It's beginning to look like Peter MacKay will have an easy path to the leadership of the Conservative Party. Martin Taube writes that easy victories can lead to disasters. He points to the ill fated voyage of Kim Campbell:
In 1993, Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Kim Campbell declared her intentions to replace outgoing prime minister Brian Mulroney. She was well-liked by caucus, and more than half of them backed her. There was hope she would evolve into a Canadian version of then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Prominent Tories like Perrin Beatty, Pat Carney, Joe Clark and Michael Wilson all opted against running. They likely sensed a massive tidal wave toward a political coronation, and put their leadership ambitions on hold. In most cases, for good.
Campbell turned out to be a disaster. Her weaknesses became painfully obvious. She had barely any political experience, a poor understanding of economic policy, and no filter with the public or press. Her huge lead almost evaporated, and she was fortunate to beat Charest for the PC leadership.
Leadership races test candidates' metal. Campbell was new and untested:
During her infamous interview with Peter C. Newman for Vancouver Magazine, she called Canadians who stayed out of the political process “apathetic SOBs,” and said she became an Anglican to keep away from “the evil demons of the papacy.”
The PCs went down from 157 seats to 2, and never recovered. Campbell lost her own seat, and resigned shortly thereafter. In her concession speech, she said, “Gee, I’m glad I didn’t sell my car.” It was the only amusing comment she ever made.
It's true that Peter MacKay has been around for a lot longer than Kim Campbell was. But he's been out of the game for awhile and he may be rusty. He -- and the Conservative Party -- should get a run for their money.
Image: Spencer Fernando