Turning inner space into outer space

December 18, 2010

Sometimes the middle path wins

Running as everyone’s No. 2 choice might not seem like the best of strategies, but that’s what George Abbott is doing — and let’s not forget another Liberal of a different stripe who used that strategy and succeeded. For awhile anyway.

Abbott was in the newsroom Friday for a talk with reporters and editors about his bid for the B.C. Liberal party leadership. He admits he isn’t the first choice for a lot of people. Those honours go mainly to Kevin Falcon and Christy Clark. Still, he’s hoping to come up the middle as a compromise choice. He’s moderate, and proud of it.

He didn’t mention Stephane Dion or even allude to him, but I can’t help but remember how Dion used a similar strategy to win the leadership of the federal Liberal party. It had come down to a choice between two strong contenders — Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. Both had their hard core of support, but the soft middle couldn’t be persuaded to back either one of them in the final push. That created an opportunity for Dion, and the rest is history.

Of course, even if Abbott did have the Dion strategy in the back of his mind, he would not want to suffer Dion’s ultimate fate. Some strategies are good, but only up to a point.