...for everybody, it seems.
Over the weekend, there was a big stink in Canadian Liberal circles over allegations that Joe Volpe paid for the memberships of "instant Liberals", including those who had no idea they were in the party, and a few that were, um, dead. This was all in the Quebec riding of Papineau, where Volpe had had better-than-expected numbers.
Yeah, bad press. People expected Volpe to bail out.
This morning, however, the situation got worse. Not only is Volpe staying in, all but accusing Michael Ignatieff of being behind the leak of supposedly-confidential liberal membership lists, but it appears that Ignatieff did the same damned thing in both a riding in Scarborough and in his own riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. So now Iggy's tactics appear to have bitten him on the ass.
Why do I say Iggy's tactics? Well, first, because the scuttlebutt is that the leaking of the info was the work of Ignatieff's Quebec team.
More importantly, though, it's because ever since this thing started, Ignatieff has been the one with the absolute most to benefit from Volpe getting out of the race. Leaving aside Volpe's identity-based support from Italians and other minority groups, he and Ignatieff are competing for the center-right in the party, and Volpe has almost certainly bled away votes and delegates that Ignatieff could really, really use to stem his decline. Thus, he has every reason to try to bring Volpe down, and the connections in the party to do it. Ignatieff can safely ignore people like Kennedy, who are unlikely to throw to him and who doesn't compete for his votes, but Ignatieff is pretty much a dead duck at this point unless he can carve those votes out of Volpe's hide.
Of course, the objection might be "but the leak was only to highlight the unique dishonesty of the Volpe campaign". Certainly one could think it was unique, but here's the problem: it ain't. It's rife in politics, particularly in Canadian politics. Opening up every single Liberal to scrutiny would have been disastrous, because it would have implicated everybody, except maybe Ignatieff.
So what did Iggy's people do? They only released the information on Italian Liberals. It is vanishingly unlikely that InstaLiberals in that community would be backing anybody but Volpe, so it was a winner for Ignatieff- Volpe looks bad, and he looks good, as any supporters of his in that community would almost certainly be long-standing Liberals who were attracted to him for whatever reason.
Unfortunately, it was still a dumb move. First, because as soon as it got out that it was only Italians, it became immediately obvious that this was a stunt, and Joe could (quite effectively) play the race card to stay in the race. That will help him keep the minority support he needs from defecting. Second, because Ignatieff didn't keep his own nose clean, and Volpe's machine still has enough power to ensure that the same thing could happen to him. Volpe's support is pretty much rock-hard, whereas Ignatieff's is ephemeral as hell. ANYTHING reducing Ignatieff to Volpe's perceived level is an absolute disaster for him, especially now that Bob Rae is the presumptive leader (thanks, largely, to an "air-war" communications strategy that outdoes even Ignatieff.
(In other words, Ignatieff has far, far more to lose. And just lost it.)
So now the Liberals face a war between Volpe and Ignatieff- the former seem as crooked, but with support that will let him ride all the way to the finish line, and enough support that they can't ignore him...and the "golden child", now sullied and dirtied by the same muck that he had thrown at "Diamond Joe Volpe".
Probably should have thought things through before so obviously ratf--king Volpe, huh? You don't screw somebody over on one of YOUR weaknesses.
(I'd say that Harper must be pleased as punch, but considering just how disastrous his foreign policy has been for his electoral chances, I wouldn't pop that champaign just yet.)
Oh, and in related news, George Allen is toast. Sorry, but dropping the "N-bomb" and saying that you moved to Virginia because it's a state where "blacks knew their place" isn't something you get out from under.
(American politics seems so much simpler in comparison. Primaries really do change things, don't they?)