Yet Another Final Liberal Leadership Debate
So all we really learned today was that Michael Ignatieff’s organizers did a great job packing the room and that the people they packed the room with don’t take very kindly to their man being criticized. So rather than subjecting those who were lucky enough to be doing something fun on Saturday afternoon to a tedious blow by blow recap, here are a few general comments on the frontrunners:
Ignatieff – Came out of this one in better shape than last week, maybe because his opponents were afraid of getting lynched in the parking lot afterwards by the IggyNation if they said anything remotely critical of Michael. The frontrunner didn’t get any fire on Quebec as a nation or on the Middle East so that alone makes it a pretty good day for him.
His most interesting line of the evening was probably “we must choose a new leader who has nothing to do with the errors of the past”.
Rae – Rae’s been good at attacking Ignatieff in these debates but going after him on torture was weak. Like I said back in March, there are lots of things to criticize Ignatieff on, but his position on torture isn’t one of them. At the same time, Ignatieff’s defense that he couldn’t support torture because his mother’s fiancé was killed by torture was just odd. I mean, for starters, if her fiancé hadn’t been killed, there’d be no Michael Ignatieff.
Also loved the Bob Rae common touch when he mentioned in the same speech that he was the Chair of the Royal Conservatory of Music before quoting Moliere.
Kennedy – Gerard’s French seemed fine to me in the parts I listened to online, although I’ll be curious to read the reviews in the local papers. Kennedy was really hitting the party renewal theme which I like and, once again, stayed positive. As much as it pains me to say so, David Herle was right in his commentary – Kennedy should have played up his Afghanistan position a lot more than he did since it certainly would have resonated well with the Quebec delegates.
Dion – It was certainly fair game for Dion to bring up Ignatieff’s former writings in his closing statements but I really do question how well Dion’s “attack everyone” strategy is going to resonate with Liberals who are looking to move past twenty years of infighting. He also should realize that if he says it’s fair to criticize Rae’s economic record and Ignatieff’s academic record, that Dion’s very mixed record as Environment Minister should be fair game as well.
Dion was definitely playing up the “Quebec candidate” aspect in his opening speech and once again vigorously defended the Liberal record.