The end was near before the infamous three strike tape made it to air. I'm not saying the tape did not hurt, heck I'm a veteran of the NDP in BC and I know first hand what the media can do.
The 98 pound weakling described to Canadians by the Conservatives for a year leading was never addressed by the Liberals in the first place. Dion was humiliated publicly every time he voted for a Harper budget or confidence motion. Dion did not have enough time to change it.
The Liberals showed they were not ready for the fight when it was called, they looked second class with the use of an old plane, that would not be ready for days into the election, which left Dion travelling on greyhound.
The decision to visit only friendly ridings in the first few days also spelled trouble. It was seen as stemming the lose of seats, rather than trying to win them. While Harper was in Quebec and Layton was in Calgary taking the fight to Harper's doorstep, the Liberals were pleading with their own to stay with them.
The Green Shift proved to be an anchor. It kept pulling Dion down. It was too easily ridiculed as a costly tax and too hard to justify. It does not matter that it may have been the best idea, you can't sell it too people if you can't explain it in a few sentences.
Dion spent too much time fighting the NDP. He had to take Layton on because the NDP were making inroads on his support. I am sure the Liberal internal tracking polls told them this. He fell back on telling the NDP supporters they need to support the Liberals to stop Harper. Layton and the NDP just had to point to the 43 votes that the Liberals voted to keep Harper in Government. This election most of the NDP support stayed home though my guess is the Liberals did get some of them.
Where to go from here. Dion has a few serious issues to deal with, I hope he has a small army of folks watching his back. His number one problem is the less than enthusiastic endorsements received last night and this morning from Bob Rae and Iggy. Add to that the election of Justin Trudeau and his leadership favourite, Gerard Kennedy and Dion has a pretty complicated chess board to play with.
The Liberals will need to decide in the next few weeks on keeping Dion or going to a leadership contest in the coming months. My suggestion is that they do it quick or not at all. But do it. Now that would be the kind of leadership Dion didn't show during the election.
Me, I will watch, tear them apart when I can and then work too see Jack Layton and the NDP move a little more to the centre, creeping onto that Liberal grass, and maybe start mowing it ourselves.