NDP Leadership #97

107 posts / 0 new
Last post

jjuares wrote:

I am also getting very tired of the tribalism of the NDP. There is a historical opportunity here. I am sorry but the canddidate who has the best shot of beating Harper is going to be near or at the top of my list. For me that is Mulcair.


socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

And as a Torontonian, I'll tell you that *I'm* disappointed in the lack of diversity in the NDP here. I have a lot of friends who work with racialized youth and other poor/marginalized/anti-racist groups. But if you ask them about politics, a lot of the stakeholders in these communities are either non-political, or Liberal. And if you ask them why they support the Liberals over the NDP, they can't tell you why exactly. They sympathize with us, but they never really connect to us. We just hope our message delivers itself, and our organization remains largely anglo-protestant.


I grew up in Lanark county in Ontario, where when given money to market their communities in order to attract industry in the 1960s, they put out a brochure that said one of the reasons firms should locate there was that the region was 80% hard-working Anglo-Saxon Protestant stock (most of the remaining 20% being heathen Irish Catholic like me at the time), not even realizing how this would be seen by others. I am not saying the NDP purists are racists but their strident claims for lifelong socialist purity can be seen as alienating to others thinking of joining the party. I have seen it happen. However, I have to admit that as people join they do have an impact on the party's value system, just as marrying someone is going to have some affect on each partner's values if the marriage is to survive. Jack and Tom realized that by changing how the NDP spoke to Quebec it had the potential to grow the party without betraying its principles. There are other groups we can reach who have not previously voted for us without betraying our principles. That is why I am voting for Mulcair. 

Idealistic Prag... Idealistic Pragmatist's picture

CanadaApple wrote:

Okay, I've asked a few questions about to the Mulcair supporters here, now I want to ask a question to the Topp supporters and other people who have him as one of their top (no pun intended) choices. How do you view his "retail skills", with only a little over a month to go 'till the convention? Personally, without ever having met or seen him in person, I think they're pretty good. But of course, I want to know what the rest of you think.  What do you think of him in front of a camera? Giving an interview? During the debates? Giving speeches? Doing meet and greets? Kissing? ; ) Is their any differences in him between in english and french?

All answers welcome!

I don't know if I qualify as a Topp supporter, but I've always had him ranked highly and often had him ranked first (I swear, I won't have my final list until the moment I sit in front of the computer to vote), so I'll give it a shot.

I had two experiences with Topp in person during this campaign before I took off to Tulips-and-PR-Land. The first time was at the very beginning of the campaign, at a very informal, stand-around-and-chat-with-hors d'oeuvres meet-and-greet. He was awkward and clearly not at all comfortable in his own skin, and a lot of people were really taken aback by this, especially since the event also included several of the other candidates who were working the room much, much more effectively. The second time was at a local riding event that I helped organize, a few months later, that was structured around a short intro speech followed by a long, long Q&A and then a short informal chat-with-members time. It was like he was a different guy: when he spoke, his points were always wrapped in a compelling narrative that made you stop and listen, and he was funny and warm and yes, even charismatic. Even in the informal chat part afterward, where he clearly wasn't as much in his element, he was good--I watched him trade jokes with our discussion moderator with ease and listen carefully and say thoughtful things to a local First Nations activist. There was a real magic in the room that night--many people who started off opposed to him ended up liking him despite themselves, and many who started off open to him but undecided ended up thinking he was the cat's pajamas.

My take on this at the time was that he was improving, and fast. I've since realized from talking to a lot of people in different places, though, that it's not that simple. Like I said earlier this morning in another thread, I think it's pretty clear that Topp is much better in some situations than others (he has the best chance to shine in an informal forum where he can tell longer stories to get his point across), and that when it comes to more personal encounters, he has good nights and bad nights. As for his debate performances, I think they're nowhere near as good as many other candidates' (and nowhere near as good as Topp himself can be in another format), but steadily improving.

Where should that leave you? Only you can decide that. I am really encouraged by that one "magic" evening event, because it suggests that he really can connect with people in a real human way, but I admit I would be even more encouraged if he were better able to translate that to other formats.


A whole thread overnight. Amazing.

Probably another one I won't see.

I concurr, to the letter, with what IP just siad about Topp. I've even had the similar very different experiences.

I said earlier that I think he'll do fine- he has a public personna that works. For all the hype, thats all thats required. There are plenty of very successful PMs and Premeirs who only have that- Stephen Harper for one. Darell Dexter was more awkward in public at early stages, including unsettling ticks like sort of locking his lips, and people liked him.

At moments Brian even does well in the public forums. He's clearly learning to be short and to the point. Earlier he would just end abruptly. He ends more smoothly now, and at times does very well.

I made the counter-intuitive remark earlier that I'm confident he has the speaking skills to make his message resonate enough to win this. The real challenge is that it appears not to be a simple message to get across, which means you have to have a damn good campaign to succeed at it. And even though that is Brian's strong suit, we'll see if he is up to it.




In light of the long overnight discusion about ideological purity, a couple of old points bear repeating;

1. Tom took out his first NDP membership in 1974. Topp only in 76. I am very sure it was long before any of the others except perhaps Nash. Ashton wasn't even born and Cullen was one year old.

2. I understand that in the Charst cabinet / caucus there were four or five former NDP federal candidates. Perhaps someone could verify this. There was always a significnt left-wing faction in the QLP and it included Tom.

3. I get the impression that even if Tom had signed the Regina Manifesto that still would not give him sufficient credentials in the eyes of some. 

And Wilf, your intereting list in post #54 is slightly dated. Denis Blanchette endorsed Tom last week.




Topic locked