On everyone's lips --- what will Ignatieff do after he and the Liberals lose this election, as they inevitably will?
Will he go back to Harvard, as many believe? Or take up Eyebrow Cultivation as a Green subsidy qualifier? Or even start up a school for arrogant Liberals? For that, we have to look at what skills he might possess that would be attractive to Harvard or others.
He is self-described as a writer, a journalist, a "Professor in Human Rights Policy", and a broadcaster. More recently he has added "visitor to Canada", and "failed political leader" to his extensive resume. All these skillsets can be found in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Canadians and Americans, with the exception of "failed political leader". That club is much more select and includes such luminaries as Paul Martin, Stephane Dion, Kim Campbell and Joe Clark. But we aren't talking about his impending membership in this select club, so let's move on.
His other skillsets are a worth a dime a dozen. Even less when it is realized he has done more "whoops" and U-turns in his views, positions, writings and utterances than the whole of the Liberal party since Confederation. Put simply, his positions appear very "flexible", his resolve rather "fluid", and his principles (and convictions) totally "modifiable".
I imagine Harvard has at least minimum standards for exalted professors, such as knowing what they are talking about or lecturing about. A certain level of real, as opposed to fake, gravitas as well? A person who has accomplished something real, as opposed to talking all the time about his view (changeable as the weather) and "how he would do it if he were in charge" (rather poorly, based on experience here).
So why would Harvard want him back? Beats me, unless they have a new chair established for "Unprincipled Professors". Right up Ignatieff's alley! He could do that with no sweat. Or perhaps a chair in "Myths versus Reality". He'd do well teaching that --- extensive experience, for sure!
No, I'm afraid that Harvard may be out of the picture for Ignatieff. Besides, what arrogant, self-centred individual would want to go back to a university where your colleagues would constantly snicker and guffaw at anything you said? No, that's not an attractive scene, for sure.
So, what else? Personally, I can't think of anything realistic. Big business isn't going to give him a plum vice-chair or other executive job if he can't even balance his own chequebook, which is what I have read. He has no management skills, no worthwhile "connections" that can be leveraged, and is as dumb as a posthole when it comes to messaging, PR, and projecting leadership, trust, or competence ... according to most/all polls. And, despite his marvelous photo-op at a hardware store during the election campaign, I rather suspect that he would have extreme difficulty figuring out what end of a hammer to use as the "pounding end". Oh, dear, he really is in a pickle, isn't he?
So, by a clever process of elimination, I have looked into my crystal ball and seen the "Ghosts of May 3rd ... Future". Ignatieff is going to do what all great Liberals do after they lose an election: sponge off the public purse.
Yup. He will remain a MP and, in grand Liberal tradition, continue to receive his MP salary and expense package courtesy of us poor working slobs. No matter; I don't expect to see much of Ignatieff anyway. Villas and chateaux in France are so "in" at many times of the year, aren't they? And he just happens to have one there, I'm told. Not for him a Canadian vacation ... no sir, unless it was Algonquin Park, of course. The only part of Canada worth visiting, according to one Iggy quote.
He could also double-dip by going on a lecture tour, perhaps warming up vast crowds with a hearty rendition of "Rise Up, Rise Up, Dammit!" before the headline act in the local Undertakers' Convention comes on stage. Or perhaps tour the world on our dime, promoting his soon-to-be-written book and bestseller, "Mea Culpa".
But wait! If my memory is right, in February of this year Ignatieff reached another magical milestone ... a six-year MP! And don't politicians with at least six years of service become eligible for a MP's pension? Whoopee. The triple-crown of politics.
And it only cost us $300 - $400 million this time, to find out the future of another failed Liberal. Oh well, I guess that's the price of Democracy, as Ignatieff would say.
Any other suggestions or forecasts?