This column from the Globe and Mail echoes sentiments I have expressed before here, here, and here: namely that Brown has infantalized himself, revealing himself to be me-centred, has few allies in a party that was all too happy to throw him under and bus, and that while he is attacking his accusers, he is all too silent on the other problems dogging him.
In the old days, a coup d’état would usually end in the dethroned leader conveniently being dispatched gorily, but this is Canada 2018, and we don’t roll that way, but at a price. In a nannied society, we see the little brats for who they are really when someone takes away the paper crown and the cools toys.
Brown is behaving like an ill-behaved child in a toy store once he realizes mommy isn’t going to buy him anything because they are there to buy someone else a birthday present. He once had a bland and innocuous way about him, but now the his explosive temper is coupled with excuses and finger-pointing, he is turning out to be someone very different than what he once pretended to be.
And he is showing the worst qualities a leader could possibly possess: he did not see the storm coming. He had no loyalty among the ranks with some of the most powerful members of both the federal and provincial levels distance themselves from him. He is making excuses. He obviously has never had crisis management training — something every good leader has in emergencies, and there is always a possibility for an emergency.
He reminds me of Hillary Clinton not preparing a concession speech in the even that she lost. The fact that she didn’t entertain a Plan B showed how poorly prepared she was as a leader. You don’t make concession speeches because you think you are going to lose: you make them because if you are a capable leader, you have to entertain multiple scenarios because by mere randomness alone, something can come from left field. You may not be able to anticipate what bizarro thing is going to sucker punch you, but you have to be aware that you may not be able to succeed. You still need an exit strategy.
Brown’s tactical errors say a lot about him. He, like Clinton, never had a vision or a plan to justify wanting the position.
But now that his stealth advantage has been lost and he now damaged goods, how he plans to win back a seat without his usual bag of tricks will be very instructive for those looking at what was transpiring during his tenure. They can compare and contrast to find out how he won the last time, and what it took, squaring it with what he is doing now.
He has been shrill and coming off as a peculiar mash-up of Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. The high pitch voice, the sheltered bumbling, and the explosive temper all give off a piteous cartoonish way about him. He is not in charge. He is not shrewd. He acts entitled, and in Canadian politics, a leader does not throw temper tantrums, strut with a paper crown in public, and can never suggest that the system is flawed in any way shape, or form (Justin Trudeau’s comments about the jury system has broken a spell with the public for that very reason, but that’s another story).
Especially not if you were in charge. Any rot that hits you means it’s your fault.
And worst of all, Brown as suddenly found the one thing to defend with his every grain of his being: himself.
If you are going to be a leader in this country, you better have something else you have a passion for, and when you don’t, you will not be winning any popularity contests.
Especially if your main defence is an offence. Brown is attacking the women who accused him of being slimy. He is absolutely silent on the “rot” that has been turning up in the party, and his strategy is not one that any adept leader would stoop to using.
He is behaving like a rank amateur, making it increasingly difficult for the press here to defend someone who is not abiding by the unspoken code, and with an entire political party who do abide by it, he is alienating a base who have three luxury names they can support instead. Brown is outgunned, outnumbered, and most of all outclassed. No one wants an excitable gnat at their dinner party. He is making Doug Ford look downright stately now, doing him a huge favour. Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney are smart, diligent, have class, and most of all, dignity. It is the reason Elliott lost to Brown once, but now can easily enter the race once more.
Because she carefully thought about her Plan B, and proves who was the better leader for the party the last time.
I would be surprised if Mulroney doesn’t win this contest. Compare her to Brown and she wins in that competition. So does Elliott, and Ford.
Brown was always a poor fit. He went for a position out of his league and it showed. Glaringly.
He is imploding as we speak. If the allegations weren’t true, he had better options to confront them, but the narrative has long ago drifted away from sexual harassment to the other little problem.
The one that got the party faithful’s attention and focus. As usual, he has his guard down where it counts the most, and the knock out punch is coming. This election is the Tories’ to lose, and if they lose it, it will be an ugly mood — and Brown has provided them with a perfect punching bag to take their wrath on.