I simply don’t think the Liberals are ready for a leadership fight in the next five months, given what has happened, that logic borders on irresponsible. People don’t even know what just occurred, what it means, digested the daunting mountain of work in front of us. I strongly believe this defeat needs to sink in, our core people given time to retool, we are in a great time of internal upheaval, budgets, staffing, restructuring our Parliamentarians, EVERYWHERE you look, you can see some serious transition required. Those pounding the table for an immediate leadership, in my view, don’t quite grasp where we are, how much ENERGY is required to focus on dealing with this result. Liberals to me at the moment resemble tornado victims (not to be flippant), wandering around the devastation, wondering where to begin, not sure what just happened, in a state of shock frankly. Plowing ahead with a leadership reeks of a bad call, dividing when we need to rally together, distracting when we need to focus. We have basic needs at this point, so a delay is SHREWD and necessary.
On the other hand, I don’t think Liberals can really wait two years for a leadership, because there is a compelling argument that much of the rebuild requires a leader, someone to build the team in her/his image, develop policy and direction, etc, etc, etc. Waiting two years strikes me as overkill on the "go slow" approach, once we get back on our feet, I foresee an unnecessary "dead spot" in our development should we delay that long.
I think June 2012, or thereabouts is the perfect solution. This decision would allow the best compromise. Waiting one year would mean the leadership race would begin soon, but at first on the back burner, gently rising in action, just as we get develop a rhythm with the new realities. Time to breathe, time to focus on structure issues, but not off the distance so much so that leadership isn’t on our mind. Prospective candidates can quietly travel the country, glad hand, and actually participate in this grassroots conversation, offering their ideas and direction. Liberals can listen without pressure, ponder suggestions and reforms, a one year process could actually be the fundamental "rejuvenation". Not rushing allows time for real new blood to ponder a run, it opens up the possibilities. One year isn’t so long that we sit in perpetual limbo with lame duck leadership, people can see a resolution and we build towards that culmination, hopefully a convention that we can look back on as the turning point for the party.
The one year option looks entirely attractive and responsible. It incorporates this election result and all the challenges we now face, some of which we don’t quite comprehend yet to be honest. The date also reflects the fact we do need a leader, and waiting forever actually stunts reform and renewal, it becomes counter-productive. I believe if we all calm down and recognize what is best for the Liberal Party of Canada in totality, the wide angle lens, June 2012 or thereabouts, looks like "just about right".
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