Yesterday I ridiculed the Newfoundland NDP. Now, it's doesn't take a writer of Hunter S. Thompson's level to make fun of the NDP. They are easily mocked. Sometimes it feels a bit like kicking kittens. Sure it's easy, but should you really being doing it? Isn't a sin to pick on the weak and helpless?
And yet, for all the abundant mocking material with the NDP's convention over the weekend, they did manage to do something that the provincial Liberals haven't managed to do. In fact, something the Liberals have managed to fuck up twice in six months. That being to democratically elect a leader.
Sure the NDP only had 112 votes cast for their leader. Which is about 112 more votes than were cast for Reid to become the next Liberal leader.
Yes, yes...the Liberal executive voted on it. And yes, the caucus supported it. But even the most devoted Liberals have to look at this and go "Sweet honourable Jesus, this is what we've fallen to?" Five years ago the Liberals had a bloodbath for the leadership, such was the ferocity and desire to lead the party.
In 2006, a political nobody in Jim Bennett was acclaimed because no one in the party had the guts to want to lead the party against Danny Williams. And months later when the party began to eat itself and forced Bennett out, they get Reid to lead. The man who could have easily won earlier this year if he had run against Bennett, but he didn't want to. But now he's had a change of heart. Now he feels more comfortable debating Danny Williams. Now friends who were advising him to stay far, far away from the leadership are telling him to go for it.
Sure. Right. I absolutely believe that. Clearly it isn't spin control to make the best out of a desperate situation.
It was interesting to read Simon's take on this. He has a lot of respect for Reid. And he makes good points about what Reid has to do in the short period of time allotted to him. Hell, if he could get away with it I'd recommend purging most of the Liberal caucus because fresh blood is clearly needed.
But there is no way Reid is going to be able to shake the taint of this. A bunch of people sat in a room, begged Reid to change his mind and take a job he clearly didn't, and probably still doesn't want. And when he caved, for the good of the party, they declared him leader. No campaign. No vote.
Yes, the Liberals are broke and can't afford a big leadership campaign. But come on, guys. This is ridiculous.
Oh yes, Reid will be confirmed by party members at the convention next month. Too little, too late I'm afraid. I don't care how good a strategist Reid is, Williams is a pretty damn good one as well. And you have to be pretty naive to think he won't hang this around Reid's neck for the next 17 months.
Election 2007 will take place around Hallowe'en, which appropriate as it's looking increasingly like a horror show.
And say what you will about the NDP, they apparently have a better idea of how that whole democracy thing works than the Liberals.