Ignatieff? For Real?

    8 December 2008, terribly early in the morning

Ignatieff is apparently going to take over as head of the Liberal party some time this week, if not today. I can tell you that picking Ignatieff as leader isn’t going to steal any votes from the Left, though it may pull some old school Progressive Conservatives from the Right. Ignatieff creeps me out, which is why I think the Right may like him — they seem to enjoy creepy-ass leaders. If he does get the leadership nod, I think this highlights a big problem with the Liberal party: it’s run with back room deals by the party old-school. At least, it certainly seems that way, and has since Paul Martin and Chretien started fighting. Dion won the last race fair and square, but it was clear to most everyone that he wasn’t the person the party actually wanted to lead: and they have provided him with little to no support. I dislike the Liberal party for a lot of reasons, and that would be one of them.

If Ignatieff does end up leader, I suspect the coalition between the NDP and the Liberals isn’t going to last. The Liberals, with a leader firmly in place, will be in a much better position to handle an election. They may feel confident they can reclaim leadership of the House of Commons. The Conservatives have burnt plenty of bridges these past couple weeks and have also probably pissed off some chunk of their core supporters. I think they will be hard pressed to keep any seats they have won in Quebec; you can’t win an election in Canada without winning a good chunk of Quebec. The Conservatives are still the best funded party right now, but for all their money, they just don’t appeal to enough people. Canada isn’t America: trying to copy the Republicans is a doomed strategy. This country is very much a Liberal country. For the past few years the Liberals have been on a timeout while people wait to see if they can get it together.

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Comments

  1. Yeah, while Harper’s “separatist” fearmongering seems to have worked in English Canada, it really destroyed his chances in Quebec.

    The drama continues!

  2. And so it begins: Dion steps down.

    The Conservatives can probably dream of winning another minority, but a majority at this point is probably never going to happen. I think our system is set up so that if you try and shit on Quebec, you aren’t going to get too far. Our parliamentary system actually seems like a really well thought out in this respect: it makes sure Quebec can’t be marginalized. As I said in the post though, I think the Liberals can probably take back a lot of seats in the house if they put some effort into it.

  3. I definitely think they can, under Ignatieff (not that I like him, my initial impressions of him are not good). Who seems like the likely candidate now. It will be interesting to see how he is sold, and attacked, by the libs and conservatives. But by distancing himself from the coalition, he’s put himself in a reasonable position to do well in Ontario and Quebec.

  4. Do you think Rae has a realistic chance of becoming the leader of the Liberals though?

  5. No not at all. He apparently has more support than Ignatieff of Liberal senators, but MPs are backing Ignatieff. Rae also is supposed to have more grass roots support, whatever that means. If Ignatieff takes over now, I think it’ll be hard to unseat him later. I really don’t like the dude. He hasn’t lived in Canada for like 30 years, and then shows up to head the Liberal party?

  6. He comes off as aloof and a bit detached, not nearly as personable or plain-spoken as Rae, but creepy? I don’t get that vibe from him.

    I don’t think Rae has a chance, but Ignatieff isn’t so bad. He’s been sitting in the House for over two years now and he isn’t an ideologue.

  7. Harper is aloof and detached.

    I don’t think that a lack of residency is necessarily going to put Ignatieff at a disadvantage. Harper has lived in Canada long enough, and that hasn’t helped him with connecting with Canadians at all.

  8. it’s all about electability. do you seriously think rae has a hope in hell of winning an election? don’t the libs need to GAIN seats in ontario?

    ignatieff was out of the country because he was teaching at frickin’ cambridge, oxford, and harvard, for chrissakes. i fail to see why that should be interpreted as a weakness.

    plus, my wife has a major crush on him.

  9. I just think Ignatieff probably would have kept hanging out in the US had some senior Liberal bureaucrat not told him he’d get to be head of the party. He’s this totally parachuted in leader. He’d be a big step up from Harper, but then, who wouldn’t? So I don’t think the fact he hasn’t lived here is a big detriment, more the nature of his return. He’s clearly the person the Liberal higher-ups have wanted running the party since 2004. (He has a blog!)

    Anyway, I vote NDP, and neither Libearal candidate really appeals to me. But to be clear, I think Ignatieff is way more likely to win an election than Rae. I think Rae is disliked by many people in Ontario. (Why most of Harper’s cabinet is not disliked in the same way is something I don’t understand.) They’re both smart guys, so I think the Liberals will do fine with either, but only one of them has been on the cover of GQ.

  10. Iggy wins by default. (Default! The two sweetest words in the English language. De-fault! De-fault! De-fault!)

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