Death knell for the Martinites?
Few people have doubts about who's going to win the election at this point, and already some of the party insiders are picking up their cudgels and preparing to deal Martin the coup de gras. The former Liberal campaign hit-man Warren Kinsella is one of the politicos that has posted a lot about the atrocious campaign the Maritinites have been running. James Travers a fairly Liberal-friendly Toronto Star columnist came out with a pretty good analysis of the Martin camps errors today as well.
I think after the Liberals get the beat down on the 23rd there will actually be few of the party faithful, other than those that are tied to the Martin's waist (and admittedly there are quite a few given the party purge and stuff his cronies have carried out in his name), that won't be itching to stick a knife in Martin's back...and front for that matter.
While the vast majority of the party faithful did fall into line when the Martin camp seized the reigns, there was of course a strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction. The Martinites who had spent a decade or so complaining about Chretien's heavy-handed approach, used similar tactics to purge the party of Chretienites and many of the unwashed on the left flank of the party. They then went to work handing the plum positions to people on the periphery of the party's right and moderate former PC types. Of course this has a lot of people steamed, and they'll jump at the chance to dispose of the Martinites after they've displayed such electoral incompetence.
The reality is the Martin and his cronies have completely isolated the Liberal base in a attempt to position the Liberals as Canada's only viable centrist party. I'm sure Martin and his whiz kids glowed with warmth as they convinced themselves that their moves would ensure Liberal dominance for years to come, and more importantly steer the ship of state in the direction that's so obviously correct. Fiscally balanced, progressively pro-growth, with a dash of social welfare and environmental concern, and having a place at the table for absolutely everyone in confederation. It's such a balanced package and again so obviously right ;-)
But of course like the laws of physics, you can't really escape the laws of successful campaigning. It's an old political axiom that you have to keep your base happy. While it certainly doesn't hurt to expand your base, it's imperative to keep the foundation of the party strong, i.e. to make sure the roots of the organization aren't withering away. But like a bunch of wild-eyed stock hypers during the internet bubble, the Martinites convinced themselves the old rules don't apply- 'things are different now' 'the dynamics have changed'. Well the same old fundamentals are there, and while the sand castle they've built around themselves maybe large it's still going to crumble to dust when the bombshell hits them on Monday.