With Ignatieff's entrance in the race, the field for the Liberal leadership is pretty much set. I think it's important to say a few things, before Liberals scurry off into various corners, hopefully to re-emerge united after the process.
The most glaringly obvious point, all of the candidates represent a vast improvement over Harper, so it would be wise to move forward with this knowledge in the back of our minds. Fact of the matter, each man is impressive in their own right, each brings attractive attributes to the table, each seem to recognize where the Liberal Party is today, and where it ultimately needs to go to succeed. We should see a frank discussion, that incorporates some new ideas, this isn't a "rehash", the circumstance different, the actors well aware of that reality. Couple a leadership recognition, with a party apparatus offering clear signals that we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and you have a solid recipe for progress. I was worried that the leadership race would be a distraction, but having heard more now, I see the race working in tandem with practical initiatives articulated by the Liberal Party proper.
LeBlanc was a Liberal shining star in the last Parliament, an effective point man on a whole host of issues, quite able in holding the Harper team to account, no matter the question. A definite asset, there's no doubt that LeBlanc will "wear well" as the leadership process proceeds, this isn't an empty suit.
I must say, Rae amazed me in Parliament, the air about him, the grudging respect you could see across the aisle, when he spoke, they generally didn't heckle, they listened. Rae would rise, ask a pointed question, then sit down, looking comfortable, like the wise old sage that's seen it all before. The confidence and charisma that Rae possesses, not to mention the sheer intellectual capacity, makes him completely captivating and compelling. When Rae speaks, we are reminded of what a mediocre man Stephen Harper really is, the true leadership gap striking.
Ignatieff's eloquence isn't just flowered linguistics, the words are such, because the depth demands it. Ignatieff is a national treasure, held in very high esteem around the globe, and every bit of it deserving. A great capacity to inspire, with an eye for bold thinking, that is more unconventional than controversial. Ignatieff has prime ministerial material written all over him, now armed with practical experience, it's a potent brew.
It comes to a race between a few good men, maybe narrow in some regards, but still an impressive slate that effectively guarantees the next leader of the opposition will give Harper a serious run for his money. That's the bottomline, beyond personal preferences aside, all represent a serious upgrade and a nice contrast.
Let the games begin!