Sunday, November 26, 2006

Your Sunday reading assignment

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, and what better way to rest then reading though lots of news stories about the Liberal leadership race?

And on a side note, went to see Bobby yesterday. It was pretty good. Not spectacular, but pretty good. I wonder if wannabe Democratic presidential candidates feel the need to compare themselves to Jack and Bobby?

Anyway, on to the news:

*Gerard Kennedy: For my Gerard Kennedy supporting friends that bemoan his supposed lack of media coverage, here’s an article that’s just on him. OK, it’s just a brief profile from Sun Media, but hey, it’s something. I link it though to highlight this passage:

Kennedy has met and spoken with all three of the other top-tier candidates in the race recently, but concedes that any meeting of the minds, so to speak, is most likely with Dion.

“I suppose you could say that if there were any understandings, it might happen there,” he said.

*Dion positions himself as potential kingmaker: I’d quibble with the headline but I know reporters don’t write headlines so I won’t hold it against the author of this interesting, and balanced, profile of Dion in the Montreal Gazette. Here’s an interesting passage:

But Dion's national campaign chairman, Don Boudria, said unlike Ignatieff, Dion arrives at the convention largely unblemished. Dion himself says it's good to be perennially underestimated.

"Exactly how many candidates look better today than three months ago?" Boudria asked. "There are not many in that group."

He said the people who are saying today he can't win Quebec are the same ones who were saying a few months ago that Dion would not get any delegates.

"We have gone from rags to riches, not in money but politically," Boudria said. "The guy has grown and grown by saying, in his Cartesian way, what he thinks about everything."

*Dion sees ‘English’ issue as asset: An interesting spin to put on it, to be sure. But I can see some sense to it. Because with all this spin from the other camps about how bad his English is, when people actually hear him they soon learn it’s not nearly as bad as they’ve been led to believe. Apparently he’s also working with a tutor to improve even further. Funny line here about the tutor:

"In debates, my professor told me, 'When you are agitating yourself too much, you speak too fast, and too high.' To the contrary, she told me, `Speak slow and low' not as much as (candidate) Ken Dryden, but try."

*Who to pick in Liberal race: The Star’s Haroon Siddiqui sizes-up the Liberal field and sees Dion as the best choice, followed by Rae. He likes Kennedy too, but seems to feel he might need a little more seasoning. And Iggy? After summing up why he doesn’t like him, making a few slightly unfair points I think (Haroon is a staunch leftie) he stingingly concludes: “One cannot think of a worse candidate for the Liberal leadership.” Ouch.

Dion is Captain Canada. As the author of the Clarity Act, he showed conviction and courage amid much abuse in his home province. Canadians owe him a deep gratitude for tethering the separatists to the rule of law, Canadian law. It is said that he is not popular in Quebec. Nor was Pierre Elliott Trudeau, at times.

It is said that Dion lacks charisma. So does Harper. And his English is better than the Prime Minister's French.

Once they get past their first-vote commitment to particular candidates, delegates to the Liberal convention should vote for Dion, and if he falls off the ballot, to switch to Rae, one of the most articulate politicians of our age, in either language.

*Sun endorses Dion: Yes, I know, they of the 250 reasons not to vote Liberal, the newspaper chain that makes a mockery of all the right wing whining about a supposedly Liberal media. But as Jason points out, when you’ve got the left (see Siddiqui above), the centre (the Globe yesterday) and now the right gives you the thumbs-up, you must be doing something right. Besides, the Sun sure are pithy writers.

On Iggy

Ignatieff is one of those academics who's "brilliant," but not smart. Plus, he only says what he thinks the audience wants to hear.

On Rae

Rae is the left's Joe Clark. When he has to make a big decision, he makes the wrong one. And usually, it's expensive.

On Kennedy

Gerard Kennedy was a good education minister for Dalton McGuinty in Ontario, if you believe in throwing money at problems to fix them. But with no federal experience and no seat in Parliament, we don't think he's ready. Maybe next time.

On Dion

Which brings us to Stephane Dion, our choice for leader because he was willing to fight for Canadian unity when it counted, despite the fact most of his academic peers in Quebec were separatists, who made his life hell. That took courage. While we think he's out to lunch in his support of the pie-in-the-sky Kyoto accord, we also think he's smart enough and tough enough to be a leader.

*Brison delegates weigh options: Interesting piece from the Halifax Chronicle Herald looking at where Brison and Dryden candidates from Atlantic Canada are likely to go when their candidates drop off. The short version: probably Rae and Dion, but very, very, very few to Ignatieff.

Kirk Cox, Ken Dryden’s Nova Scotia organizer, says it doesn’t look good for Mr. Ignatieff.

"I think the majority will go with Rae or Dion," he says. "I don’t hear a lot of them going to Ignatieff."

Mr. Rae has called Mr. Cox four times looking for his support. He regularly talks to Dryden delegates across the country, and they don’t want Mr. Ignatieff to win.

"I’ve yet to talk to one who will take their vote to him," he said


Off the record, several Liberals said Mr. Ignatieff may even have trouble holding all his Nova Scotia delegates after the first or second ballots.

"I’m hearing that a lot of people who signed up for Ignatieff are now second-guessing whether they should have signed up for him or not," said one Liberal who is considering Mr. Rae and Mr. Ignatieff. "He’s very intelligent but he doesn’t seem to be very politically savvy, and that worries people. That’s not what I’m saying. That’s what I’m hearing."

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Anonymous said...

Dion is out for me. I cannot give him my vote. He gave in to Harper and Ignatieff on the Nation motion.

Kelly Murdock said...

Interesting article on Scott's NS support, although I don't think those patterns necessarily hold in the other provinces. We shall have to see.

I'm absolutely positive though that Mr. Ignatieff will not be getting any of Scott's BC support whatsoever . ;)

Olaf said...

Are we going to get graded on this reading assignment? Because that might be a problem.

I swear I read them all, and composed a brief synopsis on each of the articles... but my computer totally crashed on me and I lost all of my work... plus I have like 3 funerals to go to this week (my grandparents all died simultaneously, which is weird but true, I swear) so if I could get an extension until after the new year that would be totally awesome.

Anonymous said...

Well, we won't know til we know. I guess the next few days will be all the candidate supporters pulling out articles in favour of their candidate.

Better than trashing and bashing.

Whoever wins is OK with me with the exception of Bob Rae - if he does the Green Party is looking good.

Jeff said...

Kelly, I was a bit surprised to hear so many of Scott's delegates in the Atlantic provinces were leaning Rae, given Scott comes from the conservative wing and Bob, well, we all know where he came from. Maybe it's electability trumping philosophy.

Sounds like you've had a rough weekend Olaf, you're excused. Just as long as they don't all die again next week.

Anon 254, truth be told I was just too lazy this weekend to write some thoughtful, insightful post. And it was a pretty good weekend for my guy, media-wise, I'd have to say.

Kelly Murdock said...

Jeff, a lot of Scott's atlantic delegate are supporting him because he's, well, him. I'm sure there were a fair number who overlooked ideological differences with Scott to begin with to support him because of his other attributes; its not as far fetched as one might think. And yes, i'm sure electability is playing into it somewhat, when Mr. Ignatieff can't seem to stop causing controversy, a fair number of delegates from all sides are finding that to be a concern.

Anonymous said...

Things seem to be moving so quickly recently.

With all the endorsements from newspapers (Montreal Gazette, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, the Sun... National Post?) and all the recent endorsements from ex-officio delegates, it's hard to keep up.

It seems the wind is at Dion's back and I truly look forward to a Dion government.

Olaf said...


Thanks a ton... you won't regret this, I'll make it up to you ten fold.

ainge lotusland said...

i resent the dismissal of anti-ignatieff opinion on "oh well hes a lefty" grounds.

lefties tend to be idealistic. ignatieff is a pragmatist to a perverse degree. he is a sophist and a panderer. this is the main issue people take with him, and the quote youve selected backs this up.

Anonymous said...

I believe many people are underestimating just how much Ignatieff's share of delegates will shrink on the second ballot. A classic case of buyer's remorse...

I guesstimate his share will drop to less than 15%, with his supporters moving to others of the Big Three. Ignatieff might well not be on the third ballot.

ottlib said...

If Mr. Ignatieff was in real danger of losing all of that support we would have heard of that by now.

Some enterprising journalist or blogger would have got wind of that and reported it all over the place.

The Ignatieff delegates I have spoken to in my neck of the woods are still committed to their guy so I would not write him off just yet.