11 October 2006

The Cat's Challenge: Our Future under Ignatieff or Rae

The Cat has sent out a challenge. I look into my crystal ball and predict the lay of the political land based on the leadership victory of Michael Ignatieff or Bob Rae.

The Assumptions

The only way to take back government is to have some real change that will motivate Liberals to got out and vote, and steal some votes from the other parties at the same time.

No Liberal can out-right Steve, and so the conservative stronghold is safe for one more election come hell or high water.

The Bloc has about 45 safe seats in QC, which leaves relatively little up for grabs, nonetheless a key battleground. Assume Harper scores points by plying them with cash and by making the right noises about devolving power (so sorry that there was no action, potential voters, but I just didn't have the time...).

Once it has a leader, the Liberal party will be spoiling for a fight, and will probably go into the next election either unprepared or having not given enough time for the more obvious failures of the Harper government to become apparent. The folks who supported him last time will either be pleased with his performance or willing to give him more time. We will be in trouble from the starting gate.

The attacks will be easy and obvious. Steve is not pandering to well heeled liberal bloggers who want to ruffle through the subtleties of Iggy's 2001 commentary on invading Iraq (although we can expect two or three good 5 second soundbites to make it national). So, although I'm sorry to disappoint, I will not be musing about past writings and positions of the candidates as if Joe Canadian will be on the floor in Montreal. This election will be won 28 seconds at a time. Stand Up For Canada indeed.

The Predictions

Michael Ignatieff Victory - this is another conservative minority in cruise control. The main things that will be pissing Canadians off about Steve are things like his too-close relationship with the Americans, and not-surprisingly-related hawkishness. Iggy will therefore struggle to make a different voice heard, and in the end will simply fail to inspire those we need to vote to win back the house. Between "I don't care" and "he's no different" and "let him pay his dues first" and "I'd vote NDP before I vote for a warmongerering torturer like him", he will be the candidate to yawn about across the ROC.

His commments on Quebec will do him well there, but balanced against money and devolution of powers will not likely win him no more than a few extra seats. If any. Not nearly enough for a majority, although I suppose the minority could tip in our favour. I just doubt it, because Canadians in general and Quebeckers in particular are sick of the Liberals and need to be inspired out of their sickness or beaten out of it by the chinese water torture of Tory policy.

The attacks are a piece of cake - he's too new, too from away, too academic, too boring to listen to, too concessionist to Quebec (or not enough). Harper will stand on his record (not great, but we won't have had time to get fed up with it) and compared to Iggy's zero direct experience Steve will seem like a tried, tested, and true leader. Watching the CBC will remind you of February.

After his failure to win the government, the party will either dump him or bide their time for three years to see if he grows into the job. Even odds on whether he sticks around to find out.

Bob Rae Victory: This is a surefire way to a tory majority. Every tory - every single one, without exception - believes this, and frankly they can't all be wrong. It doesn't matter how many delegates Bob got in Ontario - members are not the same as voters. Those who liked the old Bob will vote for the real thing (Jack) instead of the new Bob-Lite (a registered trademark of The Power Corporation). Those who hated him will go tory. Those who can't do either will stay away in droves. The same supporters that voted in his delegates will vote for him again, and will constitute about 2% of the total voting age population. DELEGATES ARE NOT VOTERS. I cannot emphasize this enough. He has no strength in Ontario. How many party members voted for him last weekend? How many teachers work in Ontario? QED.

The attacks again are a piece of cake. He's a turncoat, a pinko, and a miserable failure as a premier. You can't fit justifications based on a global downturn into a 28 second spot, so all of you who (like me) thought he did an admirable job in a tough situation can go get stuffed.

After his loss he will be dumped in relatively short order, and people like me will try to build a moat around the 416 to keep the blue at bay for five years.

The Challenge:

Cat, include the other two potential leaders in the top four. What is this, ROB TV?

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