Say what you want about Lorraine Michael, but you have to admit that she knows what she wants to do.
Lorraine has spent her adult life as an advocate. That’s another word for someone who talks about things. She’s done it quite a bit and, as she made clear Tuesday, Lorraine intends to keep talking about stuff. Lorraine doesn’t want political power. She just wants to advocate stuff.
When other people do something Lorraine has been talking about, then she counts that as on of her accomplishments.
And if someone threatens Lorraine’s position as an advocate, she has been remarkably adept at screwing them up. She did it again on Tuesday.
Think about it for a second.
In October 2013, Lorraine released the letter from the caucus to the media and proclaimed herself the victim of treachery to get as much of the sympathy vote as possible. Some daft media outlets still report this as “the letter was leaked” as if Lorraine had nothing to flipping do with it.
Lorraine targeted the more weak-kneed of her caucus mates and quickly got them to portray themselves flaming incompetent arseholes. That left her determined, purposeful opponents as nasty heretics. Lorraine put the dissidents in a hard spot. She let the other two weaklings kiss her ring as they publicly confessed their sins. The dissidents either had to quit the party or kiss her arse in public. Guess what they picked.
That didn’t silence all the grumbling. The New Democrats in Newfoundland and Labrador are like the political left in Life of Brian. If Kirby and Mitchelmore were real leftists, they’d have gone off and formed their own party, wrote one of them on a rabble.ca online forum. But they joined the Liberals, forsaking their ideological purity for the chance to get into power and actually do something. The same wanker dismissed this quest for power as “Dexterism,” which he characterised as a move to the right just to get people to vote for them.
You could not possibly make this shite up. But make no mistake, it is this kind of pseudo-intellectual crap that has made it easy for a bloody-minded politician like Lorraine to stay on top of the lot. As the party kept sliding downward in the polls, the professional moaners among the Dipper activists kept whining.
That seems to have gotten on Lorraine’s nerves over Christmas such that, out of the blue, she decided to call the whiners’ bluff. Lorraine announced on Tuesday that she would let them find another leader.
But Lorraine did it in such a way and at such a time as to expose the chickenshit in the party for what it was. The first to emit l‘odeur de poulet merde was none other than Ryan Cleary. He is the darling of some in the party but Ryan is the kind of politician who prefers to be crowned.
Ryan had a case of flu on Tuesday. To really understand the meaning of that word, you have to do air quotes as you say flu. There’s no way to type that so you will just have to do it for yourself. On Wednesday, reporters caught up to Cleary. Not running, said Ryan, if you read among the great many words he spewed.
Still, while Cleary is busy building up pensionable time in Ottawa, he is “concerned about a void, a leadership void in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Ryan is so concerned that he is not the least bit interested in doing anything about it other than cluck concernedly while he pops over to the sale at Harry Rosens in the Rideau Centre.
Cluck, said Ryan. Cluck, cluck, cluck.
As SRBP pointed out on Wednesday morning, neither of the current caucus members are likely to run to replace Lorraine.
Sheilagh O’Leary, a local photographer and former St. John’s city councillors, is still among those outside the caucus who are sort of thinking about maybe, possibly replacing Lorraine.
Sheilagh has a decided whiff of the coop about her though. Consider her most recent appearance in the Telegram’s 20 Questions segment. It appeared, entirely coincidentally, on Monday this week. Her answers are rambling and somewhat disjointed.
But on the question of politics, O’Leary clearly wants to lead a political party in the province:
…if I had the choice, I’d much prefer to work in a non-partisan system. That’s why municipal politics really appealed to me, because you have to work and play with everybody.
It makes perfect sense, then, that on Tuesday O’Leary thought the party need new leadership but did not think the party leadership was right for her.
Cluck, said Sheilagh. Cluck, cluck, cluck.
One new name turned up after Lorraine’s dramatic announcement. Earle McCurdy, freshly quit as head of the FFAW, spoke to a few reporters. As CBC reported in its NDP leadership tracker, McCurdy’s had no interest in active politics but is now thinking about it. He told NTV’s Mike Connors the same thing.
Thinking about it.
No one has expressed any great enthusiasm for the job, though. So, unless Earle decides to take the job, it may well be that Lorraine will remain as leader by default. And of course, since she will stay in the House and not give up her seat to a by-election, Lorraine can maintain some level of control of the party as well as her publicly-funded pulpit at least until the next election.
Say what you want about Lorraine. She knows what she wants for herself.
And she knows how to hang onto the power and influence that let’s her talk about stuff.