Thursday, February 09, 2006

Do Liberals have the grit anymore?

You know, with all the Liberal folk who've decided not to run for the leadership there are many reasons. Only one person has declared, and there are still many who've not forged forward (Stronach, Dion, Cauchon, etc.) Why is everyone scared?

Let us compare the Liberal Party now to the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservatives after the 2000 election.

The Canadian Alliance Party after the 2000 election was:
- In opposition
- Had a defeated party leader who was about to get lambasted and another interim opposition leader put in
- Held 66 seats -- despite a new party, only going up a handful
- Split between many factions
- Ran a very poor campaign
- Didn't have a lot of money, but not in debt

The Progressive Conservative Party after the 2000 election was:
- Still the 5th party in the house
- Had a defeated party leader
- Divided amongst pro-merger and anti-merger
- Had David Orchard run for the leadership
- Massively in debt
- Little grassroots support

The Liberals are now:
- In opposition
- Have a defeated party leader
- Have an interim opposition leader
- Massively in debt
- Still split between two factions
- Ran a very poor campaign
- Just lost a prominent MP to crossing the floor and are hypocrites for opposing it
- Now hold 102 seats - likely 101 after the ruling in Saskatchewan
- May be held accountable for $40 million in further Gomery investigations

But despite all this in both centre-right parties, Stephen Harper and Peter Mackay still both ran for their respective leadership races, won, starting talking, started compromising, ignored detractors, and started leading their own parties to vote for a full-blown merger.

They then led the new party into an election with no policy convention and were still able to gain over 20 seats combined than what each parties had before. Then they became one of the most effective oppositions in history, holding the Liberals to account. This was often in consensus with the other opposition parties, which ultimately led to a full 3-party opposition support of defeating the Liberals.

Then Harper leads one of the best run campaigns in history and forms government, yeah yeah, albiet a minority, but it's still government.

Now also think what Chretien did for the Liberals from 1990 to 1993 and where he took that party. What if Paul Martin did become leader then? Hmmm....

Do these Liberal potential contenders have the grit they were so famous for? Is there a true leader that will lead, build bridges, and unite like Harper has been able to do?

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