It's difficult to keep up with the stories about the Liberal party, it's leader, and the future of both today.
That said, I think what they are musing about and what those cowardly 'senior officials' are whispering in their ears, completely misses the where the party is and what the focus should be. Additionally, I'd like to know what the rush is? This to me is precisely the time when cooler heads should prevail and some conversation should be had as what the options are and how they might play out.
To that end, I can say after having thought about it, I haven't changed my mind since yesterday. I still support Dion and I see no merit in considering a replacement. My reasons take into account both the man and where we are as a party.
Obviously, the problems that the party is experiencing at the moment cannot all be laid at the leaders feet. If there is responsibility to assume that Dion can identify as his own, I am confident he will do so. The problem plaguing the party however is far deeper and broader than one person and they certainly did not begin when he took over the helm. There are many issues that should have been focused on since the last leadership convention, or in some cases, as it was going one, that have been ignored.
Party renewal is almost a generic term I suppose, but it's one that the Liberal party has not taken seriously enough, imo. Every aspect of how the party operates has to be evaluated. From policy, to really developing a strong grassroots network, to parliamentary strategy and election readiness and strategy. Renewal hasn't occurred and until it does and is implemented in a way that has everyone singing from the same song sheet, a new leader will be faced with the same problems. It's time for an overhaul of the back rooms, and to mangle a tired expression, I wouldn't be saving the old furniture, I'd be chucking it to the curb.
To go through a leadership race, in whatever form, would accomplish what exactly? Will it squelch the desires of those who were not chosen, yet again? Will it stop the constant vying and campaigning behind the scenes? Will it help the party rebuild and put together a message that is able to reach all of those in the country who do not share the current government's views? I don't think it will achieve any of that nor all the other things that the party should be addressing at the moment.
What it will achieve though is precisely what Harper set out to do. He more than anyone wants to see the party in disarray. A party that is consumed by leadership woes will be unprepared to deal with the issues of parliament, not to mention the economy at the moment will provide he and his team ample opportunity to push through whatever he wants.
Flanagan has told us Harper's strategy. He wants to destroy the Liberal party. Surely going through another leadership race, in whatever form it might take, is playing right into his hands. The party would be distracted and it certainly wouldn't be filling it's coffers.
We all know the results of this election are not what anyone wanted to see, but is that really all up to Dion? Hasn't he been through just about everything that Harper and the media could throw at him? Do you really think the Conservative party doesn't already have another attack campaign ready for whoever takes over, especially if it's the 2 front runners from the last go around?
Actually, when you think that through logically, Dion came in with no baggage, (except in Quebec) and they still managed to throw everything at him. What do you suppose they'll do to those that would arrive with a steamer trunk full of their past?
I suppose it comes down to what precisely do you expect in a leader? Dion is policy driven, intelligent, sincere, honest and willing to put himself out there for what he believes in. No games, no tricks, no gimmicks. Oh yeah, he's shy, perhaps a bit awkward, not slick and he speaks with an accent. Since when did that disqualify someone from having the right ideas?
Dion was chosen because he was different and I think that is exactly what we require right now. He developed some skills during the campaign that certainly showed up near the end, but he never lost who he was. Standing up to the machine that Harper built, (with the assistance of the able hammer wielders otherwise known as the media), I think would speak volumes, not to mention strength. It would prove the story tellers wrong.
Having the party unite behind this cause and outing those who have been handing the nails to the aforementioned hammer wielders, would go a long way in providing an atmosphere where the real work could be done with enthusiasm and purpose.
When I consider the possible choices for the party and it's future, I still stand behind Dion.