Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thinking outside the caucus

The Telegraph-Journal reports today (in an article I wouldn't dare link to) that Jacques Dubé, former president of Service New Brunswick and current chief of staff to Minister Greg Thompson, was being lobbied to run for Tory leader but has declined.

It refers to two other potential outside candidates: "Robert Hatheway, a Fredericton orthodontist and the chief executive officer of Capital Airways, and Lisa Merrithew, 35, a bilingual Tory campaigner working in Ottawa, who is daughter of the late federal cabinet minister Gerry Merrithew."

Perhaps having about the same feelings in terms of the quality of members of the caucus, the article adds: "Several MLAs are also thought to be mulling a bid," but doesn't bother to mention any of these mopes by name.

10 comments:

Eugene said...

Hatheway is the only name that has been mentioned to date that would do anything to help the PC's. Current MLA's are mostly the same group from the Lord era (i.e. past their shelf date) while Dube and Merrithew are the typical bureaucratic/party insider names that pop up come leadership conventions, yet would simply perpetuate the kind of politics we've all grown to hate.

The key to the PC's success is to ensure the current party brass don't get "their" candidate. They need someone to clean house.

nbpolitico said...

I think you are correct, in general, but I do believe Merrithew could be that candidate. She was an "insider" only for about six months and managed some considerable improvement in the premier's orientation during that time.

Anonymous said...

nbp,

I can tell you are a fan of Merrithew, but I just can't see why. She was and still is a spin-doctor. Nothing more. Being a good one doesn't make it any better, in fact I would argue that it makes it even worse.

More often than not, when I don't agree with what you are saying I can still see your point, but in this case I am really baffled.
The only thing better for the Liberals than Merrithew being leader is Jacques Dubious Dube.

I can see that Merrithew stands out among the other contestants, but that isn't a great feat.

I agree with Eugene that in order for the PCs to be relevant again, they must clean house. Otherwise they will end up like the federal Liberals and sitting on the sidelines for another term until a real leader shows up.

Monctonite.

Spinks said...

Wouldn't dare link? Where's your sense of adventure man? Looniest policy I've ever heard of. Why doesn't CanadaEast just put up a "Please don't read us" sign. Anyway I digress. The PC's do need to outside caucus and I'll throw out the name I've thrown out before, Raj Venugopal.

Eugene said...

Spinks, Raj is a two time loser at the federal level, once in the election, once for the nomination. Too much baggage.

Spinks said...

I disagree. He lost an election when the Canadian Alliance and PC's weren't together. He lost the nomination with 6 or so candidates by a handful of votes. I just don't know how his French is. If its poor, write him off. Given the crucifying Allison Brewer took over her lack of French (well and a whole bunch of other stuff that too) it looks like you need to speak both languages fluently if you want to be leader of a political party in NB or a really thick skin.

nbpolitico said...

I think the best thing we could do is all stop linking to CanadaEast just as they suggest and they can watch their hits drop. As they say, "be careful what you wish for".

As for my thoughts on Merrithew, folks I've got news for you. Like it or not, right or not, in politics these days in order to win you've got to be attractive, charismatic and be a good messanger. The latter is most important and that is what a spin doctor is best at.

The most successful politicians are those that can make the best of bad situations and make people believe in the policies and ideas they're putting forward. Merrithew is a pro at this.

Am I saying she would be a good leader in terms of setting policy or running the province? No. I am saying in the game of electability, she would be good.

Remember, I've long since given up on the PC Party of NB so, for me, this is an academic exercise. I don't know Merrithew well enough to say whether or not I "like" her, but of all the names I've seen to date she is, by far, the best.

At the end of the day, winnability is the most important qualification in politics because even if you have the best ideas in the world, they'll just collect dust if you're to the speaker's left.

Rob said...

"At the end of the day, winnability is the most important qualification in politics because even if you have the best ideas in the world, they'll just collect dust if you're to the speaker's left."

Unfortunately, most of those who possess "win-ability" lack ideas, or at least coherent ones. Example 1: Bernard Lord. Guy got himself elected twice, and no one ever really found out what he stood for. Example 2: John Kerry. Wasn't he nominated based on his ability to win a general election? Example 3: George W. Bush.

I'd prefer a Conservative party that stood up for something they believed in, and sat in Opposition for a few years, rather than a Tory party that wins and does nothing for 4-8 years. I just hope the leadership process becomes a renewal process at the same time. It can be a great way to hash out ideas, build policy, and pick the leader with the best grasp of the issues. I still believe substance can trump image, at least in NB.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, right or not, in politics these days in order to win you've got to be attractive, charismatic and be a good messanger. The latter is most important and that is what a spin doctor is best at.

I completely agree with nbp. However, this can only be accomplished if the party organization is considerably reformed. In doing so, maybe a candidate like Merrithew or Raj could be the young, charismatic face on grassroots ideas generated from a more workable and better attended policy convention [AGM].

Because, as it stands right now, the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative party is running on empty , not to mention, too centralized.

I mean, honestly, what does it mean anymore to be a PC up north, in the Miramichi, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton? I'll tell you what it means: you take the scraps that the Fredericton head office throws you. Sometimes that may mean a few months before an election. This is not being a credible or efficient organization, this is just existing. Plain and simple.

I think it's referred to (as eugene said) as "the kind of politics we've all grown to hate."

Anonymous said...

Raj would be an excellent candidate. But I would doubt the current Liberal government would give him a leave from his job to do this.