writes that, philosophically, he's a conservative:
As a conservative, I believe in a market economy. I believe that, when it comes to government, less is more. I appreciate that taxes and government are unavoidable — but I’d still prefer less of both. I believe that governments should respect taxpayers and tax dollars and that it should operate in a transparent and accountable way.
But, these days, he's not a Conservative:
I’d been a member of this party since its inception, and was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative twice. I personally know 12 out of the 14 candidates in the current leadership race. Three of them are friends of mine. But this time, I couldn’t think of a good reason to get involved.
This leadership race has been a train wreck, dominated by Trump Lite xenophobic dog whistles and embarrassing displays of ignorance of Canadian federalism and how our Constitution works. Part of the problem is the math. With fourteen candidates chasing the prize, a candidate needs to be colourful to attract attention.
Thoughtful policy positions don’t stand a chance when the circus comes to town. The loudest and the most outrageous clowns always shout down the rational and the reasonable. By this standard, we’re led to believe that Kevin O’Leary and Kellie Leitch are frontrunners. Brad Trost also wins undeserved media attention by telling a lot of people (who never asked) that’s he’s troubled by “the whole gay thing.”
Rathgeber really doesn't know who will win; but he's not hopeful:
Given the ranked preferential ballot and each of the 338 ridings counting equally, predicting a winner is pretty tough. Perhaps a second-tier candidate like Michael Chong or Andrew Scheer or Lisa Raitt can emerge and save the party from itself.
But I am becoming less and less hopeful. This contest will be decided ultimately by those who paid $15 for the privilege of getting involved. That means the next leader won’t necessarily be the smartest or the most electable candidate, but someone who can sell many memberships and attract second and third preferences from the competition.
One wonders how many other people feel as Rathgeber does.