Thursday, November 16, 2006

Divided Over Dean

The last thing you want at a convention is controversy. The Toronto Star has a story today about the Howard Dean appearance at the Liberal leadership convention. Some opinion:
"I had heard a rumour of it a couple of weeks ago, and I thought, `Oh surely, it can't be true — nobody would make that decision,'" says Toronto MP and leadership candidate Ken Dryden.

"I'm really surprised. I can't imagine the sense of it."

Dryden said it's a mistake to have someone from another country delivering a speech meant to set the tone for a convention wrapping up a nine-month effort to put the party back in touch with Canadians...

Bob Richardson, a senior organizer for Michael Ignatieff's campaign, adds that Dean is irrelevant to Canadians.

"I'll be vacuuming," he quipped...

Gerard Kennedy, the former Ontario provincial cabinet minister vying for the federal Liberals' top job, approved of the speaker selection.

"As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, with his mandate for reform and renewal of a progressive party, it is fitting that Dean should deliver the keynote at the convention, which for many Liberals is very much about reform and renewal of our own party," Kennedy said.

Unity means everything, which is why Dean's selection is confusing. Whether or not you support the decision, I think everyone can agree stories about "splits" within the Liberal ranks isn't the kind of press the keynote speaker should bring. Afterall, the keynote speaker is largely irrelevant in the grand scheme, so it is curious that the Liberal brass would pick someone who is controversial and effectively distract from the real purpose. I love Dean, but articles like today only further my view that his selection wasn't well thought out and the optics are bad.


Anonymous said...

Dean had the distinction of having raised the largest amount of donattions online. His strategy is something we need to learn for LPC.

Dean is a good speaker and well respected democract. We need to learn to come out of the well and see what is happening around the world. We live in a global economy and it is important for just our leaders but our party members to understand who politics is done in other liberal parties around the world and how we can learn from their best practices to improve ourselves.

It is ano totally another thing to suggest that we should have another key note speaker from within Canada.

Steve V said...


Points taken. Important to remember that the real architect of the Dean campaign was Joe Trippi, who has already spoke to Liberals on the "new" politics. Dean is quite frank in admitting that he had little imput on the online fundraising side, nor did he particularly understand the medium.

A workshop fine, but for a venue where the Liberals layout their vision from Canada, it is somewhat rich to need the imput of an American to show us the way. Another point, while I love Dean, others don't share that point of view, so why introduce controversy where none need be?

As an aside, I think his speech will be a good one, that's not my point. Dean is great, I just don't think it's appropriate for domestic politics.

Anonymous said...

My first knee-jerk reaction was to dislike the choice -- and when I asked Ignatieff about it he also said he didn't like us 'going outside' -- i'll just add that it's two years in a row now;^)
However, Vijay's points are well-taken. There is much to learn still about being a modern, inclusive grass-roots party and since i'd rather submit myself to a Kevin Federly lap dance than invite a Conservative, Dean will do.
Come to think of it, what Liberals or liberal-like leaders are out there who could fit the bill? Manley - is he too old, maybe not accomplished enuf? Someone like Louise Armour, maybe? Romeo Dalliare but he has no currency for the future... Rick Mercer? Ok, just kidding. Justin-T is someone I think who would be perfect for the next time, that is if he isn't taking the plunge then.

DivaRachel said...

I don't know what the fuss is about Howard Dean. He is a grass roots DMC candidate. He didn't get to the PotUS contention with big money and big daddy's help, he did it with regular Democrats who believed in something REAL. He did it with the web.

Nothing wrong with that.

In fact, I think the Liberals stand to learn something from his campaign, as the funding rules have changed and that kind of grass roots movement is what its gonna take for the LPC to come back in fine form.

Its time to turn away from last-century methods and start living in the present and future.

Howard Dean exemplifies that and should be applauded and admired for it.... and, in LPC's case, HD should be COPIED as well.

Ti-Guy said...

I don't have any problems with this. Remember, progressives in the US tend to think very highly of Canadian politics and I think this is helping them as much as it's kind of interesting for the Liberal party. Sure someone else could do, but Howard Dean a prominent figure.

I don't think Dean has anything to tell us about how our politics should be done, but I think this cross-border support is helpful...particularly when we know the Conservatives just love their American rightwingers and invite them up to lecture Canadians every chance they get. Remember...*puke*...Frank Luntz?

I think the leadership contenders should stop politicising this for their own purposes. That's divisive.

Dan McKenzie said...

Don't feel like being longwinded about it but while I don't think it's a big deal I'd rather not have Howard Dean as the keynote speaker.

Steve V said...

I have Dean's book, so my opinion isn't about the man, just the perception.