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Joe, Joe, Joe

It looks like the first sparks in the Liberal leadership campaign have flown between Joe Volpe and Michael Ignatieff. This week Ignatieff started the current this week by suggesting that Volpe's acceptance of tainted money has damaged the reputation of the party and, while not saying directly that Volpe should bow out, he said that he must "draw his own conclusions" as to what would be best for the party. Rather, "Party"; when these guys speak, you can actually hear the capitalization.

In response, Volpe attacked Ignatieff for being the only Liberal leadership candidate backing the Conservative government's stance on Afghanistan in the first all-candidate debate.

What is one to think of all this? Does any of it matter? What does it say of the leadership candidates? On the one hand, in a previous post on the Volpe/rich kids' allowance issue have attacked Volpe for essentially being an ignoble turd and the Liberals for being gutless in not turfing him sight unseen and in other pages, many other pages, I have attacked the Conservative/Liberal "Mission to Afghanistan" for being poorly thought out and potentially eternal. So where does that leave me now?

Naturally it does not matter, as I am not a member of the Liberal Party and therefore will not be casting a vote for a delegate at any point, but I have to score this one for Ignatieff. He has argued his position on the Afghanistan eloquently and it is well thought out. (I just don't happen to agree with it, but that's just me.) He stuck to his guns in the debate and, unlike the rest of the Liberal party, has not changed his mind on the mission because the Liberals are no longer in Sussex Drive and the public mood seems to have changed on the war.

(As an aside, I am not advocating a Bush-like certitude that does not change regardless of the facts - I want my politicians to change their minds as issues evolve and as reality reveals itself; doing otherwise is blind foolishness at best and can be disastrous at worse. However, as I see it, the facts around the war in Afghanistan have not changed appreciably in the last year or two, so those that change their minds on the issue had best do so with good cause or a rebirth of some kind. I am not convinced that the general consensus in the Liberal Party has changed out of a new interpretation of reality rather than a simple finger to the winds of public mood.)

Volpe however, sensing that the Liberal crowd is now against the war, chose to attack Ignatieff on the one issue that appears to differentiate him from the rest of the leadership hopefuls in what was otherwise a staid affair. Combine this little stab with the fact that in returning the illicit donations he chose to announce that he was going to set a new standard for "honesty and openness" somehow (kind of like the little shove and catch "saved your life" thing that teenage boys do to each other on curbs) I can now safely add "opportunistic" to the adjectives I assign to Joe Volpe.

The picture is becoming clearer... opportunistic, ignoble turd.

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