Tuesday, December 09, 2008

MI Leader


Well, that was certainly less than ideal - especially when you look at the beautiful exercise in democracy the Democratic primaries turned into earlier this year. Sure, the Obama-Clinton duel featured controversy, vicious attacks, and hurt feelings, but it also featured real debate, a clash of ideas, and a thorough vetting of the candidates. More importantly, those primaries brought thousands of people into the fold, rejuvenating the party in the process. The candidates showcased themselves, the membership voted based on what they saw, and the party emerged stronger because of it.

I suspect that even Ignatieff supporters are feeling somewhat unsatisfied at this resolution. But I don't want to be a downer here - it could have been a lot worse. Rae could have easily gone negative against Ignatieff and the establishment, turning the next month into a bloody internal battle of the likes unseen since...well, pick one of a thousand bloody internal Liberal battles. Instead, Rae put his party ahead of his own self-interest and the man deserves all the praise in the world for that. Ever since Bob took out an LPC membership, there have been doubts about his motivations and his commitment to the party - no one can doubt him now. I'm not a Rae supporter by any means but after listening to his very gracious words of support for Ignatieff, I took out my credit card and made a $50 donation to help erase his leadership debt.

So what now? Well, the philosopher king, Michael Ignatieff, inherits the mantle of Liberal leadership. I've always felt that Ignatieff had the potential for greatness. The man is brilliant, is a commanding speaker, and has inspired many. I believe he has grown exponentially as a politician since entering the political arena just three years ago, and he has surrounded himself with some of the brightest minds in the Liberal Party. He would make a great Prime Minister.

But I said "would" rather than "will" for a reason. Liberals need to recognize that the days of the Liberal leadership being a direct path to 24 Sussex are gone. Despite Dion's failings, the problems with this party run deeper than leadership and there's a lot of work to be done. I've written about what I think should be done, and after an aborted leadership race that has left many feeling alienated, it will be even more challenging to improve party fundraising, engage the membership, and figure out what this party stands for. While preparing for the next election is important, I hope that Ignatieff makes the long term health of the party an immediate priority of his.

So congratulations once again to Michael Ignatieff. The Liberal Party faces many challenges and I will do whatever I can to help him meet them.

Labels:

34 Comments:

  • The Liberal Party faces many challenges and I will do whatever I can to help him meet them.

    Me too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 AM  

  • I, as a strong and enthusiastic Ignatieff supporter am just as uncomfortable with this process as you sound Dan. That said though, I do think that this was the only result that could happen. The parliamentary - and electoral - situation is such that the party MUST have a permanent leader.

    By Blogger Albertosaurus, at 12:42 AM  

  • This is an opportunity to send people to a convention who care about party reform and renewal, and policy.

    Take that opportunity.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 2:54 AM  

  • What I've noticed here is that the statesman is the guy that loses.

    Good luck.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 3:43 AM  

  • “ I'm not a Rae supporter by any means but after listening to his very gracious words of support for Ignatieff, I took out my credit card and made a $50 donation”

    Actually, I think that Bob was being pragmatic. He was saving time and money.

    Moreover, his heart wasn't really in the chase. Nonetheless, I think that Bob will be a valuable asset. He still gets a thrill from being back in the saddle. Let's Get Harper!

    Bob demonstrated that he is a gentleman and team player. Like CG, I will make a donation.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:38 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Devo, at 9:18 AM  

  • I don't know if I can be as gracious about this as you.

    I will still vote Liberal because we are the best party to govern. But I will be cancelling my victory fund subscription. If the national executive does't let me vote, then they will not earn my donation.

    By Anonymous Life Long Liberal, at 9:38 AM  

  • But I will be cancelling my victory fund subscription. If the national executive does't let me vote, then they will not earn my donation.

    Rae did a disservice by promoting a process of one person, one vote to determine the leader. If this decision had occurred at the May convention there still wouldn't have been one person, one vote.

    The delegate system will be gone at the next opportunity as will there be changes to the process when a situation like this occurs.

    And the party will need the funds to have the technology in place to have one person, one vote.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:51 AM  

  • The Liberals need to spend the next two years having "name" Liberals spend time across the country fund-raising in ridings. They will likely instead rush to have an election so the little people can annoint the new great leader. Which may not work out so well.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 10:55 AM  

  • Brightest minds in the Liberal Party?? That does not seem to ring true to reality Dan....and I think you know that..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:59 AM  

  • How could the "brightest minds" in the party have concocted such a stupid idea as having caucus appoint the leader, alienating 20-30% of the party in the process.

    By Anonymous A Different Anon, at 11:10 AM  

  • I hesitate to post anything. Things have been happening so fast lately that I could look like a fool by the time I press "Publish" (like yesterday).
    In any case, I was a Rae supporter and I have never been a big fan of Iggy. But I think what's happening this week is the best course of action in the circumstances and is in the best traditions of the Liberal Party.
    The bigger issue is the economy, and right now the Liberals need to concentrate on developing a Liberal budget to get Canada through these difficult times. Liberals must be ready to show leadership on the economy and that means putting forward a rational plan in keeping with our values.
    Where it goes from there is impossible to say at this point. It could lead to a coalition government if the a majority of Parliament supports it (call that a coalition if you want), it could mean a compromise budget with the Conservatives respecting Liberal principles, or it could mean fighting an election.
    Whatever happens, Liberals have to be ready to articulate where they think the country should go next. Thank goodness we have some time to work on that instead of squabbling over the leadership.

    By Blogger Loogan, at 11:10 AM  

  • "Rae did a disservice by promoting a process of one person, one vote to determine the leader. If this decision had occurred at the May convention there still wouldn't have been one person, one vote."

    Right, it was Rae's fault for wanting an actual race as opposed to an anointment... how silly of all of us who supported him! We'll be sure to get out of the way next time and just get on the frontrunner train so as not to offend anybody...

    The reality is simple: Ignatieff did the party a huge disservice for shoving democratic principles under the rug in favour of his own short-term self-interest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:15 AM  

  • Hi CG

    Well said

    It occurs to me;
    that,
    You can't always get what you want
    And if you try sometime you find
    You get what you need.

    that,
    the 2006 (preferred, "perfect")leader selection process produced a less than desirable result(thanks Gerard), this less than perfect process has produced a perfect result.

    that,
    Bob Rae is a true gentleman and will be asset to the Party for years.

    that,
    I will increase my donation to the victory fund

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:23 AM  

  • Let's not pre-judge how "perfect" this result is until we see the next election.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised with a Tory majority.

    By Anonymous Deb, at 11:46 AM  

  • Reminds me of PMPM ascencion

    By Blogger art, at 11:56 AM  

  • Great post. I agree 100%. There is a bigger issue facing the party in January. I may have concerns about Iggy's philosophy and background, but I'm not concerned about his competency or ability to lead the opposition and eventually a future government.

    He will become Prime Minister I believe.

    From here on out it is up to active party members and influencers (like bloggers) to insure that the direction he takes in opposition and government is one that incorporates our ideas.

    The fight is over. Time to unify. Michael Ignatieff is my leader and has my complete support.

    By Anonymous Rob C, at 11:57 AM  

  • Liberals are spinning Rae's actions as 'gracious' but I don't see it that way.

    Rae was forced out after being out-manouvered by Ignatieff. Rae said himself "I can count." He didn't have the votes to win in a vote of the Liberal elites, so he saved himself the trouble and expense.

    What the Liberals have gotten is an unelected, untested leader, who seems poised to tear up an agreement he signed a week ago and keep Stephen Harper in power.

    It seems to me that this term of government is shaping up to be pretty similar to the last term, with the Liberals allowing Harper to govern as if he's got a majority. The only difference being that this time, the Liberal elites went to the trouble of calling off democracy in order to make sure Harper gets his wish.

    By Anonymous Albertan, at 12:07 PM  

  • If Iggy would have been PM a couple of years ago Canada would have joined the US in the Iraq foolishness.

    I understand that he realizes that this was a terrible error in judgment but it is a failure in judgment that Canada can not afford.

    With Iggy at the helm the Liberals won't get any support from me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 PM  

  • Right, it was Rae's fault for wanting an actual race as opposed to an anointment... how silly of all of us who supported him!

    Yes, we all would have preferred to have an actual race with a vote representing the membership. Under the current rules that vote would have been by a delegate system and not one person, one vote.

    If there had been one person, one vote then there would have been an outcry over that because what good is having a constitution if you don't follow it. And so continues the squabbling.

    Life is not fair. We have to get over it and get on with it. If we don't then the LPC will continue to be spun and perceived as a joke that Canadians will not see as a credible and viable alternative.

    I'm not of fan of Rae or Ignatieff. I am for pursuing the bigger picture and getting on with the business at hand.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:02 PM  

  • What is the bigger picture at hand? Caving in to Harper again? I thought we were through with that.

    By Anonymous Albertan, at 1:19 PM  

  • Why was Rae the bigger person for stepping out? Why weren't people asking for Ignatieff to step aside? He didn't support the coalition, he didn't support Dion, he spent over a year building his support behind the scenes and he's rewarded with an uncontested race by getting people to push Rae aside.

    I wasn't a Rae supporter. I wasn't an Ignatieff supporter.

    I wonder how many of Iggy's people will now stop providing the press with "Dion is an ineffective leader". The silence that will now meet the media is not people suddenly believing in party unity, it's the Iggy people finally getting the leader they wanted. And Dion isn't petty enough to continue with the strife.

    Is it too late for someone to enter the leadership race? I say the "grassroots" find someone to run for party leader so this isn't a joke of a party.

    You want party unity, get people that believe in liberal values, regardless of background or pedigree. You want party unity, have a party united behind ideas.

    We had that in a leader in Dion but we left him for the wolves to devour. And devour he was.

    I'm still pissed at his treatment. And how quickly that's being swept under the rug.

    If the executive and the 70+ MP's want a leader that they like, they can fund the party.

    This party is fast becoming a joke and I don't care if I'm now giving the Cons some ammunition. Heaven knows this whole process will reap what it sowed.

    By Blogger Tania, at 1:42 PM  

  • What is the bigger picture at hand? Caving in to Harper again? I thought we were through with that.

    Well actually, I thought the bigger really didn't involve Harper and focused on where Canada was going both short and long term.

    He already took his ball and went home so I decided to buy a number of balls so everyone can play. Anyone up for a game or two?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:12 PM  

  • Yes, you bought all the balls in town so that if anyone wanted to play, they had to go to you.

    balls for everyone! how generous.

    he who controls the balls controls the game! Let me guess, to play a ball game with you, it has to be by your rules, right?

    No thanks. I don't want to play with your balls no matter how much you beg.

    By Anonymous Ball Monopoly Buster, at 2:42 PM  

  • "buy a number of balls so everyone can play"?

    Sickso.

    what number of balls did you buy exactly? did you actually buy enough balls for everyone? or just the people who want to play ball?

    are you, now that you've bought the balls, going to force me to play? or can I choose to stick with my skipping rope and chalk?

    Is Canada a nation of forced ball players now?

    By Anonymous Freedom of Choice in Game Equipment, at 2:47 PM  

  • Don't be fooled by Harper taking his ball home.

    That mean SOB has something planned. He never just quits, he always has a sucker punch somewhere for you.

    Keep alert, Liberals!! Don't get distracted by promises of balls for everyone!

    By Anonymous Sucker me Once..., at 2:50 PM  

  • A few questions...

    What good is having a consitution if you're not going to follow it?

    Does that inspire Canadians and show them that you ar ready to lead the country when you throw the rule book in the trash?

    If Mr Ignatieff becomes Prime Minister through the coalition, then not only would he have become Liberal leader without a democratic vote, he would become leader of the country without anyone voting for it as well.

    Should Canadians welcome this?

    Isn't there a name for it, when you take over a country and no one voted for it? Assume supreme power and all that.

    Perhaps his first order for the day could be renaming our country to Bananada and foregoing any future elections because they just get in the way anyhow....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:25 PM  

  • Which part of the constitution is not being followed?

    By Blogger WJM, at 5:04 PM  

  • I will miss Dion. He would have been a great leader. Perhaps he'll come back to run again in 3 years once the Liberals are back on their feet and can at last stand behind the party leader. I hope so.

    By Blogger Martin, at 10:10 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Bo Green, at 10:46 PM  

  • Sometimes, I really wonder if the LPC deserves you.

    By Blogger Bo Green, at 12:04 AM  

  • "He didn't support the coalition, he didn't support Dion, he spent over a year building his support behind the scenes and he's rewarded with an uncontested race by getting people to push Rae aside."

    This is why all these stories are, to be honest, absolutely hilarious. The entire reason Dion was castigated as "weak" was because of the perception of division in the party. The perception of division was due to the incessant leaks by (what appeared to be) Ignatieff factionalist elites who didn't want to accept the 2006 rejection of their man by the--quickly fading--Liberal grassroots. Of course the party will look stronger! The whisper campaign won!

    Now they've exploited a progressive deal they don't support, and will almost certainly rip up, to get around said grassroots. They used the argument of expediency and the promise of power (to be later ignored) to push both Leblanc and Rae out, install their guy in power, and de facto cancel the leadership race.

    It's a deft bit of political maneuvering, I'll give it that. But it's doesn't smell very good, and it's the opposite of what the Liberals seemed to need.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 10:28 AM  

  • The picture is great!

    "Hey, Bob, pull my finger!"

    By Blogger Möbius, at 8:10 PM  

  • Well summarised, Demosthenes.

    By Blogger Eugene Forsey Liberal, at 5:36 PM  

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