I’m spending the day watching the CBC live coverage of the Liberal leadership convention. What a nail-biter!
I am not and never have been a Liberal. I’ve never voted Liberal. I’ve always voted NDP. But as the country’s natural ruling party, I feel a particular stake in the Liberal game. I’ve never actively disliked the Liberals, at least, not often. I don’t find them morally objectionable. They’re just not left-leaning enough for my taste, so I side with the NDP.
But still. I want the Liberals to choose a leader I like, because that person will be our next Prime Minister, I’m fairly sure, and I’d prefer to like that person rather than feel a little sick at the sight of him (because it will definitely be a him at this point, thanks for trying, Martha Hall Findlay). I want to feel some affection for the Liberal leader, even though I’m unlikely to vote for his party.
Unless they pick Bob Rae. I will vote Liberal for the first time in my life if they pick him. Hell, I’ll become a card carrying member.
But that’s not looking all that likely at the moment. The second ballot gave us three final candidates (Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae, and Stephane Dion). At the moment I’m assuming it’s going to go to Stephane Dion, which I can absolutely live with. I would sleep well with Stephane Dion as Prime Minister.
I will not sleep well with Michael Ignatieff as leader, but at least I know I won’t break my NDP voting track record if they choose him. If consistency is a blessing. Michael Ignatieff scares me. And not because he’s smart. He’s no smarter than the rest of them. Bob Rae is a Rhodes Scholar, Stephane Dion has a PhD in Sociology. As a Harvard graduate, I’m not uniquely impressed that Michael Ignatieff is a Harvard professor. What I see is a guy who’s been living outside the country for most of his adult life, and deigns to drop back in and try to run the place. He’s never done anything like this before. He has and will continue to make public mistakes that will cost us (Quebecois as a nation, anyone?). I’m just not delighted about that prospect. Yes he’s smart, I’m sure he’s a great guy, but I don’t want him running my country. I’m hoping that, after the third ballot, if Bob comes in third, he throws his lot in with Stephane.
But boy is it exciting to watch! Lots of cheering, backroom meetings happening on the convention floor, people dropping out of the race and picking sides, dramatically walking across the floor to the new camp, greeted ceremoniously, all that. Very exciting. And we have Peter and Rex doing the commentary! (Rex Murphy: also a Rhodes scholar.) I couldn’t ask for better!
Once again, I’m just saying: if Bob wins, I buy a Liberal party membership. If not, it’s back to the NDP I go.