It's a little strange writing about the Saturday pro-coalition rally this morning considering reports that Iggy's just about ready to take over and apply his own take on coalitions (read: don't hold your breath for NDP cabinet seats).
To be fair, the City Hall rally wasn't as bad as going to a birthday party for a deceased person, but Dion confirmed, for the umpteenth time that he can kill the energy in a room, with his half-hearted pro-coalition prodding.
Can you blame him? He's a leader whose party can't even stomach having him at the helm until May. If someone told you to get on a stage and sell the masses of the importance of solidarity, unity, and consensus in times of economic chaos while concurrently being pushed from power for the same arguments - well, you'd probably give a shitty speech.
And Dion did! Sure the crowd cheered, but there were also people yelling "Where's Ignatieff?" Good question. Rae was in Winnipeg supporting the coalition and kingmaker Gerard Kennedy was on the stage with the (soon to be) ghost of Liberal past.
Good thing Jack was up there too. Really, the rally crowd was his. NDP signs outnumbered Liberal plackards. One supporter held up a "Trust the mustache" poster, another had a photo of Olivia Chow. No "seek the geek" sign for Dion.
And most importantly, Layton filled the crowd with some energy, just before passing the torch to the musicians. The couple of thousand hardcore coalition supporters getting whipped by wind and snow got their biggest surprise announcement - Feist would be singing.
I know that sounds inconsequential but it certainly energized people more than Dion, who played like he'd already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. And really, 2000 people is ultimately a meager number. Do you think you could get more than 2,000 people out if the Maple Leafs decided to merge teams with the Montreal Canadiens? I would comfortably wager "yes."
An hour and a half in, the crowd thinned significantly. Everyone packed up, leaving the feeling that there could have been more. There should have been more. By the end of this week, that could very well be the sad story of this coalition.