Monday, 11 April 2016

Mulcair Bites the Dust

Tom Mulcair was the obvious choice when he became NDP leader. The untimely death of Jack Layton and the NDP sweep of Quebec in the 2011 Federal Election meant that the experienced Quebec politician who started the party's momentum in that province was the best politician, the only politician, who could respectably lead the party in opposition.

So we can be a little more forgiving of the NDP for choosing him than we could of the liberals for choosing Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion. But only a little bit. In hindsight the guy was a complete disaster. An arrogant, finger wagging, bearded man in his mid sixties. This guy was going to run for PM in 2019?

He did score some points from journalists who cover Ottawa politics for using his lawyer training to grill the Conservatives in the House of Commons while they were in power, mainly about the Senate expense scandal. But the 99.7% of Canadians who have never watched CPAC didn't see the performances, so they had to take the journalists word for it.  And in a country with a $3 trillion economy, history will probably give his months-long surgical lasering in on a $90,000 cheque the significance it deserves.

Other than that the guy mostly did his best to draw attention to himself and mostly succeeded at making people cringe.  Dutch disease, Angry Birds, Hotline Bling, a door-stopper autobiography, and "Mul-care" on John Oliver. Who could take this guy seriously? Who cared that he was once a provincial environment minister or Layton's Quebec lieutenant? It all seems like a million lifetimes ago. And these episodes would have been embarrassing, if anyone had actually noticed any of them.  I really don't think many people did.

Worse, as a moderate Quebec mushy-middle federalist, he appealed to no one. How was he ever going to bridge the gap between the party's two main constituencies? You have militants on the prairies and out West, where the NDP brand has traction but commodities are a big business that everyone and their brother works in, and the downtown dwelling academics and Naomi Kleins of this world who say they are activists for equality but are really upper-class middle-aged white people who've already made their fortunes peddling $50-word laced ideological garbage. I'm sure someone can bring these factions together, but it wasn't going to be him.

After October, Tom Mulcair was destined to spend the next 4 years desperately seeking the attention that would give him legitimacy. When we look at what happened since he became leader in 2012, it was pretty obvious no one was going to give it to him. Why don't you go enjoy your pension Tom?