ANOTHER UPSET, THIS TIME IN ALBERTA
What's gotten into the drinking water of all these political types, choosing leaders? Yesterday Conservatives in Alberta elected Ed Stelmach leader and Premier on the final ballot of their one-member-one-vote leadership election. This obviously came as a big shock to all the folks who thought it was a two-way Jim Dinning-Ted Morton race. But a lot of PCs didn't want Morton because they felt he was too extreme and unelectable in the big cities, and people knew that a lot of people wouldn't vote for Dinning because they thought he was unacceptable to a lot of right-wing conservatives. There were people threatening to quit the party and join the Alberta Alliance if Dinning got in. So they went with Stelmach, mainly in order to stop Morton. Then all Morton's votes went to Stelmach and put him into office.
It seems people aren't electing people these days; they're voting against people! Who knows what was so great about Stelmach; the reason he won was because people were repulsed by the other two guys! Same with Stephane Dion who was elected Liberal leader because people hated both Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae; Iggy because he was in with the Americans, and Rae because of his NDP past and reputation.
It would be nice if we had people getting elected because people were wild about them, not because they were repulsed by the other folks in the race. What's gotten into politics in this country? Everyone's voting against everyone.
I think what doomed Dinning was when Anne McLellan told Stephen Taylor at the Liberal convention that Dinning was her choice for premier! That was the end; all the Paul Martin comparisons came back. That would be like Stephen Harper endorsing Michael Ignatieff or someone like that for Liberal leader. A lot of Liberals thought Ignatieff was basically a Republican anyway, but that's the dynamic that went on there, too. Same thing with the Alberta PCs, because Ted Morton had the Bob Rae role- basically an outsider associated with the old Reform Party.
From the sounds of it, though, the Alberta PCs made a good choice in going with Stelmach. At least his choice will unite the party. Had either one of the other guys gotten in, people would have been quitting the party and splitting the party in half. For sure.