- If you're only going to read one analytic take on the NDP leadership campaign, make it Alice's - featuring this take on Thomas Mulcair's strategy in cultivating later-ballot support:
I'm fairly sure I was privy to the exchange between Paul Wells and "Mulcair guy" or at least one very similar between "Mulcair guy" and some other opinion leader in the Ottawa press gallery after the first debate. But the spin I heard there, and from Mulcair operatives since then, leads me to believe they now have a very clear path to victory in mind. Namely: to build up the very clip-able Nathan Cullen in BC as a way of limiting Topp's base there, and energetic Niki Ashton on the prairies to likewise stymie Paul Dewar, and then benefit from both their support on subsequent ballots and/or the preferential ballot in advance. Mulcair's people will tell you that Cullen and Ashton are the only other two who showed any charisma in both languages. Coincidentally or not, the two of them showed up at Mulcair's post-debate party at Brixton's Pub last Sunday, rather than Topp's which was held in the opposite direction, and in Cullen's case in spite of his declared preference for Peggy Nash in the debate question on second choices, whose party was steps from the convention centre where the debate occurred.But for those interested in discussing the race more, there's still plenty more on its way from this corner.
- Meanwhile, Thomas Walkom (in a column I missed during my brief hiatus at the start of the month) points out the subtle differences in economic messages between Brian Topp and Peggy Nash. But it's also worth noting another element of Nash's economic message which figures to resonate in the leadership race and beyond: more than any other candidate she's focused on the need for *stable* economic development, setting up a nice contrast between the right's preference for casino capitalism and the prospect of a more diverse and less crash-prone system.
- Gar Pardy points out that the latest U.S. border security agreement follows the all-too-familiar pattern of trading real sovereignty for vague promises of future economic access.
- Finally, John Ibbitson points out that our culture of political disengagement may have something to do with a lack of mediators between citizens and governments. But while Ibbitson focuses on groups outside politics, I'd note that part of the problem may lie in how at least some parties currently choose to practice politics - with particular emphasis on the Harper strategy of consolidating power within his own office by eliminating any competing voices or interests within his party.