The Liberal Party is considering putting the brakes on a headlong rush to find itself a new standard-bearer. It’s possible it might be 2013 before a new, permanent, leader will be ensconced. From my point of view, this is likely the most sensible thing I’ve heard emanate from the Liberal brain trust in quite a while.
With Mr. Ignatieff’s abruptly stepping down, there was an immediate flurry of activity of ‘positioning’ by the (admittedly depleted) ranks of the hopeful aspirants. (You could just feel the wind in Bob Rae’s sails at the thought.) I’d bet that, in party politics, one of the most enervating events possible, is the leadership vacancy; probably on par with sharks sensing blood in the water.
But it’s pretty obvious the party’s problems have a lot more to do with policy than leadership, per se, despite two recent lackluster people at the helm. What the party probably needs least of all now is a quick series of on-the-fly policy decisions by a self-appointed savior, and a possible initiative to merge with the NDP.
It’s been noted that “the hurried’r you go, the behind’r you get”. I think this is a wise cautionary note for the Liberal Party at the moment. There’s no election for quite some time; no pressing need to convince anyone (except themselves) of anything; they don’t even know yet which way the wind’s blowing. It’s a perfect time to take their time.
In the meantime, they have a perfect Interim Leader candidate: Michael Ignatieff. Here’s a guy who’s already a lame duck. He can guarantee he’s not running again. And, most importantly, he can be counted on to neither motivate or initiate any premature merger talk. Heck, as we’ve seen, he’s pretty much devoid of any real policy initiatives, so he can be counted on to be a reasonably dignified place mat for as long as the Liberal Party needs to figure out where it’s going.