I've come back from my hiatus as a well-rounded and well-respected blog writer (just go with it) to discover several things about politics: you can now admit you inhaled, war isn't as popular as it used to be, and Thomas Mulcair is still a loser.
The esteemed Leader of the Official Opposition has a lot on his plate these days, what with holding Harper's Conservative government to account and trying to keep the momentum the Orange Crush gave to the NDP two years ago alive. On either count, he has been a bit of a failure. The government runs wild these days, with the Opposition able to do little, while Trudeaumania 2.0 and the lack of Jack Layton has taken the wind out of the NDP's sails. Very simply put, Mulcair is powerless to stop the gradual decline of his party back into third place.
That being said, he certainly has not helped his cause any. The push on abolishing the Senate, while interesting, is bizarre because the status of the Senate isn't exactly the priority of most Canadians. Making it the centerpiece of your fall agenda is the wrong way to go when both the Conservatives and Liberals are focusing on economic issues. It just makes the NDP look like a party that is more concerned with what is essentially a fringe issue, rather than in tune with the concerns of Canadians overall.
Mulcair also has an issue whereby he is constantly being outmaneuvered by Justin Trudeau. Yes, Mulcair had a great run during the last session where he really took the government to the wall - but he did it within the House, a place that most Canadians are not and will never be or look at. Trudeau has been waging a campaign among the media and newspapers, taking his story and ideas directly to the medium most people are watching. Whether its on the pot issue, transparency of MP expenses, or on the issue surrounding Quebec's Charter of Values or whatever its called, Trudeau has taken clear, direct stances - Mulcair's responses were either negative, or just footnotes in the larger articles. People keep comparing his opinion and actions to those of Trudeau - an effective leader would have it the other way around by now.
Someone somehwere compared Mulcair to former Trudeau, Sr. adversary Robert Stanfield, the man famous for being photographed fumbling a football. Stanfield had substance, had respectable gravitas, and could clearly hold his own in any argument against his younger, more stylish opponent. Yet in the long run, Canadians didn't care - they liked Trudeau's flashy nature and bold ideals. Mulcair is, simply, being outclassed, despite being someone who by all rights should be seen as great Prime Ministerial material.
And New Democrats are starting to take note of his inability to control the agenda. According to the most recent Forum poll, only 58% of NDP respondents approved the way Mulcair is doing his job, and only 46% considered him the best option for PM. Numbers that lag far behind either Trudeau or Harper among their own party members. That's pathetic, to say the least.
Its possible that it isn't too late, after all there is still two years to go before the next election, and things change, scandals surface, etc. But its fairly clear that Thomas Mulcair is not doing well on his own, and his leadership qualities are ill-suited for the modern political arena. The man either needs to commit to a major overhaul soon, or possibly consign himself to oblivion, and possibly the NDP with him.