In my mind, imperative number one for the Liberal Party is to use the looming leadership contest as an opportunity to present a fresh vision, with a relatively fresh face. The Party desperately needs a leader who can rise above the factionalism that has weakened and distracted. Manley, Tobin and Mckenna all brought a lot of unnecessary baggage that would invariably have opened old wounds. I think the same sentiment holds true for Dion and Cauchon, so I won't shed a tear if they bow out as well.
Is it just a coincidence that all these heavy hitters have taken a pass, or could it be that behind the scenes Liberals understand the stakes and wish to move forward? Maybe the surprising withdrawals are representative of some perceived hesitations about the old guard. Whatever the reasons, the leadership battle is now joined, with no clear frontrunner. A competitive fight, based on power of ideas as opposed to connections, will create a great deal of excitement and proved the re-generation the Liberals so desperately need.
The notion of possibility now comes to the fore. Candidates will work from the ground up, work for support and through this process Canadians outside of the inside will have a greater voice. These withdrawals are a great development for the democratic process. No preordained. No unstoppables. No coronations. These developments represent the first step on a long road to returned respectability. Take care Brain, see you round John, thanks for everything Frank.