It's week two of the election nobody wanted and this much is clear: Stéphane Dion is Stéphane Dion's worst enemy. To most voters, his Green Shift plan is more like a black hole: Nebulous, difficult to grasp, vaguely threatening, out there, and likely to suck us into a parallel universe where we're ultimately enslaved by a race of evil penguins. A Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll released this weekend suggests the biggest obstacle facing the Liberals is a leadership gap. As the incomparable Chantal Hébert notes in her column today:
Unless he moves the needle of the polls his way over the next five days, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion will spend the rest of the campaign playing the underdog in an opposition sideshow while Stephen Harper turns the main event into a one-man act.
Dion has at most a week to recast himself as a credible alternative to Harper or else the Liberals will find themselves on an irreversible course to a near-historical defeat next month.
Even as a non-partisan (and a Toronto Maple Leafs fan!), this implosion is painful to behold. Come on, Mr. Dion! Pull yourself together! Finish your sentences! Stand up straight! Stop blinking so much! Get yourself a sweater vest, like the guy in this ad!
As it turns out, this isn't so much a federal election as a national referendum on the Liberal leadership. Did they pick the wrong guy? It sure seems that way.
But where have all the other Liberals gone? Why is Dion getting no support from his teammates as he slides across the ice on his belly with his stick between his legs? How many times is Dion mentioned here? Or here?