Thursday, June 3, 2010

The wildcard in the next federal election

The one wildcard in the next federal election is Michael Ignatieff. We do not know how he will play out as leader in an election.

It is a very different world during the campaign than before the campaign when one is leader of the opposition. Pre writ it is the government that gets most of the air time in the media, but once there is an election this all changes and the leaders of the two major parties get almost equal media time. We have not yet been in an environment where the public has been bombarded with a lot of coverage of Iggy.

I have no idea how election period coverage will play out for him, but given the type of person he is and the years of time he has had spent in front of a camera and writing for newspapers, he is very unlikely to make a mistake and it is not a stretch to think he might play well in front in an election campaign in a way no Liberal leader has been able to since Trudeau.

Chretien was hardly a media star. Paul Martin excelled in the backrooms but was weak in front of the camera. Stephane Dion - what is there that needs to be said about him?

This is an interview with Michael Ignatieff in 1987 - it is only one pre politics example of how he does in front of the camera. Ignore what he is talking about, but how he interacts with the camera and the interviewer

He is reserved but not wooden, he is an intellectual but not a distant ivory tower type. He is an academic but he can write thoughtful books with a quiet passion. It would be a huge error to underestimate him going into an election. The one aspect of an election campaign with him as leader that should scare the NDP and Conservatives is the debate. Whatever the format, he has the best skills of anyone in more than generation to score a big win in a debate.

If he is underestimated going into an election, he could very likely do so much better than expected that his ability and skill will become the talk of the election.

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