It really is quite astounding, that someone with as much political experience as Ed Broadbent would so openly and fundamentally attack the candidate who is the consensus favourite to assume the NDP leadership. I would categorize his comments as reckless, but perhaps worse outright dangerous, leaving much potential for lasting damage. That the elder NDP statesman made subsequent comments in more than one venue, all the more amazing, because a moment of reflection should have solicited pause.
It's not that Broadbent doesn't make sense, isn't articulating genuine concern as to philosophical leanings and personal fitness, but it seems obvious that no good can come from so scathing an indictment. Broadbent has effectively opened up a deep chasm that will have ramifications moving forward. Should Mulcair lose the leadership, fair to ask about his future place in the NDP, particularly if there is the slightest sense that party purists have rejected his presence within. As well, the very real possibility that the verdict amounts to a rejection of the new Quebec breed, since Broadbent went out of his way to divide new and old MP's into tiers. If this convention reveals any sense of ganging up to stop Mulcair, this doesn't occur in a vacuum, there will be lasting impact and Broadbent's words will haunt.
The other scenario involves Mulcair winning, and while much is in doubt, surely Broadbent must realize this the most likely scenario, or at least a real possibility. Mulcair wins, and yet there will be this sense that his colleagues question his mental makeup, people are uncomfortable with his leadership style, some see an abandonment of the traditional NDP political bent. I'm not sure a bunch of smiling faces, arms raised in unity on the convention floor will adequately put to rest the Broadbent blindside, particularly when his expressions aren't without merit.
Broadbent represents a terrific blunder, a poorly conceived gambit inspired by narrow self interest. In trying to help his sagging candidate Topp, he has undermined Mulcair in a way that cuts deep. Actually, the fact that Broadbent didn't see the political pitfalls, didn't react with the slightest FORESIGHT, perhaps a testament to why his brand of NDP leadership never did reach the promised land, because yesterday was strangely amateurish for such a seasoned politician. To say Broadbent's broadside was ill conceived is being kind....