Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Does Harper Have 'em Spooked?

Manley, McKenna, Tobin - all politely decline the prize of the Liberal federal leadership. Add Martin to that list of those passing on the post, since by finishing within 20 seats of Harper I dare say he could have stuck it out for one more election.

Is it the debt? Is it time with the family? Is it the lucrative money to be made in the private sector? Or - mustn't it also be - a sizing up of their opposition and not fancying a fight against the momentum building behind the PM-elect in the near future?

For all the talk on election night of how well the Liberal vision actually fared (given the doomsday forecasts going in) the subsequent reluctance of the major players to have a go at the crown is quite revealing as an appraisal of Harper's potential. For all the talk of how the wide open nature of this leadership race is encouraging and reminiscent of 1968, back then none of the major hopefuls took a pass.

All that said, this is a real opportunity to elect a leader worthy of the country's highest office. Someone who can enter to win based on ideas, character, and conviction - and actually persuade. There will be candidates running on the basis of media hype and superficial pandering - but, refreshingly, this time they don't have the advantage.


Blogger Jason Cherniak said...

Remember that McKenna is the one who let the Liberals down and refused to run in 2004. Tobin is the guy who couldn't hold a job for more than two years by his own choice. Manley, although a contender, never could have won.

Overall, these "heavyweights" only fit the bill in name. I don't think you will see a lot of Liberals outside of Ottawa who are concerned about the lack of candidates.

BTW, I will not be surprised if Allan Rock does not run. I don't know whether I will care.

3:18 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

I think Harper does have them spooked. He's looking more and more impressive every day.

But that doesn't necessarily mean anything for the future. I mean, Martin had the CPC heavyweights spooked in the winter of '04, keeping people like Bernard Lord and Mike Harris out of it, and yet we've seen the political life of the country take a major turn since then.

We haven't seen the last of the Liberals.

8:01 PM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

How did McKenna let the Liberals down? By not challenging incumbents who did not want to give up their seats? I thought that was pretty classy. And though Tobin's opportunistic jump back to federal politics 20 months into his second mandate disgusted me too, he was first elected MP in 1980 and served for 16 years.

The point here is not concern over a lack of candidates - just that those well positioned at the outset are taking a pass. And (maybe McKenna excepted) you know they have long dreamed of being PM.

3:47 PM  

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