While I was Out of Town #12
So the Liberal party has adopted Michael Ignatieff as its leader.
This happened because Bob Rae, for the good of the party (or possibly seeing the prospect of becoming leader as being akin to fighting for the Captain's hat on the Titannic) threw himself under the bus leaving Ignatieff unchallenged and sparing the party the agony of deciding whose votes to count (since they couldn't hold a caucus in time).
This instantly made Bob Rae the most grownup Liberal leadership candidate, and strongly suggests that he should have been awarded the post.
Me, I feel that (expression stolen from [goes and checks] ... Pearce Richards' comment at thae link) "being offered a choice of Rae or Ignatieff is like being offered a choice of being kicked in the right or left testicle. Both, however, are preferable to having one's nuts cut off by Harper."
Ignatieff comes with a boatload of baggage. He supported the Iraq war, has publicly defended torture, and spent most of his professional life in the US. Oh, and when the coalition began to coalesce, Ignatieff sent word through messengers saying, in essence, "I'm not with stupid."
Which essentially means, as far as I can tell, that the Liberals have found the Stephen Harper lite they seem to have been looking for.
I guess the party feels it may have to rush rightward, though I have no idea why. Most Canadians clearly feel that the Conservatives don't have any good ideas. This could possibly just send the Liberals off the ice for their earned season in the penalty box.
The party is already centrist--even right-leaning--as they come just as it stands, and I don't want my choices to be simply "Neo-conservative" (Conservative Party), "Socialist" (New Democratic Party and no, that's not a swear word--purely descriptive and no bad thing necessarily), "Conservative" (Liberal party), and "Green to Exclusion".
I wonder if the Bloc Quebecois will put up a candidate in my riding?
However, I seem to be in a slight minority. Polls tend to support Harper through this latest crisis. At which I can only conclude that my fellow citizens a) aren't paying attention, b) don't understand their own political and social system, or c) actually support neo-conservatism.
I'm betting on b) with a side of a). Although there is an increasing "I'm-alright-Jackism" that lends itself to neo-con talking points. But really I think the problem is the poll questions. I feel Canadians would support anyone who had a plan for the economy right now. And Harper doesn't--but the coalition lost its economic focus in those heady days when it seemed like they just might manage to wrest the wheel from Harpers clammy hands.
Ignatieff has scored half a point in my estimation, by saying he'd "talk to Harper". I mean, I still think the smartest thing Harper can do would be invite the Liberals into a power-sharing government (And I'm certain that it'd work every bit as well as it's worked for Mugabe, for the same reasons). Since I think the actual "conversation" will consist of Harper telling Ignatieff what to do (I mean, why would anyone think he's learned a lesson now?) I'm still betting on an election in early 2009.
But there are two other disturbing possibilities:
1) The two men may find a great deal in common: Harper also supports both the Iraq war and torture, for example.
In that event, cover your sex organs, because the country's about to get raped like a 14-year-old girl in a Mormon compound. Ignatieff will posture in opposition, Harper will continue to govern as though he had the support of the nation, and when the wreckage comes to rest Ignatieff will wind up Prime Minister of the remains of the country, which will by then look like a smaller, meaner, probably broke-er, US.
2) Harper manages a sufficiently conciliatory tone (I know, I know, but maybe his handlers could fit him with one of those attack dog shock training collars, and dental work might enable him to smile without bits of baby falling from between his teeth), and persuade Iggy that a new era of prosperity and co-operation awaits two men of the world who understand each other.
In which case Iggy will almost certainly go down as the Chamberlin of Canada, yielding important ground to an ideologue whose viewpoint precludes one's very existence.
In any case, I still want my Oppostion parties to oppose.