I swear the intent of last night's post was not to get people begging me to stay or to get my ego stroked. I was sitting at the computer trying to think of something to blog when Cathy wondered why I was still doing it since I wasn't posting as much and the passion I had for the blog seems to have ebbed. And since I was sitting at the computer, I figured why not toss that out there and see what happens.
The reaction is gratifying. Thank you all of the reaction. My writing has changed over the years, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. I think it's probably a bit more polished, but I think that burning passion has ebbed away a bit. I'm sure Barb can recall times when I was with the Packet and I was working on one of my "So Anyway..." columns that she could hear the keys on the computer being beaten into submission when I was in a particular mood. I do miss the searing contempt I had for politicians back then and knowing I had the platform and ability to make them bleed if I really wanted to.
It's not there these days, or at least it slumbers. Although oddly the notion of the PC leadership campaign is making something stir. There is nothing in politics that can beat an old fashion, cut them until they bleed to death, leadership battle. The battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 between Obama and Clinton was far more interesting than John McCain's doomed attempt to win the presidency months later.
The bloodbath between John Efford and Roger Grimes for the Liberal leadership in 2001 was epic, far better than the 2003 provincial election.
And now, oh yes, we have the makings of another bloodbath. Now that it appears that the 800 pound gorilla that is Gen. Rick Hillier is likely to stay off stage (if he ran, I'm pretty sure everyone would duck and run for cover) we're going to have ourselves a real knockdown, drag out the likes of which we haven't seen in Newfoundland and Labrador in a decade.
The best thing about leadership battles is that they are much more...Shakespearean. Standard elections are all noise and yelling about left and right and the other person is clearly Satan's representative on Earth. Leadership battles have to walk the line of being passionate all the while trying to find to kill your opponent without destroying your political party. It's about slipping poison into a drink rather than Shock and Awe bombings. It's a fine skill and watching the truly gifted work their craft is always a pleasure.
You can already see the early stages of it happening. Take this CBC story. In and of itself, it's pretty unremarkable. However, in a rarity, the comments section is actually fascinating. One of the candidates being mentioned as a premier-in-waiting is Steve Kent.
For those of you not of Newfoundland and Labrador, Kent is a former boy wonder. Was big into volunteering and Scouting, I think he became the youngest mayor in the province's history and then made the leap into provincial politics where he has, well, done virtually nothing. And let's say his leap from municipal politics into provincial was not done smoothly. It's viewed by many that he's Conservative only because he could ride Williams coattails more easily into victory. If Williams were a Liberal, so would Kent. Actually, that's probably true of 90% of the current PC caucus.
The comments section in the CBC story is particularly vicious, with most people raking Kent over the coals and laughing at the notion that he's ready to be premier. Now, there's one of two options being played out here. Either people are genuinely horrified at the notion of Kent being premier and are venting their spleen or agents of the other candidates are already launching their attacks before the campaign even begins.
I think it's the former. For one, the idea that he's a strong enough candidate to warrant this kind of blitz is silly. Secondly, the notion of Premier Kent at this stage is perfectly horrifying. I wouldn't mind seeing him run just to watch him get the crap kicked out of him (there's always been something about Kent that fundamentally annoyed me and I don't know why). But I guess we'll see what happens after he takes his walk through the Christmas lights of Mount Pearl and makes a decision.
The next few months are going to be epic fun. Just don't think too hard that one of these clowns is going to be in charge at the end of all of it. That ruins the fun.
1. Refugee - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
2. Blue lips - Regina Spektor
3. Silver and gold (live) - U2
4. Love me do - The Beatles
5. Your bright baby blues (live) - Jackson Browne