The NDP decided not to run away from prime time when they elected Thomas Mulcair as their new leader Saturday night.
By electing a leader that was initially too brash, too new or too unsure for some, the Party declared they were "going for it" and playing to win rather than playing it safe.
When Mulcair's vote in Saturday morning's very first poll wasn't quite as big as some expected, there were rumblings that an anybody-but-Mulcair move might have some legs. But Peggy Nash's relatively early exit, in part hastened, by three candidates disappearing after the first round, made it hard to see where that movement, if it existed, might park itself.
The decision of defeated candidates not to endorse throughout the day, except for Martin Singh, may have driven media crazy as they were desperate for a story. But it went a long way to ensuring the party would be in one piece once a new leader was in place and that supporters could not be bundled up or traded to other camps.
As I spoke to delegates, as first choices dropped from the race, they seemed fascinated envisioning Mulcair in a federal race or simply doing daily battle with Stephen Harper. Claims that Mulcair was "too centre" were never backed up with more than whispers. There was a growing sense throughout the day of why not vote for a guy who has proven he can win and build the party's base.
Even Nathan Cullen's significant breakthrough shows the NDP is ready to take the chance of the change and members made it clear that the renovation of the party begun by Jack Layton was a start and not a finish. Party members resisted running back to third or fourth place by choosing safe candidates that wouldn't challenge any sacred party texts.
But now, this impressive slate of candidates, except for the still seatless Brian Topp and Singh, can join Mulcair, first with the rest of the caucus for a Sunday morning meeting. And then in Ottawa next week to immediately do battle with Harper over a federal budget that promises to be punishingly tight-fisted.
Many party members wanted a plug-and-play leader in place for Monday morning. No more waiting, no more enduring Bob Rae masquerading as leader of the Official opposition.
NDPers voted to begin the next chapter today, no more postponing the future, not even for Brian Topp to get a seat. New Democrats are ready to see their party with new eyes, the same way they hope Canadians will finally see them. Saturday night the NDP imagined themselves as the government of Canada and voted for a leader they think can get them there.