If the idea of coalition really comes to fruition, and that still remains a big IF, then it's imperative to get it right, because the stakes are immense. Any coalition must be credible to the Canadian people and for that reason sober logic trumps emotional response. The following will offend some, alienate others, but extraordinary times call for unconventional consideration.
As a preface, remember that I defended Dion in the election aftermath, and I spent considerable time making my view known to people in the party, for whatever that's worth. I mention that fact, because my opinion now isn't merely knee jerk opportunism from an Ignatieff supporter, I see it as situational necessity. Let's face facts, Mr. Dion has little stature with the Canadian people, given the feeble resistance to his resignation, it is probably less than it was in the election, an election wherein he was unequivocally rejected. If people are really serious about a coalition thriving, as opposed to a temporary diversion that ultimately leads to a Harper majority, then we need to get it right, we need to stop with the crusades, the emotional responses, and approach it with cold logic and pragmatic concession. Mr. Dion as Prime Minister is a death sentence for any coalition, rightly or wrongly, he simply lacks the authority with Canadians to lead through a crisis, that's the bottomline and only wishful thinking suggests otherwise.
I probably shouldn't say this, and Ignatieff's team will cringe at the arrogant assumption, but my gut screams the following. I would argue, and I believe rational people would agree, that Ignatieff is much stronger this time, my own sense and reading of the situation allows for a possible first ballot victory. Speculation, "the race has just begun", yadda, yadda, it's true, but sometimes events trump process, and a crisis demands intellectual elasticity. Listening to Rae, it is obvious he senses the same, his team can see the landscape and know the task is daunting. If rapidly changing events occur, then sometimes you deviate from the script, let's be nimble, let's not make a crucial error. If not Dion, and it shouldn't be, then it's Ignatieff and people can't just slough off the proposition or react with irrational fury. The simple reality, Ignatieff has the majority support in caucus, he also has the institutional support within the party and YES, he enjoys formidable grassroots support, his leadership is based on practical strengths within the party. In this unprecedented circumstance, I will put my trust in my elected officials to act with sober consideration, I expect them to think the situation through, and if it means short circuiting a probable outcome, then get on with and make this coalition as strong as we can.
If you're paying attention, then you've noticed that Ignatieff has performed exceptionally well in the last days, his clarity and strength contagious, embodying everything that leadership demands. What I see, is someone that Canadians could get behind, someone who can give a coalition the credibility it demands, instead of watching Dion awkwardly stumble, because he lacks respect from the conduit- why start with weakness, and if so, how do you expect to succeed? I suspect the Conservatives best hope within a bad situation, the prospect of PM Dion and all that pinata entails. Leave your emotions at the door, it's time for serious and COLD realities.
Mr. Dion doesn't enjoy the confidence of Canadians, Mr. Dion doesn't enjoy the confidence of his caucus and Mr. Dion lacks widespread support with the party rank and file. How these simple facts translate to success escapes me, sounds more a recipe for disaster, that will breath new life into Harper and the Conservatives. We need someone who Canadians can take a chance with, not someone that makes them roll their eyes in doubt. Given the support, there is only one option and that is Ignatieff.
Cue the outrage, but if we are really serious about getting this potential coalition right, as opposed to a temporary exercise in probable failure, it's the best move, by a long shot.