We lost the damned election. We got our sails properly trimmed. We ought to consider ourselves lucky that we held on to Stornoway because I, for one, am not all that sure we deserved it.
Many are running around with the standard, Republican-machine myth that Dion was "stabbed in the back." That's how the Repugs blamed away Viet Nam and it's how they're trying to rid themselves of responsibility for everything from Iraq to Wall Street to Afghanistan.
Steph didn't need anyone to stab him in the back. He was too busy committing Seppuku all on his own.
We entrusted Mr. Dion to lead the party into the next election. That's something of a blank cheque - so long as you win and not a month longer. He was the leader and a lot of us, me included, made that so.
But, in taking on that authority (power he'd asked all of us to entrust to him), Mr. Dion took on a heavy burden of obligation. We weren't saying to him to lead us but to lead us back to power, to government. We trusted Stephane Dion to do the math and steer our party onto the path back.
Mr. Dion accepted that undertaking and he failed us. Yes, he failed us. As reported in today's Toronto Star, Dion was warned by the party's pollster - seven weeks before the election - that a green shift campaign would backfire. It would bring us down. It would cost us seats. I don't need to tell you what he did. We all watched what followed.
You Dionistas act as though this is of no moment. Anything but. Rarely do we get the opportunity to judge the qualities of our own candidate as we did this time. And yet the closer we looked at him, the less there was to support.
Leaving the Green Shift out of this entirely, Dion showed he wasn't fit to lead when he vacillated, prevaricated and. finally, capitulated on Afghanistan. No one who had read his early pronouncements and then witnessed his awful retreat from them could help but see the limits of Mr. Dion's integrity.
You know, there's a reason why the Liberal Party became known as Canada's Natural Governing Party. That's because the party was once a party of Keith Davey liberals who knew that retaining power was the only path to gradual but effective reform.
The LPC and the Canadian voter once shared a common chord. I think Mr. Dion tried and failed to contact that populace. At the end of the day, he allowed "Liberals" to become seen as outsiders.
I believe Stephane Dion may have damaged the Liberal Party more than we'll know for a year or two to come. That's the way these things go. But, in the meantime, both sides need to put the finger pointing and condemnation away and get on with the job of rebuilding what we both ultimately want. The party needs all of us to, for a while, put it first.