could very well happen if Rae leads the party - they will lose the election. Period. Like Ignatieff, Rae's political weaknesses are obvious and easily exploited.

Kennedy's problem is less open to exploitation, but still a problem nonetheless. With 1% of the delegates in Quebec, it should be pretty clear that Kennedy is not a favourite there. And why should he be? Of the four major contenders, his French is by far the weakest. In the election, he would be going up against a very popular favourite son (Gilles Duceppe) and a fluently bilingual sitting prime minister whose party is determined not to lose the ground they've gained in Quebec. Will Kennedy lose seats for the Liberals in Quebec? Maybe. Can he pick up any more seats there? I highly doubt it.

Which brings us back to Dion. Polls have consistently shown that the only candidate who stands a realistic chance of defeating the Bloc in Quebec is Stephane Dion. The Liberal party cannot gain any more ground than they already have this time around in Atlantic Canada or the West. It's about Ontario and Quebec. Ontario would vote for Kennedy, but Quebec wouldn't. Conversely, Quebec could and likely would vote for Dion, and Ontario would not be a problem. Dion may be less well known there, but that doesn't mean he will be less successful. Complaints about his weak English (which is actually judged by professional linguists as fluent) making him vulnerable in Ontario can be directed to a Mr. Jean Chretien.

Moreover, Dion's weaknesses, while existant, are not as immediate or easily exploitable. Granted, he wasn't entirely successful with the environment portfolio. But that is hardly an election-losing weakness. Any talk of perceived anger over the sponsorship scandal being directed at Dion is a myth, supported by no factual data. In fact, polls have shown that Dion is not associated in the Quebec public's mind with that particular scandal.

It seems to me quite obvious who the next leader ought to be. The one who stands the best chance of winning.


At 10/04/2006 5:38 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are dreaming if you think Ontario is going to vote for Dion when he only earned 10% of the Liberal vote there.

What is his excuse? He is well-known in Ontario?

At 10/04/2006 6:31 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dion is a good guy BUT Harper isn't worried at all about him. He's made more than 20 attacks in QP on Ignatieff and one that I know of on Rae.

Also, given the environmental failure under Dion's post as Environmental Minister and given that Dion was part of the former 2 Liberal governments, Harper will carry on with the 13 year corruption issue and the environmental issue. Also, I've seen Dion debating in QP and sorry, but he comes off babbling and Harper would make mincemeat out of him.

Also, Greg Watson (Sun) said he knows for sure that the Conservatives are praying for Rae to be the leader.

A brand new leader without the Liberal past black cloud would take Harper's arguments away.

At 10/04/2006 8:07 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dion isn't from Ontario. Coming 4th in Ontario when all the other candidates are from Ontario is actually quite an accomplishment.

Dion's support is much better spread out across the country than Kennedy's. He is a more national candidate.

At 10/04/2006 11:02 p.m., Blogger Clear Grit said...

anonymous 1:
In a race where six of the eight candidates are from Ontario, Dion managed to come in fourth. That's pretty good, and it's sure better than Kennedy's dismal (as in off the radar) showing in Quebec. Let's face it - the man isn't bilingual. I wish Kennedy supporters would stop brushing that issue off as if it's not important.

At 10/05/2006 12:42 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the delegate composition, Ignatieff looks pretty strong. As a Conservative, I'm most worried about him.

If you pick Rae, thanks in advance for the majority! :)


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