Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Iggy, by a nose, on the third ballot

I have had some time to digest the results of super weekend and the subsequent two weeks and barring any major changes to the current leadership dynamic I believe that the above result will be the final one.

Before I begin to explain my reasons let me state that I am not a delegate at the upcoming convention, nor am I a partisan for any of the different leadership camps. I am just a Liberal who voted during super weekend and it just so happens it was not for Iggy. It was for one of the three that are bunched up behind him.

So my conclusion is an educated guess, based on how the race has gone so far and based on my take of the dynamics that I believe will be at play during the next six weeks.

First let's state the obvious. Iggy is the front runner (Well d'uh!) and that gives him a natural advantage going into the final stretch of the race.

Second, there is an "Anybody but Iggy" movement afoot but it is amorphous and for it to work it has to coalesce on one of the three who are trailing him. The question is who?

That is where we find the first problem for the anti-Iggy crowd. Each of the three contenders behind him have a legitimate shot at winning this thing and to make matters worse each of them sincerely believes they have a legitimate shot at winning this thing. That dynamic is going to work against each one because they are going to be as busy trying to separate themselves from the crowd as they are trying to knock off Iggy. The result could be neither of them will be able to present themselves as THE alternative to Iggy before the convention. I thought that Bob Rae might have begun doing so but his recent troubles in BC have probably caused him to drop back into the pack.

As well, it will create the situation where neither of them will be able to reach out to the other for support without creating the perception that they are showing weakness or that they are giving up the battle. Iggy does not have to worry about that and it would not surprise me one bit if it were revealed that some of his people have already reached out to the people of the other three to build up some alliances and to plant some seeds.

That leads to yet another dynamic that is probably at play. It would surprise me a great deal if Iggy's people have not been pressing the Brison and Dryden camps to join Iggy's using his frontrunner status to lever their support towards him. Such an approach could be effective because both have personal ambitions that he can play to.

Mr. Dryden is approaching the end of his working career and he will not want to be relegated to the back bench or to a junior ministry in a future Liberal government. He will want a position of prominence and maybe some influence. So part of his consideration on who to support for the leadership will be the one who can meet that need. Playing the odds, that is currently Iggy and Iggy's camp is probably pushing that point hard.

Mr. Brison's leadership ambitions will not fade with this race and he will want to put himself into a position of prominence and influence in a future Liberal government, something that will not happen in if he backs the wrong horse. Again, Iggy is currently the safe bet for the realization of his ambitions because Iggy is currently in the most credible position to offer Mr. Brison what he wants.

Incidently, the same dynamic is at play for Mr. Kennedy. He did not leave a great job in the Ontario government to fade off into political oblivion. If it becomes apparent to him that he cannot win he will choose the one he believes can facilitate his future ambitions. If that happens to be Iggy, that is who he will back. As well, a seemingly minor consideration but he wants to run in his old Ontario riding, something only Iggy can credibly promise at this time.

So, I believe, that one of the three contenders bunched up behind Iggy will have to break from the pack within the next two weeks so as to give the anti-Iggy crowd a champion to rally around. If that does not happen then Iggy, as the perceived front runner, will begin to pick up support from those who want something from him and from those who just want to be able to claim they backed a winner.


Blogger Werner Patels said...

This is good conjecture, but there is one major uncertainty in all this: even if Iggy can convince other contenders to endorse him, their delegates won't necessarily go along with that. After the first ballot, each delegate answers only to his or her own conscience.

October 12, 2006 7:25 PM  
Blogger Liberalenterprise said...

Furthermore, I was under the impression that Mr. Kennedy was planning to seek a seat in Western Canada. Have I misread or misunderstood?

I fundamentally disagree with your predictions, but credit your strategic thinking.

Good post friend.

October 12, 2006 8:36 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


I agree that where the delegates go is the one big uncertainty in all of this.

However, frontrunners tend to attract support from all but the most ardent opponents and I am not certain the anti-Iggy forces are strong enough to prevent that.


Mr. Kennedy has made noises about running in Quebec or in the West if he wins the leadership. However, if he does not I beleive he wants to run in his old stomping grounds in TO, which just happens to be where Bob Rae wants to run as well.

I would not use such a strong word as "prediction" to describe my post. It is only an educated guess.

If I could really predict the future with any accuracy I would be spending my winters lounging at my palatial villa in the Cayman Islands, instead of freezing my ass off in Ottawa.

October 13, 2006 10:28 AM  
Blogger Jason Bo Green said...

People write off Ignatieff very quickly these days but I still think he has a strong chance to take it, also. We will soon see, it's just a month off.

October 30, 2006 11:27 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...


None of the contenders can be written off, and this is part of the problem for those chasing Iggy.

All four still have a legitimate shot at winning this thing although I still believe Dr. Ignatieff has the clear advantage at this point.

October 31, 2006 11:37 AM  

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