I really have to question Dion's strategy for winning the Liberal leadership. In fact, in short order, it would appear that Dion is undoing all the goodwill that he has enjoyed these past months. In a race to be everyone's second choice, I don't see how negative politics help the cause.
People will remember that Dion attacked Kennedy at one of the summer debates, effectively calling him an empty shirt. Politics is rough, and Dion actually scored some points with this attack. However, the latest debates have now revealed a distasteful pattern, wherein Dion forgets his message and instead tries to tear into others (Rae is guilty as well- wasn't he the guy who pledged in the first debate in Alberta to never attack a "fellow Liberal" during the campaign?). You can understand Dion's tactics, but under the circumstances they are the polar opposite of what the Liberal Party needs.
If you took a poll of Liberals at the onset of this leadership campaign, I venture to say party unity would have been a top concern. Within this context, Dion's approach is particularly less attractive and begs the question- is this man the best choice to heal old wounds? Gotcha politics are standard fair between parties, but within the internal dynamics of a party they have negative consequences. Where is the big picture in the Dion approach? It would seem personal ambition trumps the greater good for the man who is so quick to point to his Liberal credentials and loyalty.
Obviously I am biased, but contrast Dion with Kennedy and you see that other avenues exist. Kennedy defended Ignatieff during the summer snafu, even though political advantage was easily attained. Kennedy even defended Volpe, calling him a "good Liberal", despite the maelstorm. During the debates, Kennedy has largely resisted the easy soundbite to make headlines, instead putting forth a positive message that speaks to unity. Kennedy understands that time doesn't stop at the convention and how the Party emerges will be a key to future prospects.
When this race began, all the pundits immediately concluded that we would see a bloodless campaign, simply as a function of multiple ballots and the need to look favorable. Dion's tactics seem to fly in the face of this logic, and you have to wonder if being labelled the negative candidate is really a winning strategy. Presenting yourself as a turnoff to other candidate's delegates through attacking their man seems like a loser strategy in my eyes. The environmental champion, that speaks with conviction, displaying wit and intellect is replaced by the arrogant know it all that snarls at everyone. You are starting to see blowback when it comes to the Dion re-invention, that had been so successful to date, and I wonder if we haven't already seen the high water mark for his campaign.
p.s- I don't mean to offend Dion supporters, whom I respect, but this is my humble opinion :)