We are in the ‘Not Interested’ phase

A leadership contest has several phases to go through before knowledgeable observers start to evaluate the potential winners. Not being knowledgeable, the news media do not wait. They start everything off with the ‘not interested’ phase. It can combine fun with fright, relief with resignation, and false hopes with foolishness.

Leading this ‘not interested’ phase in the upcoming Liberal Party leadership was interim Liberal leader Bob Rae. He caught some of us off-guard with how fast he announced he would not be running. Maybe he was really annoyed with the media questions and their pestering. The man was entitled to his dignity and that is something Canadian news media tend to forget. He got out fast.

Next in line was Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney. That a right-wing banker would even be considered a possible candidate is something of a wonder. Mr. Carney quickly put these dreamers out of their misery.

The next target for the right wing Liberals will likely be John Manley, former Liberal cabinet minister and now president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, one of the few lobby groups to which Stephen Harper will listen. We hardly expect that Manley is going to give up his self-aggrandizing position with the lords of industry for the vicissitudes of the Liberal leadership.

Another mistake made by the news media in this phase is to report public polling as to whom the public would like to see running a political party. The public have little to do with the choice. The leader will be chosen by Liberal Party supporters and while this will be a very large number by April 2013, because of the addition of non-paying ‘supporters,’ it still does not reflect the total population.

During this phase, there is the emergence of the faux contestants. These are people who have about as much chance as the ghost of Mackenzie King’s mother. Some of them are quite sincere and in most cases just want to share the platform with the real contestants so that they can tell people what they think. It is kind of like writing a blog but really embarrassing yourself. It is expected that the Liberal Party executive will ask for some kind of good faith deposit that will eliminate these people from the race.

The real candidates for this race are sitting in somebody’s recreation room or kitchen somewhere talking to people that they trust. These are the inner circle that will not blab what they know about their candidate’s intentions to anyone, especially the news media.

These small groups are discussing the strategy of entering the race. They are discussing the when, the format, the stance, the issues, whether it should be low key or at top volume, timing of the social media activities, and on and on, into the night. It will be fun.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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