Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A big clue on John Manley's leadership aspirations

This "Globe Round Table" podcast discussion, chaired by Edward Greenspon and published today, features among its panelists, John Manley. If you have a listen, I don't see how you come to the conclusion that Manley will be anteing up in the Liberal leadership. He speaks of there being obvious front runners, how anyone else coming in is clearly behind in the ground game, of the money required to run a "first-class" campaign being in the neighbourhood of $2 million. At $1100 limits per individual, he wonders about the effort needed to then properly fund such a campaign. He spoke about transparency being more important than the monetary limit.

The latter half of the podcast focusses on the issue of the dumbing down of politics and the media's role in facilitating it, if any. It was satisfying to hear Manley take Greenspon to task by criticizing the proliferation of anonymous sources, describing their use now as "pandemic." Manley also speaks of the "snapshot discussions" that are featured in politics now, as opposed to "thoughtful discussions," a dynamic fostered by the electronic media. He cites this as a worry for democracies, that it's quite difficult to get the public's attention on difficult issues. He makes comments about faulty education, a lack of history being taught in high schools, kids coming out of universities without proper economic understanding. All of which he says suggests a less informed and less educated electorate to which newspapers are catering. I may be a little crude in my characterization of that last point, but if you listen to the podcast, it's pretty close.

All of which suggests to me that it is either Manley drastically lowering expectations for his possible run or that it is what it is. A description of the obstacles he sees that will lead to the likely decision that he's not in. He just doesn't sound like a candidate if you give it a listen.