Wednesday, June 14, 2006

When is the right time to endorse a candidate?

I was looking at Cerberus' post Cerberus: Liberal leadership endorsements - summary update and I was impressed with and somewhat surprised by the number of Liberal bloggers who have already endorsed a Liberal leadership candidate.

It left me wondering how so many could have decided on who to support at this stage of the race.

I devour the Globe and Mail and La Presse each day. I look at all of the other major news organization websites on a daily basis. I have looked at all of the blogs for the different candidates on Liblogs and I have visited all of their official leadership websites.

Despite all of these sources of information I still do not have enough information about the different contenders to make a decision on who to support. I find that none of them has come up with a clear and compelling central theme for their campaigns and none of them seems to have articulated a clear vision of where they want to take the Liberal Party or the country. I realize many are trying but they are still not there yet.

As well, so far we have only seen staged policy pronouncements and one instance of where the different candidates have been forced to defend their positions in a debate. For me that is hardly enough to make a final decision on who I would support for Liberal leader.

These are not trivial concerns. After all the Liberal Party is in the process of choosing someone who could be the country's next Prime Minister. (Hopefully after the next election.) Liberals owe it to themselves and to Canadians to choose wisely.

Now for those of you who have already chosen who you will support please do not construe this post as a critique or judgement on your decisions or the fact you have already make a choice. I am merely trying to understand some of the dynamics of how this race is shaping up.

I think I already have an idea of one factor in this. The fact the signing up of new members to the Liberal Party is cut off in a few short weeks probably has some influence but I am curious to know some of the other factors.

Another factor is me. I tend to be deliberative when it comes to decisions like this and I wait to the last minute to make a decision, gathering and analyzing as much information as I can get my hands on until time forces a decision on me. In my judgement that time has not arrived yet.

Anyway, that is my take on this and I thought I would just put it out there.


Blogger indievoter said...

I really liked your posting. I haven't endorsed anyone yet because like you I'm not ready although I have 2 candidates I like, trust and admire on many levels but if I had gone with my initial choice I would never have looked at anyone else. For example I would have excluded Stephane Dion out of ignorance. I didn't know anything about him and was skeptical due to misleading press coverage and spin by other candidates supporters. I received some emails from Liberals in Quebec who were seeking to exchange ideas with a Liberal with a Western view. They asked me if I felt prejudiced against Mr. Dion because he was a francophone. They all felt he was their strongest candidate but were being told to chose Mr. Ignatieff instead because he would be stronger in English speaking Canada and also bilingual. I told them how I honestly felt about Mr. Ignateff and the reasons why I felt that way. I also shared what opinions I have about Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Rae which were formed through real time "voter" experience with both of these candidates and felt I could give an honest unvarnished opinion. It was very useful to trade insights. It's hard to choose between who might be best as a leader and politician and who is perceived to be most electable unless all these qualities are present. It's a risky gamble to speculate what voters will do and therefore perceived appeal to voters is almost irrelevant. I'm going to wait until after the debates are over as it's giving me a chance to make a more intelligent evaluation of leadership, political acumen and electability. Good luck with your choice.

June 14, 2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger Lookout Mountain said...

Are you going to wait till mid September? Or just before convention

June 14, 2006 10:02 PM  
Blogger Cerberus said...

I understand the desire to hold out and find out more. That is healthy.

I think one reason that bloggers are endorsing candidates is that by and large I expect you'll find that a lot of us want to be involved in a campaign and are actually involved someone's campaign. Not just observers from the sidelines but participants in the campaigns.

Given the timeframe of this campaign, if you want to be active in a campaign and if you want to be a delegate, then you need to do your due diligence early and quickly, pick a horse and jump on.

Fortunately/unfortunately, most are not so the race is far from over.


June 15, 2006 1:56 AM  
Blogger Red Tory said...

Fence-sitting is a fair enough position under the circumstances and I certain can’t be critical of you for taking a thoroughly deliberative approach to selecting a candidate. But every candidate needs supporters and people on their side who are willing to help advance their positions and be critical of those being taken by others. That’s what makes the race interesting.

And besides, it's always possible to change your mind.

June 15, 2006 3:41 AM  
Blogger ottlib said...


Good point. I did not put those two together.

Of course, if you are becoming involved in a campaign a necessary prerequisite is to support the candidate.

I had to sit out the last election campaign because of work and other time constraints and unfortunately I will be sitting out the leadership as well for the same reasons.

Advantage: Gives me time to make a deliberate choice about who I would support.

Disadvantage: Total befuddlement on who I am going to support at this point.

June 15, 2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


I see your point.

However, as you might have noticed my indecision does not stop me from defending or critiquing a candidate or their supporters.

I have defended Dr. Ignatieff against some of what I consider to be the more outrageous claims against him but I also voiced my disappointment of his vote on extending the Afghan mission a few weeks ago.

I have also done the same for some of the other candidates as well.

That is one good thing about being undecided. I can compliment or critique the different candidates and it is difficult to dismiss it as partisan.

June 15, 2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

k o:

I don't know.

I will decide whenever I believe I have enough information to make an intelligent decision.

When that will be is anybody's guess.

However, I am hoping the summer will be very enlightening.

June 15, 2006 1:05 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


Not to leave you out, I have three candidates who intrigue me the most.

Now that the policy pronouncement segment of this race has begun I will probably focus more on what they say over the summer. Not that I will be ignoring the others.

And no, I am not prepared to identify the ones that I find intriguing, just in case you are wondering.

June 15, 2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger Czar François said...

The problem with this leadership convention is has the possibility of turning into a circus with the Martinites & the Chretinites already picking their Candidates (Iggy/Rae), kids giving money, and a record 11 candidates...

June 22, 2006 3:12 PM  

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