10.15.2011

NDP Leadership Contest

My good friend but alas political adversary over at IMPOLITICAL takes comfort from a column by Don MacPherson in the Montreal Gazette, Quebec's conservative english language newspaper.  Mac it seems thinks that Brian Topp was trying to build up so much support that Tom Mulcair would whine for a while and then decide not to enter the leadership contest..

The funny part is that if you are a Mac, a political reporter and live in Montreal, you know Mulcair rarely if ever shies away from a challenge.  The idea that Topp was trying hard to keep Mulcair out of the race is ludicrous.  Mulcair is passionate and skilled debater.  He was always going to be in this contest and Topp's people knew that.  That's not to say Topp wouldn't have preferred Mulcair's endorsement rather than challenge.

The media and my good Liberal friends would like nothing better than for Mulcair to be impaled on his own sword.  That of course is always possible, though I expect a very disciplined Mulcair in this leadership contest.  The prize in the end could be Prime Minster.  Tom the Bomb as coined by MacPherson, may turn out to be the one that ultimately puts the final nail in the Liberal coffin.

With people like Romeo Saganash, Paul Dewar, Brian Topp, Nathan Cullen and Tom Mulcair, and possibly a couple more candidates, the NDP is putting out some very amazing front line talent, not to forget four people that decided not to run, Charlie Angus, Libby Davies, Megan Leslie and Peter Julian.  The NDP leadership contest is showcasing its bench strength. It matches up very well against the Conservative Cabinet.

7 comments:

Skinny Dipper said...

I do think that all of the candidates have interesting qualities. However, this leadership race being one member-one vote, endorsements by well-known party members will have little effect on me. I will be looking at the candidates' ideas and how well they present and defend them.

Robert McClelland said...

I will be looking at the candidates' ideas and how well they present and defend them.

No, no, no. The media has declared it a two man race between Topp and Mulcair so you must already be backing one of them. You just don't know you are yet.

Rick Barnes said...

Exactly Robert! I am still deciding, harder since my choice has bowed out, Peter Julian from BC.

I expect things to get better once the debates begin, one in each region.

ck said...

Mulcair's long time dream of becoming leader of the NDP--He just never thought he'd have to work for it.

I generally don't have much time for Don MacPherson. The only kind thing I have to say about the man is that is little more sane than L Ian MacDonald.

However, he did bring up an interesting comparison he sees happening here. The Progressive Conservative race between Kim Campbell and Jean Charest in the 90s, where Campbell was the establishment choice. Charest, despite his best efforts and having run a better campaign, Campbell still won.

Establishment choice or backroom choice, you know their choice of leader will get in and the whole rest of the race is nothing more than a dog and pony show.

I see Topp as the Michael Ignatieff for the NDP, with the only difference being, they didn't have to travel to find him and convince him to uproot his life. We all know how well that worked for the Liberals, don't we? Topp doesn't have any more charisma than Iggy did, neither. And he certainly doesn't have that certain je ne sais quoi that Jack Layton did. Although, none of them do.

RM does have a point, the media has now spun this as a two way race between Topp and Mulcair. I will go further to say that Topp will win, because, these establishment candidates, no matter, from what party, always do in the end.

Skinny Dipper said...

Although either Topp or Mulcair could get my second choice, I do have others in mind for my first.

Maybe I should run as a leadership candidate. "King D" would sound nice.

CuriosityCat said...

It strikes me that the battle between Topp and Mulcair is more a battle for the soul of the NDP than simply a contest between two talented and able men to lead a party.

If Mulcair means what he said when he announced his campaign, then he and his supporters want to move the NDP away from a union-centric protest movement towards a party with wider appeal to more voters, so that it can indeed have a chance to become the next government.

Topp does not seem to want to change the party and is content with it as it is.

So we have a battle royal shaping up between the NDP reformers (firmly based among the massive influx of new blood in Quebec MPs), and the status quo old guard.

A lot will be discussed in this campaign, as Mulcair fleshes out his mission. He believes he is trying to take the NDP where Jack Layton wanted to take it. Topp seems to think that Layton was satisfied with the status quo.

If Mulcair wins, the NDP could prove to be a formidable opponent for the Tories and the Liberals come 2015.

Rick Barnes said...

I like them both for different reasons. I'm waiting to hear and see more of Topp. He needs to improve his speaking and look passionate. The debates may show case that.