As we all expected, poor Mr. Dion did the smart thing and announced his resignation on Monday. However, he surprised us all -- and showed he had some fight in him -- by resigning to delay said resignation until May, when the Liberals will swarm Vancouver in an attempt to get elected leader of the party. Oh boy, oh boy, who will it be, this new leader?
Top contenders as of right now seem to be Bob Rae and Micheal Ignatieff, the two front-runners in the last Liberal leadership race before Dion snuck up with a surprise-attack Kennedy endorsement. But are either of them up to the job? I mean, it was bad enough two years ago, what with the Sponsorship scandal and Jean Chrétien's book and Canadians hating Paul Martin's big dumb face. Now, with their worst showing in over a century (that sounds WAY longer than "since Confederation," for some reason), the Grits are going to need some serious horsepower to pull them out of the mud. They'll need someone who can demonstrate strong leadership, ensure that the party isn't so desperately cash-strapped, and inspire confidence in voters in the way that Dion didn't seem to be able to.
While Rae and Iggy would probably objectively make good leaders, they both have baggage. Iggy the egghead spent 30 years gallivanting around the USA while Rae let the Ontario economy go down the tubes as premier in the 90s, before abandoning the Ontario NDP for the federal Liberals (the fact that his reasons for leaving were probably totally accurate is beside the point!).
So, I propose a few other names for Liberal leadership.
circa Raiders of the Lost Ark
Will pointed out that if Indiana Jones was a spry, treasure-hunting, Nazi-thwarting professor in the '30s, he is almost certainly dead by now, to which I reply that Indiana Jones is a fictional character and therefore cannot technically die. Dr. Jones almost certainly has tenure, considering he seems to be able to take long sabbaticals from work (maybe he simply doesn't lecture during the summer semester) and often be on the questionable side of the law without ever being fired, or even subject to a performance review. So we can safely assume that he has the intellect and dedication necessary to run a party and hopefully a country. After all, politics and Judeo-Christian history are practically the same thing, right? Furthermore, he's a doer as well as a thinker, and has an uncanny ability to talk his way out of situations before busting out the gun and/or whip.
Leadership skills: He can lead crusades and raiders, why not a parties and countries?
Financial force: He doesn't seem to be independently wealthy, so we are assuming he gets funding for his crazy adventures from the university. If you can convince your faculty to give you money to go find the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail, you win the Lifetime Fundraiser Award.
Voter confidence: If he can woo the female vote as well as he can woo the females, he is basically set.
Batman is a total BAMF. No one is going to mess with him. Unfortunately, the House of Commons is more about verbal debates than ass-kicking, so Batman might be at a disadvantage there, but he looks so tough that it is going to be hard to criticize him for fear of what might happen in the parking lot afterward. Bruce Wayne is a business magnate, so we can feel confident that he knows what he's doing with the economy, and if his cabinet is anything like his collection of advisers in The Dark Knight, it will be iron-clad.
Leadership skills: So-so. He's more of a figurehead than a policy-maker, that's for sure. He had better find a Harvey Dent to be his deputy if he ever gets elected.
Financial force: Again, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire, so his head for finance should be good. At least you can rest assured that he will pay his tab after the leadership race is over.
Voter confidence: Questionable. Batman may not be the Prime Minister Canada wants, but the one it deserves ... or needs ... something like that.
Sometimes I wonder if Vladimir Putin is a man, or a drop of some war god's testosterone-laden sweat made flesh. Putin's CV of ass-kicking could rival that of Batman -- Putin does it without a fancy suit or gadgets. Now, he even has a DVD out to help you learn judo! You too can fight tigers, Georgians, and nosy journalists.
Putin has an advantage over the other contenders on this list: political experience. He was President of Russia for a while, and then he decided to be Prime Minister (the electoral process is so messy, wouldn't you agree?). He might have a bit of a difficult time putting together a caucus, however, as nervous MPs look the other way while thinking about polonium cocktails.
Leadership skills: Proven to be absolute, even if it means circumventing democracy (or the spirit thereof).
Financial force: Russia's economy is no longer crap, so someone is doing something financially right. In a pinch, he can always sell more judo DVDs, or pose for a Vladimir Putin swimsuit calender.
Voter confidence: Depends on the demographic. He's already a political sex symbol, and fascists will love him. But the Ukranians aren't so crazy -- Putin would lose the prairies like Rae would lose Ontario.