I was walking out last night shortly after Dion was elected (I didn't stay in front of the TV for the speeches) and I started remembering parts of a quote... I couldn't find it until just now. It's from John Stuart Mill:
"Lord, enlighten thou our enemies," should be the prayer of every true Reformer; sharpen their wits, give acuteness to their perceptions, and consecutiveness and clearness to their reasoning powers: we are in danger from their folly, not from their wisdom; their weakness is what fills us with apprehension, not their strength.The Liberals have a nasty habit of blaming us every time they lose an election. I have said, and will always say, that Paul Martin's weaknesses were his own, Stephen Harper's strengths are his own, and the Canadian people chose accordingly. The NDP has nothing to apologize for by running a strong campaign on the left flank of the Liberal Party.
The potential of an Ignatieff victory was what filled me with apprehension - I believe he would have lost the next election to Harper, or if he won he would still have been a disastrous PM. I want Stephen Harper to lose in the next election, but more than that I want someone on the left to win. My preference is obviously (and admittedly delusional) that the NDP run a strong campaign and win.
There is, however, an important corollary to that - it gains us nothing if the NDP's victories can only come from a weakened Liberal party. If we can only win when the opposition is weak, well, that makes us Liberals then doesn't it?
I welcome the opportunity for the NDP to run against a Liberal Party run by Stephane Dion. Not because I think Dion will be weak, but because I think he will be strong, and I want my party to be tested. If we lose, then we start again stronger the next time. Better - far better - for the NDP specifically, and progressives generally if the next election is decided on the left than on the right.