MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: The leadership question

I tried to watch a bit of the Democratic Party convention last week, just like I tried to watch the Republican Party convention...

I tried to watch a bit of the Democratic Party convention last week, just like I tried to watch the Republican Party convention the week before, because, well, it’s important and everything. Who ends up becoming the president of what’s still one of the most powerful countries in the world, and also happens to be our neighbour, will directly affect us.

But hey, yawn.

Sure a trimmer and less-encumbered-with-baggage Bill Clinton can still wow ‘em and Barack Obama is no slouch himself, not to mention the First Lady, but what are they really deciding here?

Absolutely nothing. The nominee, both for the Democrats and the Republicans, was decided long ago, these conventions just make it official. I know in the good old days it sometimes came down to the convention floor but apparently in these days of spin and control leaving such things to the last minute just isn’t tolerable, or even thinkable.

So the best such a scripted affair can hope for is to gain some momentum with speeches and fanfare and move on to the actual campaign and televised debates. It is what it is, mostly about money it seems, but it sure takes away any real drama from these conventions. Oh, well, it’s all over now and we’ll see what happens come Nov. 6 in the land of the stars and stripes……

…..and speaking of stripes and political processes, the federal Liberal party has been meeting to come up with the best way to elect their new leader. Thankfully, it wasn’t televised.

The once powerful party that previously thought it was destined to rule is down to 35 seats and third-party status and an interim leader who many still think is from the NDP. You know, the party that actually has official opposition status and recently went through a leadership convention with real candidates and some sense of drama. Take note America.

And the Liberals will do the same eventually, it’s just right now they’re trying to find a way to expand their fan base when it comes to voting on a leader, likely because there ain’t enough true Grits around right now to generate any kind of excitement.

But, hey, the potential for excitement is there down the road. Let’s face it, Justin Trudeau is the frontrunner, maybe even the only runner, in this race and the buzz potential to put a young face, with a political pedigree, and maybe even an actual orator on the Canadian political landscape is, well, dare I say it, somewhat exciting.

Say what you want about the conventions in the States being done deals before they start, both parties boast gifted speakers, with passion and poise, who can get the patriotic juices flowing.

We do have Stephen Harper. The only interesting thing I can remember him saying, ever, is that Calgary is the No. 1 city in Canada. Which is wrong of course, ahem, but at least it showed he had passion for his home town and wasn’t afraid to alienate someone by saying it. Of course he was speaking at the Stampede at the time so maybe he got caught up in the excitement of the centennial or something.

However, he should go off script more often because the rest of the time he comes across as bureaucratic and dull, hardly the stuff that inspires a nation. Heavy sigh. Oh well, maybe Trudeau could get Harper’s mojo going and elevate the national debate to new heights…….

….and on the topic of uninspiring leadership, isn’t it wonderful that NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman both say they won’t collect a salary if the lockout goes ahead Sept. 16?

Gee, that’s great. Meanwhile the two sides aren’t even talking as the clock keeps ticking to the third work stoppage in recent memory. Get over yourselves and the bogus PR crap, and actually lead and get a deal done. Enough already.

—Glenn Mitchell is the managing editor for The Morning Star