Until now, I've steered clear of criticizing Dion as a poor leader. I have previously called him the wrong leader (strategically a very poor choice to stop Harper) but eventually it's difficult to ignore that besides wrong policies, Dion is very awkward, plain and unimpressive. Gerard Kennedy picked the runt of the litter of leaders; a determined, likable runt, but also kind of pathetic and incompetent. From The Star a while back:
"I [said Dion] was elected to lead the people of this party to leave a better planet."
"No," said Bob Rae. "You were elected because you're not me and you're not Michael Ignatieff."
Apparently this latest bout of "lack of comprehensionitis", known more commonly as "What? You expect me to work without a tele prompter!" is contagious. Watch the Liberal candidate trying to defend Dion. What a nightmare!
Cherniak tries to brush this off as a not uncommon request for clarification. Well at least he doesn't stupidly try to make hay out of this and compare it to the Con attack on Chretien. But he also doesn't ignore it, which means he knows this could really hurt Dion.
Dion's response to a question he should have been well prepared for was simply NOT prime ministerial. I mean the last week or so, Dion has done little but personally attack the other leaders, and he has repeatedly attacked Harper for his insensitivity and his failure to respond to economic situation. When asked quite simply, "OK wise guy, what would you have done?", Dion doesn't ask for clarification (which I think is perfectly appropriate) he asks for a do over 3 TIMES. So far, I think I've resisted attacking Dion unfairly. But this man just seems to dissolve under pressure. I've seen that awkward, dazed, and confused expression in Dion all too often. Remember when Layton put him in his place at the English debate, Dion was motionless and speechless.
BTW, Kudos to Layton for not immediately jumping on this one. Dion said he and the Liberals wouldn't go negative and that they would run a dignified campaign, not a chance. Liberals practice gutter politics no less than Conservatives. Period!