Another announcement, another potential candidate taking a pass, it's starting to look like a small affair for Liberal leader. I guess the question then becomes, is it better to have a few heavyweights, or do the lesser contenders add some color and depth to the campaign? The worry, this leadership race is beginning to look like a simple redo from 2006, which could present an "excitement" gap with Liberals, attracting new support, creating a buzz, a sort of been there, done that flavor. The opposing view, it's better to eliminate the pretenders straight away, so Liberals can get on with the choice at hand, everyone knows it's a Iggy/Rae battle, so let's just move to the second act now.
I admit to being conflicted. You must acknowledge the simple reality here, Ignatieff and Rae have both assembled formidable organizations, that in many respects precludes serious challenge, barring an unseen event. We can't fluff off those organizations, since they are made up of Liberals, so their strength denotes actual support. A small field allows for a focused decision, with realistic options.
On the other hand, things don't always proceed according to script, more options allow for different calculations, should something go awry with the frontrunners. Given what happened last time, it's important to remember that delegates perceived a problem and looked elsewhere. Have the dynamics, or baggage changed?
Having 11 candidates is overkill, but having 3 could be to narrow. You want different voices, representing and expressing a wider perspective. More ideas brought to the table are a positive, and if those ideas find support, then it sends another signal to the eventual winner on where we need to go. Maybe the dialogue suffers without a more diverse group, without certain subsets of the Liberal tent feeling as though they have a voice. But, maybe this isn't the time for idealistic want, let's be practical and just get on with some foregone conclusions.