Can we view the provincial Liberals failure to have a leadership race as anything than an utter throwing in the of the towel for the next provincial election? I don't think there is any other way to look at it.
Yes, there have been plenty of articles recently, mostly focusing on the federal Liberals, explaining the hardships of being in politics, and especially being a leader of a political party. Ed has already written well about the high costs. But that's never stopped people from doing it before. I refuse to believe that suddenly a bunch of provincial politicians are aware of the risks and damages to family relations that a political career can have.
Nope, this was a bunch of people in the Liberal caucus scoping out the landscape and quickly realizing several things:
1. Unless video arises showing Danny Williams wearing dark robes and chanting "Hail, my Dark Lord" before an alter with a baby placed on top of it, he's going to win the next provincial election.
2. Barring a small miracle, the Liberals will actually lose seats in 2007. They might find themselves with seat numbers that will rival the NDP.
3. Nobody sitting in caucus, and indeed few in the province, wants to be the guy (or girl) leading the party into the teeth of that particular storm. Or be the person held accountable when it happens.
4. In fact, most of the caucus want to stay in their own district in the hopes they can hold onto it, as oppose to travelling around the province in the doomed quest to try and pick up seats.
Now, I admit, when you stake out those odds, maybe the smart thing to do is to duck and cover. To be the one not leading the charge and let someone else take the hit. But sometimes you've got to do the stupid, gutsy thing. To lead the charge when you know the hail of bullets is coming. And for Jim Bennett to be the only one in the Liberal party to have those guts, well, that's kind of a sad commentary on the state of the Liberal party in Newfoundland and Labrador.
I understand why Paul Antle and Siobahn Coady didn't want to do it. They've just been through a grinder of a federal election campaign. But for the rest of the provincial caucus? Cowards.
Government's work best when there is a strong opposition and I want the Liberals and NDP to do well and pick up a few seats. But I can't help but feel that in the next provincial election, the Liberals are going to get what's coming to them. They deserve it, in some ways.
Change that bold red in the Liberal logo, b'ys. I think yellow might be more appropriate in this case.
Underdogs - Matthew Good Band