Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Supporting Ignatieff


When you sift through the misconceptions about the man, and focus on the views in totality, then any perceived ideological tension evaporates. I consider myself left of center, progressive, but also pragmatic. In the past few days, I've done my homework, reading or re-reading a host of essays, excerpts, speeches, to make sure I was comfortable with supporting Ignatieff, to reconcile any lingering doubts. I'm glad I did, because it really has made my decision an easy one. I am supporting Michael Ignatieff for the Liberal leadership.

I had the opportunity to meet Michael once in 2006, at an intimate forum, that allowed for a one on one conversation. I found Ignatieff completely sincere and passionate, incredibly thoughtful, it was actually fascinating to watch a man who had the rare capacity to morph deep intellectual consideration into clear and concise expression. I was particularly struck by his ideas on the environment, reconciling the sometimes competiting ideas of planet and profit. I found Ignatieff bold, but reflective, and while I didn't waiver from my support of Gerard Kennedy, I left thinking he was a unquestionable asset for the Liberal Party.

Many people can't get beyond certain controversial positions offered by Ignatieff, these issues have led to many unfair accusations and inaccurate readings of political leanings. I was against the Iraq war from the onset, as a matter of fact, I cut my teeth in the blogosphere railing against that war, supporting the most adamant of opposition. That said, there was a certain laziness in certain criticisms, namely lumping any supporter of that war into a neat category, despite the fact that people can come to the same conclusions for vastly different reasons. Unlike the neocons, unlike Harper, Ignatieff had INTIMATE understanding of Iraq, he knew the Kurds and Shia, he worked within the human rights horror that was the Saddam regime. Ignatieff's view started with a consideration of human rights abuse, it wasn't about oil or some misguided militarism, so we can rightly look at his perspective in a different light. Was Ignatieff right in his view? Obviously not, from my point of view, but that rejection also allows for a consideration as to the thinking, there was actually a noble thought process at the core, even if misguided. When Ignatieff admits a mistake, I take him at his word, and we move forward.

I believe Ignatieff has the capacity to become a great Prime Minister. You can sense a vision with Ignatieff, careful deliberation and the ability to grow. What I find most intriguing about Ignatieff, despite his obvious intellectual stature, he if forever inquisitive, searching for more perfect paradigms, a trait which is exciting in any leader. That's what I crave, a politician with a set of values and beliefs, but one that continually processes new information and realities, always curious, never a prisoner to dogma.

I see a great deal in Ignatieff that can appeal to the progressive wing of the Liberal Party, I just don't buy some of the nonsensical characterizations about the man. As a matter of fact, Ignatieff may well be the perfect candidate to reconcile the sometimes disjointed aspirations within a big tent party. I'm comfortable with Ignatieff, and I look forward with some optimism, that this is the man best equipped to defeat Harper, engage the country and restore some faith in our political leadership.

21 comments:

Constant Vigilance said...

Very interesting and convincing essay as to why you support Mr. Ignatieff. I wish we weren't going through this whole process but, if we must, it is important to hear reasoned explanations as to who one supports.

Dame said...

I am / was on the same line of thoughts and in the last few months got to the same position as you are now.... and You didn't even mentioned the Quebec factor what is the fact of life today. Yes he has the best Chance to beat Harper . I Trust His Intellect and Heart staking out a newer version of Liberal Canada

Red Tory said...

I'm going to be completely superficial here and simply note that the pic you selected looks really sharp given your blog motif. Nice job!

RuralSandi said...

Very well written. They are talking the age thing. I think his age is a benefit. We have some really talented and smart MP's, younger, male and female. It will give them time to get their experience and this is so important.

Look at Harper's bunch - the inexperience and immaturity is really showing.

Kennedy, Trudeau, LeBlanc, Martha Hall Finlay, Navdeep Baines, Ruby Dhalla - my God the Liberals have some impressive young males and females. I'm sure I've left some out.

You know - Harper is only 10/11 years younger than Ignatieff and Rae. A generation is 20 years.

Conservatives hate intellects and yet they consider Harper an intellect. Obama is an intellect, for example.

I'm babbling I know, but I am impressed with the possible future of the Party with these younger folks that would take over the reins at some point.

What have the CPC got to look forward to - look at their caucus.

Antonio said...

Great Post Steve

I hope you and the other Ignatieff supporting bloggers like Jeff work hard to help further dispel the tripe that Liberals themselves are posting on your blogs about Igtnatieff.

(in before "anybody but iggy")

supporting a political candidate and writing exactly why you are doing so can be a difficult thing

It took me 3 days to get my post right about supporting Ignatieff last time.

Top notch quality

(as usual)

JimmE said...

Good post; I must admit to leaning this way - but I guess I still need to be convinced.

Anonymous said...

I was less concerned with his actively urging Bush to go into Iraq than I was with his support for the extremely destabilizing Bush Doctrine. I am unaware of anything he has written reversing his position on that. Do you know of anything?

Anonymous said...

MI's next big catch will be James Morton.

Anonymous said...

Canadians are looking for a strong Liberal leader to rally around as they dump Harper. MI could be the ticket.

Gayle said...

You know what I do not like about the man, so I will not repeat it here, mostly because what I do not like about him has nothing to do with his ability to lead a country.

I want to comment on your point on Iraq. I know someone who is highly placed in our foreign service. This person supported the Iraq war at the time. I remember because I was surprised (being one of those knee jerk reactors). This person made very forceful arguments in support of the invasion, and has since recanted that position based on the results.

So I certainly would not hold that against Iggy.

I just hope that whatever happens, the LPC are able to move on - particularly if Iggy loses.

Anonymous said...

Gayle
You are too kind. I will repeat my resistance to Count Iggula.
Michael Ignatieff has allowed his team of supporters to systematically and underhandedly destroy our leader Stephane Dion. A man democratically elected by a majority of Liberal delegates in 2006.
Other Liberals including Dionistas, such as Cherniak and Marissen, may choose to ignore this FACT but I will not.
I will work actively to ensure that either Dominic or Bob defeat this man.

Steve V said...

"I will work actively to ensure that either Dominic or Bob defeat this man."

Yes, Dominic and Bob's teams just appeared the day after the election. Get a clue, your selective ignorance is EMBARRASSING.

Möbius said...

Yes, Dominic and Bob's teams just appeared the day after the election.

It's magical, isn't it?

WesternGrit said...

Great post. Very well-written.

liberazzi said...

I have been wavering for a few weeks, but your endorsement solidifies it for me, so I too will be supporting Iggy.

I personally like Rae, but like you wrote last night the economic situation will kill him and possibly the Libs if he gets in. Dom has all the credentials, but for whatever reason he just doesn't grab me.

I managed to make it over to Iggy's post-convention party at his hotel on that Saturday night and it was a fantastic speech. Afterwards, I was basically thinking oops...I have also heard him speak at a townhall and a election event and both times he was excellent. I think in the beginning he came off cocky and aloof, but I believe he has softened his approach and is learning how to play retail politics. I also think he is learning to listen to his inner voice;)

The alleged shenanigans of some of his overzealous supporters especially in Quebec delayed my support. Whoever gets in most be supported fully. Moreover, I hope WK will close the War Room for this round and not go so hard after Rae. He should save his ammunition for Harper. WK's overzealousness also delayed my decision. Finally, if his supporters thinks he is the saviour they are sorely mistaken, but I do believe he has what it takes to rebuild the party, but it might take a couple of elections.

So be it...

Steve,

Will you put your name in then to be a delegate?

Gayle said...

Anon - sorry but I just do not take the various anons seriously.

Methinks there are a lot of CPC trolls sock-puppeting these days.

Catelli said...

I believe Ignatieff has the capacity to become a great Prime Minister. You can sense a vision with Ignatieff, careful deliberation and the ability to grow. What I find most intriguing about Ignatieff, despite his obvious intellectual stature, he if forever inquisitive, searching for more perfect paradigms, a trait which is exciting in any leader. That's what I crave, a politician with a set of values and beliefs, but one that continually processes new information and realities, always curious, never a prisoner to dogma.


If he becomes leader, I hope you are correct about this. I thought I saw these qualities in him during the last leadership race, but became disillusioned over time.

It is heartening that you see the same things now, and from a more personal vantage point.

Good luck!

Bo Green said...

I have a certain very close and very extra-leftist friend who often rants about Ignatieff as a neo-con thug of Bush and Cheney, and it's become really tiresome to point out over and over and over again that Ignatieff, as you point out, knows Iraq far better than I or my friend ever will, and has deeper sympathies for the Kurds (and therefore against Hussein) than I will ever personally experience.

Still... as someone who opposed the Iraq War as best and strongly as I could, I felt Ignatieff was totally dismissive and almost mocking of our perspective. I in no way whatsoever begrudge his support of the War - that was his opinion. But he was arrogant and even obnoxious about his disdain for people who disagreed with the invasion.

I love Barack Obama for his open-mindedness, and my heart pounded when he announced,I am your President, too. And I'll listen to you - especially when we disagree."

That's leadership. Michael Ignatieff is not a leader.

Sure, he'd be an okay PM, on the same general level as Harper. But "okay" isn't good enough for my support - I hope he loses to LeBlanc or Rae.

Anonymous said...

This rush to excuse his behaviour with respect to the Illegal criminal invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq puzzles me. People have to be held responsible for their actions. His support of the invasion, and muddled explanation for the support do not excuse him. It was obvious to any sentient creature that the Bush doctrine in theory and practice was an abomination before the fact. For all of his virtues, this one failure disqualifies him. I voted for Dion but would never vote for a party that selects a supporter of war criminals as its leader. When he campaigns to have Bush et al sent to the Hague I may reconsider.

That goes for Rae too - another cheerleader.

Demosthenes said...

People who also knew Iraq, like Juan Cole, were saying that it was likely to be a disaster. They were right; he wasn't. That does raise the question of his judgement.

As, unfortunately, does his continuing defenses of the efficacy of torture. He may say he finds it distasteful. But as long as he claims it may be "distasteful but effective" on the slimmest of rationales, as he did in "If torture works..." he's never going to be able to bridge that divide.

And this is the greatest problem:

Still... as someone who opposed the Iraq War as best and strongly as I could, I felt Ignatieff was totally dismissive and almost mocking of our perspective. I in no way whatsoever begrudge his support of the War - that was his opinion. But he was arrogant and even obnoxious about his disdain for people who disagreed with the invasion.

As much as he may admit that he was wrong, he has not, to date, admitted that others were right. He continuously attacks those who opposed the war because he cannot accept that the reasons they opposed it might contradict his own ideology.

Saying "whoops, I'm a politician now, I need to sound like I'm willing to listen"—-as he did in his famous essay--is not enough. He needs to actually BE willing to listen, both to those with power and influence and those without.

With Rae, you get the sense that although he makes mistakes, he admits them.

(Yes, he does believe that the deficit was due to a recession. That's not a bad assumption, actually.)

With Ignatieff, he clearly believes that he has never personally made mistakes, except in that he was either impolitic or mislead. It's not that he's wrong, it's that the world is wrong.

Sorry. That isn't enough.

Demosthenes said...

(This isn't just an Ignatieff thing, by the way. Thomas Friedman shouldn't be given a position of responsibility either.)