Thursday, November 13, 2008

And They're Off...Again

Today’s Michael Ignatieff campaign launch – not to be confused with his initial launch…or his more formal future launch, went off fairly smoothly. The only real newsworthy tid-bit from it was MI's promise to hold a "thinker's conference" within a hundred days of winning the leadership. You can read about it here, or check out his very impressive campaign website here.

The media, no doubt having learned their lesson from 2006 when they declared the race a battle of the roommates, appear to have declared it…a battle of the roommates! But they’re not happy about being forced to declare it a two man race, as the Globe explains in today’s editorial:

Whatever his merits as a potential leader, Mr. Kennedy is one of his party's stronger advocates of a “308” strategy in which the Liberals would aim to compete in every riding – a variation of the “50-state” model successfully adopted by the U.S. Democrats. While many Liberals scoff at the notion of competing in much of rural Canada, let alone Alberta, other candidates would do well to consider this strategy now that Mr. Kennedy is out of the running – and not just because of its fundraising advantages.

Abandoning whole sections of the country where support does not come easily to them will eventually lead even the Liberals' core supporters to question what sort of a party they are voting for.

So what about the third contender? Well, Dominic LeBlanc lays out his reasons for running in La Presse and Macleans:

For the second time in less than three years, the Liberal Party is about to select a new leader on the heels of an electoral defeat. At this very early stage in that process of change, there are two facts that Liberals must confront.

First, the Liberal Party is in very real danger of suffering further erosion in the connection it has so long enjoyed with so many Canadians. We must act urgently to re-energize our party, our perspective and renew the credibility of our claim to lead this country in time to win the next election.

Second, that challenge can best be met with a generational change in our leadership. With the kind of revitalization that comes about when a party springs itself forward with a younger, more energized leader.

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  • Ignatieff was in favour of a carbon tax, has been pro-torture and was in favour of the Iraq war. All three views have been questioned and the response is that Ignatieff has changed his view. Won't his opponents point out that it would be better to go with someone who gets it right the first time?

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 9:55 p.m.  

  • Apparently Cauchon has decided not to run, and his people are saying privately that the Vancouver convention is stacked in favour of the front-runners. Coderre isn`t running either, so there will be no Quebec candidates.

    The only undeclared candidate left is Ruby Dhalla. I`ve seen her speak on TV a few times and she comes off as a total lightweight. If she`s smart, she`ll decline to run and spare herself serious embarrassment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 p.m.  

  • Calgary Grit, I hope you never, ever stoop to white-washing your leader's view on torture (if he is elected leader of the Liberals).

    Remember, once you write something on the internet, it will always be there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 p.m.  

  • There are A LOT of things I disagree with Ignatieff on.

    However, from the moment he ran for office, I've defended him on the torture issue because I really do believe the quotes are being taken completely out of context.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:57 a.m.  

  • Dan is always striving for fairness and honesty; he's not the kind of guy who whitewashes or free passes party leaders.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:58 a.m.  

  • If Ignatieff supporters think he is an outstanding Leader, I guess they won't mind if candidates not running this time, set up a Leadership organization behind Iggy's back, you know, just like Iggy did. This seems to be the standard to aspire to now in the Liberal Party.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:23 a.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger burlivespipe, at 3:56 a.m.  

  • Hey TTF, set up what ever you want. I'd even be inclined to meet you for a free breakfast - i'll take an egg mcmuffin and o/j...
    I'm not currently backing anyone, but there's no one in this race that I wouldn't be comfortable supporting.
    And the misinformation on ignatieff's views on torture really should just confirm your CON trollness, but maybe it's just a misunderstanding?

    By Blogger burlivespipe, at 3:57 a.m.  

  • However, from the moment he ran for office, I've defended him on the torture issue because I really do believe the quotes are being taken completely out of context.

    CG, he said that he thought torture worked (and was, thus, theoretically justifiable—-if not by him) because "the argument that torture and coercion do not work is contradicted by the dire frequency with which both practices occur."

    Inside or outside context, that is ridiculous. He might as well be defending homeopathy or astrology.

    In any case, I'm looking forward to the "throw-progressives-under-the-"bus tour. Because when progressives win a big mandate in America and a big chunk of your base decides they're happy voting for the Greens or NDP, the sensible thing to do is skew right.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 4:34 a.m.  

  • Amazing - this whole torture BS is still roaming around. He DOES NOT support torture - get it?

    Read the whole context of what he wrote.

    I just hate this nonsense - people believe what they're told to believe and stick with it.

    The Iraq war - ya, he did support it, but he explained why and admitted he was wrong. Harper supported it and he's PM. Get over it.

    If people want to play that game there sure is a lot of dirt out there about Rae. I don't know about LeBlanc, but I'm sure the CPC will find something. They must be getting their attack package for him ready as we speak.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:08 a.m.  

  • Just because Ignatieff supporters have experience rehearsing answers to his gaffes from the past, does not make these gaffes okay. It is an incredibly naive stance.
    So what is their answer now to explain why Ignatieff organized for this leadership behind Dion's back?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 a.m.  

  • If Ignatieff likes torture so much, you'd think he'd have been much happier with Dion as leader.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 a.m.  

  • anonymous: The context is, if anything, more damning.

    OUT of context, he can take the line at the end of his 2006 piece that he opposes torture and use it as a bludgeon against his detractors.

    IN context, though, you've got a guy who plays the Republican game of hairsplitting between "coercive interrogation" and "torture", and bringing up a "ticking time bomb scenario" that has, unfortunately, never actually occured. (And which is as conceptually incoherent now as it ever was.)

    Face it. Within context, the piece that defines his "rejection" of torture was a defense of torture. It was an article that asked "if there is a significant cost to an outright ban on coercive interrogation and torture, what can possibly justify it?" It was a full-scale attack on "human rights advocates" as unrealistic ideologues that just featured Ignatieff putting himself in the role of "torture opponent" so as to heighten the argument.

    Within context, he denied the very foundation of individual rights by saying "I do not see any trumping argument on behalf of the rights and dignity of security detainees that makes their claims prevail over the security interests (and human right to life) of the majority", and made it clear that the only reason he thinks a torture ban is even legitimate is because "democracies limit the powers that governments can justly exercise...and that these limits include [torture and coercive interrogation]".

    And then, within context, he further drove the knife in by saying "those of us who believe this had better admit that many of our fellow citizens are bound to disagree...[we] should be honest enough to admit that we may have to pay a price for our own convictions." As if torture does not also carry a price. As if there's no moral case against torture.

    That's the context. And when Obama is busily shutting down Gitmo, the Liberals will have to contend with a leader whose pronouncements on torture helped justify the existence of that misbegotten place in the first place.

    I can only wonder at the delight within the NDP and Green camps as they contemplate what's coming their way.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 12:37 p.m.  

  • One other thing: I do think he can come out from under this. But he has to make a clear commitment to progressives, he has to finally and fairly acknowledge the criticisms of people like Steve Crenshaw and Conor Gearty on his torture apologias, and he has to cease the barely veiled attacks attacks on those who, unlike himself, never bought into the game of "preventive war"...when he's apologizing for getting it wrong in the first place!

    (And let's be honest. It was pretty goofy.)

    People can change. But they have to prove it, and prove it by doing more than lining up political fixers and throwing up enough rhetorical chaff to throw the critics off. He hasn't yet. And until he does, a coronation is the last thing the Liberals need.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 2:04 p.m.  

  • I think you'll see a lot of people running as undeclared delegates this time around. The buzz is out there already.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:42 p.m.  

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