Saturday, April 25, 2009

Leadership difficulties, past and present

You may have noticed that the Conservatives have hauled out some 2006 interview footage of Justin Trudeau during that Liberal leadership campaign to muckrake about Michael Ignatieff's judgment. Huh. An apparently earth-shattering 2009 discovery that there were different viewpoints expressed on leadership capabilities during the 2006 leadership campaign.

You know...now that they bring it up, seems to me that's something the Conservatives are going to have to start getting a little bit more comfortable with themselves as a result of Mr. Harper's latest act of judgmental hara-kiri, best expressed by Rex Murphy today:
Now, however, this newest masterstroke seems to have worked as when a pebble hits the car windshield. A mere splinter in the glass at first, it has worked its way across the entire pane. We hear of caucus broils. Peter MacKay greets Mr. Mulroney - actually speaks to the man ( quelle horreur). Almost daily in the press we have a report or two, a column or a musing, on whether Mr. Harper is the man to lead them in the next election. Whether he can stand up to Michael Ignatieff. Whether three goes at a majority is all any party head deserves. There is, previously unthinkable, speculation whether he has the command of party and caucus he once had.

The spat with Mr. Mulroney that one would have thought - especially at this late date - to be incidental, the merest sidelight to the (presumably) bigger story of the inquiry itself, seems to have operated as something of a catalyst for lingering resentments and dissatisfaction with both the style and substance of Mr. Harper's leadership. He is neither as secure or as intimidating as once he was. All this, coming as Mr. Ignatieff is surfing on some of the best press he's had since returning to Canada, has made the Conservatives jittery and with cause.

There was a gracelessness, a touch of piling on more than was necessary, to trying to push Mr. Mulroney so utterly from the Conservative circle. Canadians have an ear for "tone" in politics. They mind manners as much as policy. That gracelessness is costing the man his supporters presumably thought they were protecting. It has added to Mr. Harper's negatives, and opened a fracture within his party.
Best to have the open dissent about one's party leader in the past than the present, don't you think?

Well, can't say we blame the Conservative faithful for attacking Mr. Ignatieff. After all, look at this...it's not exactly edge of your seat stuff...