Watching some of the speeches from the Liberal leadership candidates last night, it occurred to me that the main reason Ken Dryden isn't in better shape is that he isn't in better shape. Almost universally respected, he gave by far the best speech last night and demonstrated real strength for rough-and-tumble of campaigning. The only reason I can gather for his weak showing is that he doesn't look like the typical Prime Minister: he's bulkier than the average leader, something that's not as absurd as it sounds. Think Martin, Chretien, Trudeau, Turner, Mulroney, Campbell, all of whom were either lanky, like Trudeau, or average-with-a-gut, like Martin. An odd thing to note, of course, though I wonder if there's something in the optic-driven political world that demands leaders in Canada be, if not "lean and hungry," then at least acceptable approximates thereto. I can't help but wonder if that's what subconsciously influenced the formation of the Top Four. Instead, Dryden gets dumped to the ignominious laureate of being "the conscience of the party," which is roughly equivalent to a suitor being told what a wonderful friend he is. The best man never wins; he gets nudged, and then pressed, to the side, where he's remaindered to wistful stalwarcy. It's a shame. He deserved better. Then again, maybe he's better off not being baloney's bridegroom. There's no way that stuff's good for ya.
FOOTNOTE: Yes, I know there's no such word as "stalwarcy," but "stalwartness" is such an ugly word. I like my invention better.