Sunday, March 26, 2006

Least Objectionable Key to Liberal Leadership

Yesterday, Ahab's Whale had an interesting entry, arguing why Ken Dryden may emerge as the frontrunner for the Liberal leadership. The jist of the logic centers around Dryden as the consensus "second choice":
As everyone's potential second choice, Dryden will likely position himself in later ballots as the safer of the relative option, given that the other wannabe candidates all seem to be asking the party to take some measure of risk. For a party looking to emerge united from the convention, the argument will no doubt prove appealing.

Today, I read a mainstream story that puppets the Dryden angle:
Indeed, with no runaway frontrunner, victory is more likely to go to the least disliked candidate than to the most loved....

Siegel thinks the process works to the advantage of his preferred candidate, former minister and onetime hockey great Ken Dryden.

With his ponderous speaking style and imperfect French, the earnest Dryden is not every Liberal's first choice. But he's not seen as having been part of the Martin-Chretien civil war that fractured the party and he's given credit for finally delivering, in only 18 months, on a 12-year Liberal promise to create a national child care program.

"He's universally well-regarded, he's got all kinds of attractions and no negatives that would keep people from supporting him," says Siegel.

Amazing, that eight months out there is already speculation on how a second and third ballot will play out. I agree that Dryden is well placed to emerge as a consensus candidate, although I think Kennedy has equal opportunity. People like Stronach, and possibly Rae, are divisive forces that may lack the necessary room to grow at such an open convention. This convention is setting itself up to be a complicated affair, with lots of surprises.

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