Thomas Mulcair: an NDP leader who passes the Ralph Klein beer test and Tory fear test

One hopes profoundly readers of this blog will indulge its author in running this photograph one more time, given the occasion. NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, chosen by the party as its leader this evening, is like Ralph Klein a politician who seems to be someone an ordinary person could have a beer with. Below: Mr. Klein.

Apparently it took the Conservative Party slime machine less than five minutes this evening to start going after just-elected New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair in an ugly email blast.

The first Conservative email attacking Mr. Mulcair started going out while he was still on the stage in Toronto celebrating his victorious ascent to the leadership of Canada’s Official Opposition.

Even the Conservative Globe and Mail characterized the attack as “vicious,” quoting Conservative Party spokesman Fred DeLorey telling credulous Tory supporters that the new NDP leader is “an opportunist whose high tax agenda, blind ambition, and divisive personality would put Canadian families and their jobs at risk.”

Given the former Reform Party’s propensity for fear-mongering and reactive negativity, it’s mildly surprising that it took them that long – assuming, of course, that it was just happenstance or mischievous children and not one of the Conservatives’ army of robo-callers and monkey-wrenchers who mucked up the NDP’s voting system earlier in the day.

Whatever. Get used to it. The misnamed Conservatives are the Tea Party of Canada whose shady and vicious scorched earth campaign techniques are inspired and taught by their Republican cronies south of the Medicine Line.

The speed and nasty tone of tonight’s Conservative email is proof that, whatever his pluses and minuses seemed as a potential leader, the NDP chose a replacement for Jack Layton who has already earned our unlikable prime minister’s fear. Well, Stephen Harper should be afraid. By the time this is over, I predict, we’ll all be calling the Conservatives the Robo-call Party of Canada!

We can also expect the Conservative media (which nowadays is pretty well all of it) to be quick off the mark in assailing Mr. Mulcair, although its tone is likely to be marginally more polite (except at Sun Media, of course). It will try to sow discord within NDP ranks now that the party’s members have made a choice after a long and exhausting campaign.

Indeed, the same Globe story tried to dismiss Mr. Mulcair as ill-humoured, hard to warm to and having (horrors!) a difficult relationship with the media.

Really? The Toronto Star came a little closer to the reality of the new NDP leader’s personality when its reporter observed in a feature on how the Mulcair team won the leadership that Mr. Mulcair “is, organizers knew, a guy people could have a beer with, despite all those headlines of a difficult personality to the contrary.”

I can vouch for the truth of this statement, as a matter of fact, having had a beer with him.

Indeed, and this is meant as a compliment, Mr. Mulcair’s relationship with voters in many ways reminds me of that of former Alberta premier Ralph Klein – who as readers of this blog will know, could be ill-humoured and whose relationship with the press at times was fraught. Nevertheless, large numbers of voters seemed to think he would be a great guy with whom to have a beer – a conclusion that did him no harm, as observers of the Alberta political scene will recall.

As an Alberta politician himself, a bloodless ideologue like the unappealing Mr. Harper presumably understands very well the kind of danger a living, breathing, human politician like Mr. Mulcair presents to him.

With a provincial election expected to be called as early as the day after tomorrow, Albertans may have an opportunity to see a little more of Mr. Mulcair and experience the positive things he shares in common with the most popular Alberta politician of a generation.

Certainly we hope Mr. Mulcair will include some stopovers in Alberta in his busy schedule of the weeks ahead to lend his undeniable star power to the campaigns of some of our provincial New Democrats.

This post also appears on Rabble.ca.

4 Comments on "Thomas Mulcair: an NDP leader who passes the Ralph Klein beer test and Tory fear test"

  1. Anonymous says:

    My favorite comment of the night was Mulcair responding to the Cons calling him an opportunist, that they better get a dictionary!

    He is intelligent, quick, fiery and on the move in a way that is going to change Canadian politics. We in the west could use a little of that too. Beer or no.

    Go Team!
    Pearl 55

  2. Filostrato says:

    There was a report in the Halifax Chronicle this morning which said that the vote jamming attempts were traced to two IP addresses. What will Del Mastro have to say about that, I wonder? Probably that the NDP decided to jam their own voting process. Such is what passes for logic in the Con camp.

    The vitriolic Con emails were probably pre-written and waiting to be launched as soon as the winner was announced and a robo-Con pressed the "Send" button.

    I'm glad Mr. Mulcair became the leader of the party. He has a good team behind him with lots of brainpower and excellent ideas.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thomas Mulcair seems to be an ideal leader for the NDP. He is articulate in both official languages, intelligent, has real political experience and seems to be genuinely concerned for working people.

    Unfortunately, even without the apparent denial of service attacks (and the disclosure that the computer service was provided by an off-shore company) the convention was strange in its absence of other 'meat' on Saturday. I watched because I am a political junky, but even then found myself watching more curling than convention.

    The next few years should be very interesting, particularly if the NDP adopt some of the attitude of Niki Ashton and other younger MP's.

  4. Tom in Ontario says:

    As a Mulcair fan from the outset I based my support mainly on the fact that he seems tough enough to handle the heat from the Harper mob yet able to dish out as good as he gets. As Ignatieff and Dion realized too late, hit back or die.

    And like it or not we live in a multi-media age where on screen perception is vital. He looks good on TV! As for the fear that he will take the NDP too far away from its socialist roots, we just have to wait and see. In the meantime let's give the guy a chance.

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