Monday, September 11, 2006

Do we want to win the next election?

As we Liberals come towards delgate selection, we have to ask one simple question:

DO WE WANT TO WIN?

If the answer is NO - if we, as an aggregate party, feel that it is not time for us to take control again of this country then we have plenty of options for leader:

1. Michael Ignatieff - A brillant man with a strong following from the powers that be. But honestly, will this guy sell? I honestly don't believe so. I have met him personally at a house party - heard him talk about some unity spine stretching across the country, blah blah blah. I'm pursuing a PhD, and honestly would like nothing more than to see an academic in the PM's chair again, but this guy isn't it. He hasn't been in the game long enough - you've gotta get bruised and battered before you can play the politics game.

2. Bob Rae - Once again, a brillant, experienced man who will bring the party back to its progressive roots. But again, when the most populous province remembers what it was like to be ruled by this man - we have to say for pratical purposes that this guy can't become leader. If we want to win, we need 60-70 seats in Ontario at the minimum - will a riding like Ottawa West-Nepean, or Whity-Ajax give this guy a chance? I don't think so. We have to be able to win ridings in the suburbs and rural areas where we lost in 2006.

3. Gerrard Kennedy - A fresh face, policy oriented and good looking, but unknown - if he's elected leader, the party won't have time to get him out there. An election looms in the spring. That gives this federal rookie only four to six months to prepare - if we want to win, Kennedy isn't the choice. If we want to win five years down the road - then he's our man.

4. Brison, Bennett, Fry, Hall-Findlay, and Volpe - These candidates shouldn't be in the race. While I like what Bennett, Hall-Findaly and Brison have to say - practically says they can't win. Fry and Volpe just need to quit - they bring nothing but wasted time to this race.

BUT - if we want to win, then I think the options come down to two of the leadership candidates:

KEN DRYDEN (obviously) and STEPHANE DION

1. Dion - Honestly, I like this guy. He's a political scientist who knows what he's talking about. His focus on a sustainable economy, national unity and Kyoto is exactly what I'm looking to hear. But he's missing two things - the ability to contrast with Harper and the ability to attract crowds.

I've said it over and over, that to win the next election, the Liberals need someone who can stand on the stage with Harper and offer a completely different product. Dion is smart, but his accent is quite strong and I think Canadians will just tune him out.

2. Dryden - And so, we are left with good ole Kenny. Why can we win with Ken? Three simple reasons.

a. He has high name recognition and a strong reputation - People know who Ken is and once they hear him speak and set out his vision, they will see an honest, sincere politician not out there trying to simply win 40% of the vote, but a man who honestly believes that government can do good in this country and that 100% of Canadians can get behind his idea of what Canada can be.

b. He can raise money - The Liberals are desperately falling behind in the money chase. Ken is the only guy who can go into rural Canada and draw large crowds. While they may come out because of his sporting past, they'll stay to hear about his ideas. The key is getting people to listen and Ken is the only candidate who has the gift in this race.

c. He has the right policies - Ken contrasts clearly with Harper's visionor lack there of. His description of a "pinched, small" Conservative ideology is strong and I think it will resonate with Canadians if he is given a stage onto which to shout it out. Imagine what we could do if the people running Iggy's or Rae's campaign were running Ken's. Imagine putting Kinsella's strategic mind behind the image and voice of Dryden.

If we want to win - if we want to stop Harper's closedminded idea of Canada - then we have to select a leader who can lead us there.

Ken Dryden is the one - listen, watch and read - learn about the candidates and imagine them during a campaign. Once you do that, you'll understand that winning this time isn't really an option, it's a necessity and Ken's the candidate to do it.

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