Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Sunday, January 12, 2003

Drumroll, please...

My first choice candidate for Federal New Democrat leader is...

(can you feel the tension?)

Okay, so anyone who has been keeping score so far knows the one candidate I have yet to mention is Lorne Nystrom. He leads in three categories, two highly interrelated, among the six candidates. The first and unrelated one is that, along with Layton, he's got the whole communications spectrum in reach: he can preach fire and brimstone, and he can get all intellectual, but mostly, he's simply reasonable, well-spoken, and calm. The first of the related pluses: he's very likely the candidate furthest right. That doesn't make him a Tory by any stretch (though I suspect the Mesloesque types in the party might disagree), and it doesn't even make him a Liberal. He's fought on the left in the House for over thirty years, and his record of doing so speaks for itself. What it makes him, in my mind, is the most pragmatic of the candidates, the one most likely to search for solutions to problems with a left-minded perspective, but without ideological constraints. And that in turn leads me to the connected point: Lorne Nystrom is the candidate with the best shot at winning a federal election for the NDP. Some voters will always be alienated by the NDP attached to any candidate's name, but among the open-minded and undecided voters, Lorne is the most able to sound reasoned while at the same time sounding passionate. If Paul Martin pulls the Liberal party further right, Lorne is in the best position to scoop up some of that Liberal vote. I hope that even those on the left fringe of the party will recognize that more of their agenda will become law under a moderate left government than with a wildly left parliamentary rump.

Beyond this, what can Lorne offer? I think he's the candidate most in tune with Alberta, so from my personal perspective, I appreciate that. Pierre Ducasse has said that of the Anglo candidates, Lorne's French is the best. (For the record, among the Francophone candidates? Pierre's English is tops. ;-)) He's been in Parliament since he was twenty-two, so there's very little about the process, about the departments, about governing that he hasn't learned.

Marks against him? Well, being in the House since he was twenty-two may have skewed his perspective somwhat, and even if it hasn't it certainly leaves him open to criticisms that he doesn't understand the "real world". And being more from the centre, he might find the left of the party abandoning him the way they did with Bob Rae in Ontario. Hey, that really worked out great for organized labour in Ontario, didn't it? What a clever strategy!

I have one last post on this topic before I'm done... how I think it's going to go on January 25th. And that'll be it for the partisan stuff, at least until the 26th.

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