Monday, November 17, 2008

Liberal Leadership Race: The deep ambivalence of a non-partisan blogger

I recognize that political historians are perhaps not a key demographic for the Liberal party of Canada. We pay too much attention to what has happened in the past, and are less likely to forget speeches or comments made two to three years ago. However, I'm also a sometimes-Liberal voter who leans to the left. And so, I feel like I do have some stake in the federal Liberal leadership race. I'm not firmly wedded to the federal NDP - facial hair aside, Jack Layton doesn't really appeal that much to me. I'm looking for a leader who can put forth a vision of federal policies that I can get behind, preferably one without enough baggage to make her/him unelectable.

Here's my dilemma. None of the three leadership candidates come close to that for me. I still see Michael Ignatieff as the candidate who endorsed the Iraq war and was willing to contemplate torture. Domenic Leblanc has done nothing to develop a national profile - and as my MP for two years, he did little to grab my attention at the local level. Bob Rae is by far my preferred candidate on most policy grounds - he seems like the most thoughtful, pragmatic and left-leaning of the three. But he is political kryptonite in Ontario - it's been 15 years since the famed "Rae Days" and I still hear union members and teachers speak his name with venom - and they are his supposed constituency in this province. The man is unelectable as head of the party - particularly if the economy stays in a slump.

If I were a card-carrying Liberal, I'd be beating the bushes for a wild card candidate. Rae and Ignatieff might be the preferred candidates for Liberal party insiders, but I think the party will be in for a tremendous shock when either one faces the electorate. I wonder what Lloyd Axworthy, Glen Murray or Peter Mansbridge are up to these days...

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At 11:49 am, Blogger MilitantLiberal said...

Lloyd Axworthy! I like it. But what makes you think the Liberal insiders would ever let an actual Liberal run for leadership?

At 1:51 pm, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

facial hair aside, Jack Layton doesn't really appeal that much to me

I had no idea you were a moustache guy. *g*

At 2:12 pm, Blogger Matt said...

Hmm... I guess there was a bit of semantic ambiguity there. What I meant was that my feelings about Jack's leadership are actually more complex than my dislike for the stache!

At 6:18 pm, Blogger Skinny Dipper said...

I will agree that when either Iggy or Rae wins the leadership, he will face a serious challenge from Harper and the stache leader.

Iggy is a Harper clone in my view; Rae still has too much baggage as the former NDP premier of Ontario. He has never stated clearly why he wants to be the next Liberal prime minister. Why is he a Liberal? What's wrong with the federal NDP?

At 1:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lloyd Axworthy, the answer is so simple :) How can we get him to run ?


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