Saturday, May 16, 2009

On illogical suggestions

I'm not entirely sure how much bulletin-board material is needed to motivate any of the challengers' campaigns in the Saskatchewan NDP leadership race - or how much effect it might have at this point in the contest. But Dwain Lingenfelter's response as to why he wouldn't have been involved in the Meadow Lake membership controversy looks to offer up about as strong a motivator as any challenger's campaign could ask for:
Lingenfelter said he was putting the controversy behind him.

He said it was illogical to suggest his campaign would even try to manipulate the outcome of the leadership vote.

"The point is that our campaign believed at that time we were winning strongly on the first ballot, strongly on the first ballot," Lingenfelter told CBC News. "Why would anyone in their right mind do this to get more votes? We didn't need more votes."
Now, in hindsight it may be that Lingenfelter will prove to have been right. But at the time before the membership deadline, his campaign presumably wouldn't have had any way of knowing exactly how many memberships would have been sold by his competitors. And in a race where the party was (reasonably accurately) estimating that 15,000 members would vote in the leadership race, Lingenfelter's total of 5,000 would seem to have made him anything but a sure thing for a first-ballot win.

Mind you, as I've mentioned before there's probably a strong case to be made that the incremental likelihood of those 1,100 memberships making the difference would have left no reason to limit any scheme to that number. But the more Lingenfelter makes it sound like his campaign simply isn't taking the leadership race seriously (and how else can one characterize a statement that "we didn't need more votes" in a one member, one vote election?), the more NDP members may wonder whether they need to send a message to Lingenfelter that he can't take the party for granted.

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