Friday, October 06, 2006

Ranking my top four

Now that we're past super weekend, with the exception of a slew of ridings in British Columbia, a bunch of others across the country still unreported, and the little matter of a recount of every ballot in Quebec, for many people thoughts are turning to second choice picks.

Particularly for those supporting one of the lower-tier candidates still in the race but without a realistic chance of winning, but also those supporting one of the top four candidates, in the event their favoured candidate doesn't make it to the final ballot.

Here's my personal ranking of the four candidates that can win, and some of the positives and negatives I see for each. Keep in mind this isn't my predicted order of finish, this is my order of preference, or how I would vote were it a preferential ballot. I've tried to be fair and honest, and a bit pragmatic, in both the positives and the negatives for each.

There has been some movement over the course of the campaign, and there may be more movement to come (in the bottom three only, of course.) But at the moment, for me it's:

1. Stephane Dion

Positives: Recognized for honesty, policy breadth, intellect and intelligence, demonstrated passion on the campaign trail, untainted by scandal but able to run on the positives of our governing legacy, good potential to unify the LPC as a consensus candidate.

Negatives: Quebec leader fatigue, fighting misconceptions about his English ability and popularity in Quebec, will get tagged unfairly with much Chretien/Martin baggage.

2. Gerard Kennedy

Positives: A young and energetic new face that has generated excitement with youth, strong governing experience at the provincial level, strong social liberal credentials, good potential to unify the LPC as a consensus candidate.

Negatives: Not at an acceptable level of bilingualism, lack of national/international policy experience.

3. Michael Ignatieff

Positives: Engaging speaker, strong international policy experience, well-read smart intellectual, within Liberal mainstream on most issues, a new exciting face, will help build centre-right support, tells you what he thinks, would build centre-right support.

Negatives: Lack of experience on domestic issues, wide body of academic writings and past positions can easily be unfairly taken out of context in an election campaign, inexperienced as a politician (he tells you what he thinks), lack of past Canadian presence makes it easier for opponents to negatively define him, would bleed centre-left support.

4. Bob Rae

Positives: Engaging speaker and dynamic campaigner, very politically savvy, great deal of domestic and international policy experience, very smart, has governing experience, would build centre-left support.

Negatives: Was a very unpopular NDP Premier of Ontario, would bleed centre-right support.

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Matt said...

Well said. I agree with your rankings completely.

CuriosityCat said...

You missed a critical element, the ability to fight and beat Harper in what will be one of the most fiercely fought campaigns in Canadian history.

The necon new Tories have been girding up, running in depth studies (remember the "leaked" CPC letter?) of the Liberal candidates. They did this to start preparing for battle. Every word uttered, every deed done, every unflattering photograph, every negative thing said, will be run past focus groups and measured.... and a strategy based on the Republicans, will be arrived at. Harper's gurus, such as Frank Luntz, will be asked to advise again.

Then the barrage will be unleashed. The ability to take a punch and stay on your feet, then counterpunch with full measure, will be a sine qua non for any Liberal leader.

Bob Rae can take such a punch. Can Ignatieff? He was badly rattled in the last debate, and those were Liberals throwing soft little punches at him.

Anonymous said...

people talk about policy experience, and yea, sure, thats important.

But what about management experience?

Toronto Tory said...

Curiosity is right. You guys should pick Bob Rae.

Jeremy Kirouac said...

BCer. Interesting that you think people will "unfairly take Ignatieff's writings out of context".

This basically falls in line with their supporters who say that critics just don't understand what the man was really talking about. Perhaps their just not bright enought? Or perhaps it's just a ploy to silence his critics. My bet would be it's the latter.

Professors from UBC, Trent Universit, the London School of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and more have come out against Ignatieff and for good reason. You think perhaps these people just didn't understand the man and his complexities? Perhaps the same could be said of his Harvard buddy Alan Dershowitz? Perhaps Norman Finkelstein just didn't understand him either when he did that classic interview on the Democracy now show with Amy Goodman.
See here:

Look, I know you're just trying to be "fair". But with all due respect, being fair doesn't necessarily mean giving a say to crackpot theories.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Cat, while taking a punch is another factor certaintly (I think Bob and Stephane are probably the top debaters of the quartet) I think all the factors I listed play into the overall theme of electability.

Anon, management experience is important. I think, with the cabinet he eneded up with as premier, Rae would second that. On that front, Dion, Rae and Kennedy all have exerience managing departments/a government. I'm not sure of Ignatieff's management experience, to be honest.

TT, I'm sure Bob appreciates your support.

Jeremy, I haven't done an exhaustive reading of Ignatieff's vulumnious writings. I have examined some examples myself, and been satisfied that, while I may not agree with him on all policy issues, he's not the devil or anything. I did say "unfrairly" in the post, but whether you feel it's unfair or fair, the general point I think remains the same: his academic writings will be an easy club for our opponents to beat us over the club with in an election campaign, providing soundbites galore.

Orchard said...

Well, I do hope thaat you look a little more into his writings and what his critics have to say about them.

You'll find lots of information over at my blog:

Just look on the right side of the screen for "Ignatieff".

BTW, I saw Dion on CTV news last night commenting about the Tories Green Plan. I almost kissed the screen. I love him to death.

Olaf said...


(Dion is) recognized for (his)... intellect and intelligence,

With respect, I think you're being too modest when it comes to Dion's mental capacity. He's not merely recognized for his intellect AND intelligence, he's also recognized for his astuteness, braininess, ingeniousness, and brightness. Oh yea, I almost forgot, he's also smart.

Don't sell your preferred candidate short!

A BCer in Toronto said...

Well you know me Olaf, I'm all about the soft sell. Also, I'd left my thesaurus at home.

Steve V said...

Nice breakdown Jeff.

CuriosityCat said...

Ignatieff's writings are unexploded mines in a minefield full of them.

There are sixty days left before the convention. You can count on at least a handful of these mines going off with dull thuds and awful consequences for the Ignatieff campaign.

There just is not much in common between Ignatieff's views on several important issues and the mainstream of Liberal Party members and voters.

So far, his supporters have been asking for blank-cheque votes, with many of them not even knowing what their candidate stands for.

Even Harper looks "liberal" on some issues, compared to Ignatieff.

The Cat advises Bloggers to dip into Ignatieff's published views....