The Not Factor

So Stéphane Dion has won the leadership of the Liberal Party.

He will probably do fairly well. He is intelligent, articulate and seems to be "sympatico," but his greatest asset is the Not Factor.

He has a few other things going for him. He is on the right side of the environment debate and this currently has popular support. As a matter of fact he has immediately clicked on to the Liberal's tried and true formula for winning votes (and elections) in this country - he talks like a New Democrat.

The question is will he also follow the Liberal tradition of just talking and not acting unless there is enough of a New Democrat presence to ensure some progressive action?

What Dion has going for him the most, though is the Not Factor. This is what helps politicians remain in power and also (sometimes) helps them to remain popular, in some cases it also works against politicians. Jean Chrétien had the the benefit of the Not Factor for over a decade when he was not Brian Mulroney. Paul Martin got the negative side of the Not Factor by not being Jean Chrétien. Even Stephen Harper benefited from the Not Factor in the last election because the Conservatives were not the Liberals. Now, Stéphane Dion could easily benefit from not being Stephen Harper.

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