Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Liberals turn Lemons into Lemon Juice

There was one really great commentary on the Government's attempt to end subsidies for political parties. It was like throwing a grenade in the opposition's underwear. They had to react.

Confronted with a live grenade their are two options. One is to run for safety or throwing the grenade out of harms way. The other is to try to toss the grenade back at your attacker before it explodes in your face. Dion decided to make one last ditch effort to become Prime Minister. The grenade exploded with the Liberal party taking considerable collateral damage.

The coalition forces were so weak that it could not be held together until January, the next opportunity to defeat the government. Dion could no longer hang on to the party leadership until his replacement is chosen in May. He would need to be replaced before the next confidence vote. The Liberal leader needs to be able to lead the party wherever the political landscape takes them. Dion is cannot even hold down that job.

Bob Rae took the approach that the coalition was an absolute necessity. He was to begin campaigning this week to support the coalition forming the government January. He wanted to defeat the government on the budget irrelevant of the contents. This blind partisanship approach to politics is harmful to his party and the country in general. He also showed his true colours by showing such enthusiasm for a Liberal/NDP government. Perhaps he had plans down the road to formally merge the parties to unite the left.

Michael Ignatieff played his cards right. He was reluctant to support the coalition and emerged as a centre choice versus the left leaning Rae. He was willing to read the budget before making a decision if he should support it. This was a breath of fresh air. Dion would announce his opposition to the budget before reading it. He would then sit out most of his caucus to allow the budget and other legislation a free pass. Anyone who thought there were positive aspects in the budget would be thrown out of caucus. It was clear that Ignatieff had overwhelming support to become party leader.

The Liberal party now has some technical issues to deal with. The party leader must be elected. They need to finalize who is going to be eligible to vote for the party leader. In recent days Rae has campaigned for a system where every card carrying member gets one vote. The current system has delegates vote where senior party members have as much say as a delegate representing hundreds or thousands of people. Either way there will be only one candidate to vote for. Communists countries have been holding free and fair elections for single parties or candidates for decades.

The good news is once the dust clears the Liberals will be able to set sail in a new direction. Ignatieff may still steer his party straight into a rock. At least he can shed the baggage the Dion was so quick to acquire.

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