Thursday, August 31, 2006

Revisiting Ignatieff

On Wednesday, I tore a strip off Michael Ignatieff for his response to the Toronto Star's question about whether he'd stick around the Liberal party if he lost the leadership campaign. His response was 'Depends who's leader'.

Well, according to the Canadian Press (just ignore all of the Brison grandstanding in that article - Brison won't win anyway), Ignatieff has now clarified what he said.

"Let's be clear. I am planning to run in the next election in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I love being an MP and I've enjoyed it enormously and I'm looking forward to doing it again," said Ignatieff, who first won election last January.

He added that, whoever wins the leadership race, he will do whatever he can to help him or her defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the next election.

Asked why he didn't say that when the Star first asked, Ignatieff said he considered hypothetical questions about his political future should he lose the leadership contest to be moot.

"I feel I have good reason to believe I'm ahead in the race and I plan to win. So the hypothetical is not going to arise."

So he cleared that up. Good. But the fact that he believes so much that he's going to win and is so sure of himself that he wouldn't even consider hypotheticals when asked by the TO Star (according to him, anyway) still strikes me as a symptom of pompous assism.

Let's see...hmmm...that rings some bells. Who else doesn't do hypotheticals? Oh, yes, I remember.

JIM LEHRER: Let's cut to the crunch on this question. If in fact this team does not find any weapons of mass destruction, do you believe that would do serious harm to the credibility of the president and this administration and particularly on the... in the long run and when history looks back on this?

DONALD RUMSFELD: I mean, the intelligence that our country had-- has-- was over a sustained period of time, it was validated by other intelligence services. I have to believe it was reasonably correct -- obviously not perfect. No intelligence is ever perfect. And that as the reports come out, they will find evidence of the kinds of programs that Secretary Powell presented to the United Nations. That's my... yes, I mean that's what I believe.

JIM LEHRER: But if they don't? Is that a problem?

DONALD RUMSFELD: I don't do hypotheticals.

JIM LEHRER: You don't do politics; you don't do hypotheticals.

DONALD RUMSFELD: I don't. I don't. Why? I can't speculate.

- September 10. 2003

That was a harsh comparison. Ignatieff certainly isn't Rummy, but the refusal to consider hypotheticals is not something to be taken lightly - especially in someone who wants to be Canada's next leader.

I know some of you like Ignatieff and feel that he is more than qualified to serve as the next Liberal party leader but it seems he's suffering from foot in mouth disease - an affliction of almost all politicians - but the actual messages behind those so-called 'gaffes' needs to be more seriously considered in terms of how he might operate in the future. Even if he doesn't like speculating, the job of those who choose a leader is to do exactly that - taking into account the positives and the negatives.

My bottom line about Ignatieff's run since day one has been this: he does not have enough on-the-ground political experience to be the Liberal party leader and he has yet to convince me otherwise.

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