Saturday, March 3, 2007

Is Iggy Ready to Pop? theory or conspiracy or speculation?

Is Iggy Ready to Pop?
Craig Huckerby -- -- Friday, March 2, 2007

SooNews' Frank Tridico says there is a nasty little battle going on within the federal Liberal Party.

Even as Grit leader St├ęphane Dion prepares for what looks to be a potential election call coming soon, Tridico argues there are political vultures swarming from above.

Those vultures include former leadership candidates Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. Ignatieff and Rae were ranked first and second in the leadership convention but were ousted by Dion, courtesy of Gerard Kennedy.

Did Kennedy support the weakest link hoping for a Party collapse so he could come back for another shot? Is Ignatieff hogging air time at the expense of Dion? Is Rae working behind the scenes to undermine both Dion and Ignatieff?

To read Frank Tridico's latest assessment of politics on the inside click: {below}
Is Iggy Ready to Pop Dion?

Frank Tridico
Is Iggy Ready to Pop Dion?
Frank Tridico -- SOONEWS.CA -- Friday, March 2, 2007

There are two trains of thought as to who really is in charge of the federal Liberal Party, if it is in fact, under any form of influence.

The first, suggests that newly crowned Grit leader St├ęphane Dion has the backing of the mid to left leaning Liberals, and specifically the more disenfranchised sectors: youth, women and minorities. His public commitment to ensuring 33% of candidates for the next election being women, and his pledge toward environmental reform suggests he charting the Party’s course in a very clear direction.

The second perception is that Mr. Dion has a core group of disgruntled, opportunists that are possibly working to undermine his legitimacy and authority as leader of the Party. Some say they want him out, and are preparing for an eventual coup once a suspected political collapse may occur to the Grits in the next federal election.

Dion’s Crew, Ignatieff’s Coup

The central loyalists in the Stephane Dion camp are Gerard Kennedy and Martha Hall Findlay. Kennedy and Findlay were leadership contenders who dropped out to throw their support behind Dion. Both of them, who don’t occupy seats in the House of Commons, are being paid undisclosed amounts for advisers to prepare for the next election.

Findlay, who was near the bottom of the leadership pack, scored significant exposure and accumulated political capital by endorsing Dion early. Some assessed the move as misguided, as it appeared that the two frontrunners (Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae) were better positioned to take the leadership.

Finlay, to her credit, gained credibility and influence by her early endorsement of Dion. She is slated to take on more influential roles within the Party should she win a seat in next election.

Kennedy, who ranked fourth in ballots cast, assumed the role of political kingmaker by bowing out and endorsing Dion in lieu of the top seeded candidates. The support was enough to undermine Bob Rae’s chances. Rae left with minimal comment, visibly agitated, and refused to disclose whom he would support.

Kennedy’s motives were questioned, insofar as some speculation was that he endorsed the weakest link for self-serving motives. Some argued that by doing this, in the likelihood of an eventual collapse, he could return as a top candidate.

Political Vultures Swarming from Above

It is difficult to gauge who was more disappointed in losing the leadership race. Ignatieff left ranking second, and managed to salvage tangible loyalty from angry Liberals. There are many angry Liberals out there. However, Ignatieff could channel that anger by keeping divided loyalties in tact.

While Ignatieff is an intellectual, he shows a consistent pattern of political gaffes. His political savvy is wrested on his aggressive move of sucking media time away from Dion. He speaks clearly, articulately and with philosophical conviction. Where he lacks in charisma, he makes up for in a perception of leadership. By overshadowing Dion publicly, he undermines him privately.

Ignatieff has the backing of a core crowd of mid to right wing Liberals, but lacks political experience, particularly in the trenches of ideological warfare. Dion can deal with the threat of overt challenges from within the Party. How does he deal with the threat of covert challenges from outside of the Party?

The Silent Threat

Enter Bob Rae. It is, in my opinion, Bob Rae who may be more disappointed in the manner in which he was defeated, but more importantly, he is more likely of the two to pose the greater threat.

Much is fought and won behind the scenes as they are in the political field. Rae not only has more political experience but also is more versatile and politically cunning than Ignatieff.

Any politician that can lead a province as Premier to one of its worst records in its history, and become a top contender of another Party must be doing something effectively. Liberals warmed themselves mildly to Rae. They’ll accept him more readily next time.

There will be a next time. In my view, it won’t be Iggy that will pop Dion. It will be Bob Rae.