With the polls showing the gap narrowing down and the debates coming up, I thought I'd try and see how we got to this situation we never thought we'd find ourselves in and offer a solution as to how we could get out of it.
First of all, the thing to remember is that the big guy has coveted the job for years, since losing his first run for leadership as a fresh MP. However, the popular francophone PM who'd beat him just kept on winning (but don't let those election wins and high poll numbers deceive you: he was definitely past his best before date), causing a rift between the two of them which would eventually force the Minister of Finance's to resign. Nevertheless, when the time finally came to find an heir, he was still the golden boy and coasted to victory. Sure, him and his supporters had pissed off the Chretien wing of the party and there are some divisions but those will heal. I know he could have waited to call the election but this guy is the greatest thing to hit Canadian politics in a long time. So why not throw caution to the wind and call an early vote?
So now he's branded the party in his own image. Gone is the name "liberal", it's all about the leader. Sure, there have been some success in the past but this is a "new new new" government which means the Liberals have had to sever all ties with the past. The new vision has been put forward...and although no one really knows what this new vision is (the guy's always had a tough time making up his mind after all), I'm sure that by the end of the campaign, Canadians will embrace it. OK, the Liberals have been plagued by the same dirty politics he's campaigned against: Sticky nominations, patronage offers...but still, we’ve got leader who is ten times the politician his opponents are and Canadians are going to look past that and vote for him. After all, even though it looks like little has changed, we'll finally get the power out of the PMO which is what Canadians want to see after the last few years.
I mean, how could they not vote for him? The dude's as far right wing as the Conservatives which should get him some red Tory votes. OK - Ed Broadbent's back and the NDP is at record highs in the polls but the Conservatives are still infighting and no one is ever going to vote for them with that guy in power. Look what he did to Joe Clark! Sure, Joe's a bit of a loser but people respect the guy and that entire part of the right is pissed off right now. They'll vote Liberal. Because, after all, the Conservatives don't have Canadian values. Quebequers will come around and vote Liberal because we now have a leader who's not a hard line federalist (that just pisses them off) and the West will vote Liberal because we now have a leader who understands them.
Now, I know things are started to look a little shaky and we’ve dropped a couple points. Yeah, there's even talk of the Liberals losing. But c'mon, the debates are around the corner and the Liberals have the leader who is going to put them back on the right track.
John Turner is going to kick the snot out of Mulroney and the Liberals will coast to an easy election win.
And, if by some miracle, Turner falls flat on his face during the debates and the party needs a new leader, I've got the perfect candidate. He's young, bright, and, like Turner, has the business background. We'll draft Paul Martin Jr., make him our leader and then we'll be sure to win.
-David Herle, Young Team Turner Liberal, July 1984.