Friday, March 16, 2012

NDP Leadership Race Goes "Liberal"

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....


Omar said...

I don't like Mulcair, but Broadbent should not have tainted the leadership race like this. I don't know how anybody else feels, but he came across to me like some old loon (albeit a well spoken old loon) who has lost a marble or two.
Go back to bed, Ed.

Tof KW said...

Count me in the disbelief crowd as well. I still have trouble thinking Broadbent of all people would openly say such a thing, multiple times even. Talk about shooting party unity in the foot ...actually he's fired on both feet.

Steve V said...

It's the multiple times aspect that really stuns me, because these weren't off the cuff, but a calculated move.

Tof KW said...

If Broadbent was serious about wanting his party to become the government in 2015, he should be supporting who he thinks is the best candidate for Canada, not who's best for the NDP.

That may or may not be Mulcair, (personally I think Dewar or Cullen are better answers to that) but it's certainly not someone who will cling to the traditional NDP+union dogma.

Carmichael said...

That's the old NDP way. Win by losing.

Layton switched it up a bit. Win by throwing long cherished policy goals under the bus.

Now that Layton's gone they can go back to the old ways.

Interesting seeing Stephen Lewis express that he's kept quiet because it's time for the old guard to relinquish the reins.

There's probably no one in the party with either the courage or the cred to get slow Eddie to shut up either.

Carmichael said...

But you know really, this hearkens me back to something I said in the earlier thread.

Ed (and most pols I suspect)is not able to comprehend that there is a distinction to be made between his personal preferences and the needs of the party or the country.

Power, even a little if held for long enough, corrupts the ability to think clearly too.

sharonapple88 said...

This is probably the first time Broadbent has said something and the NDP rank and file has not taken it as gospel.

This will be an interesting convention. Mulcair is likely to win, but I suspect that this isn't going to be one of those typical NDP races, where the party will come together and say they're one big happy family. They tend to avoid divisive discussions -- see the NDP pulling the socialist vote from last year's convention -- for the "happy united" front. Whomever wins, there are going to be some bruises. (I can't see this being fatal. A little conflict's probably healthier than burying it.)

It'll also be interesting to see how Mulcair does as leader. He ticks a number of the right boxes, but he also has an inability to backdown when he's wrong. See the situation with Yves Duhaime. Happened recently with the discussion on the photos of Bin Laden. (Mulcair said later, he was refering to pictures showing Bin Laden being shot in self-defence, but take a moment to read the transcript -- he also doesn't appear to believe that pictures exist of the corpse.)

Once Mulcair wins, I will await the attacks from Pat Martin and Peter Stoffer for Mulcair's dual citizenship. ;P (Yeah, I know, that's not going to happen.)

Cathie from Canada said...

Yes, it was amazingly short-sighted and will illustrate to Mulcaire's supporters the new broom they are voting for.

Steve V said...

sharonapple88 said...

Agreed, it's a bad move. He's poisoned the well for anyone who wins this.

I keep on wondering if this is an example of placing principles ("I think Mulcair will make a bad leader") over power ("screwing the NDP by okaying a civil war") or a mad grab for power/influence (because Mulcair's the front leader, and I suspect he doesn't give a damn about Broadbent).