A Call to Arms.
In recent weeks, it has been no secret that I was in favour of defending our Leader, Stephane Dion to remain as our leader. I took a trip to Stornoway to express my thoughts to the leader. Many of you were there in spirit. Some of you appeared in person and played some road hockey with us. Some of you even donated to the leader's leadership debt. To all of you, I say thank you.
It was clear by the following day that Mr. Dion was not going to try and defend. What then? What of the team we had assembled to defend? Where would we go, and who would we support. Weeks of agonizing decisions ensued.
Many of you were (and still are) looking for a viable third option to the Iggy/Rae sequel. Manley, McKenna, Cauchon, McGuinty dropped off like flies hit by Raid. GK deliberated for a while and decided he could be more effective staying out. A wise choice in my humble opinion.
So we are stuck with the dogs that hunt. Michael Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Dominic Leblanc. Knowing this, where to? How do we get there from here?
For me, I had to try and put myself into the Conservative war room in a hypothetical scenario of Mr. X vs. Mr. Harper. I had to determine who was less likely to be framed by the Conservatives in a negative way and who would be strong enough to defend himself in the event that he is. In order to do this, I had to rip the candidates apart and analyze all of the negatives that could be exploited by the Conservatives.
It was a painstaking task made even more difficult by the fact that I consider myself a friend of two of the three men on personal levels and outside of politics. By friend, perhaps I mean access to. The added pressure of many friends moving to this camp or that camp made the task even more daunting. Men and women I have great respect for heading this way and that, here and there. Raucus debates sometimes ensued and some friendships have even been strained.
I watched as top Dionista and master of leadership 2006, Mark Marissen, walked to Team Ignatieff along with master bloggers Warren Kinsella and Jason Cherniak. Friends all.
I looked on as Gerard Kennedy's youth such as Jason Easton and Janice Nicholson took a stroll over to Dominic Leblanc's camp and breathed life and energy into it.
I've seen members of Team Dryden split to Leblanc and Bob Rae's camp.
I observed the mad rush of caucus members scurrying to the frontrunner's camp. No surprises really. Numbers of them never really stopped campaigning after leadership 2006.
What did all this movement mean? How the heck is this renewal? If it is renewal, which, if any, of my friends is right? Throw in the fact that I did an online poll whereby 53% of the respondents said "NONE OF THE ABOVE". Whack! What a headache!
In addition, I had to look at someone that could raise money (hint: if you already raised millions & paid off your debts you had the inside track), renew the Liberal family, increase membership and support of one member, one vote in so doing and, most of all, be a respected leader in this country and throughout the world so as to bring Canada back to its rightful place on the world stage. In other words, I wasn't looking for a wordsmith. I was looking for a statesman.
In the end, I've come to the conclusion that I will choose to support for leader the man I feel I can defend best against the Conservative attack ads and has more upside than the other contenders. A man that I think only - albeit a huge one - has one major political fault.
I laugh when I hear and read people offering up their candidate as "The Next Prime Minister". People! We need to select a leader FIRST. Then we can talk about an election. Then we can talk about a future Prime Minister.
In that spirit, we need a seasoned, battle ready, proven winner with experience in LEADING to fight Stephen Harper, who IS now a seasoned, battle ready, proven winner with experience in LEADING. Now is not the time for more experimentation of unknown unknowns and wild cards. It's the time for a serious, experienced supervisor in the giant sandbox.
ONLY ONE LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE FITS THAT BILL.
His name is BOB RAE, and I will be supporting him to the best of my ability.
I am urging my fellow Dionistas and my fellow Liberals to follow me in this decision.