I had a great topic picked out this week. Whenever I find myself riding for hours in the car, I use the time to muse about a topic for the next column. It's 2 hours to Grand Falls-Windsor from Westport, and two hours and 20 min. to Corner Brook. That's enough time to develop a topic, search for the humor if any exists, and file it away for later, preferably to write about some time in the morning when it's raining, which prevents me from supervising anything outside my wife happens take it upon herself to do.
I had settled on the topic of rock painting, or more specifically, trying to answer the age-old question of why people feel compelled to write their names, as in this column's title, and the names of people that they love, on the flat face of a rock within viewing distance of those of us riding in a car. This particular time, I made the mistake of also trying to listen to Open Line on the radio. Listening to Open Line on the radio is not a mistake, unless you are trying to develop a topic for your weekly column and are hard-pressed to multi-task, even if you're sitting still in a dark room with no one around.
That's when John Crosbie called in. John waxed poetically about the "he said, he said" running commentary between Danny Williams and himself regarding the alleged backroom politics by former premiers. There's no doubting the entertainment factor that a public difference of opinion garners between a John Crosbie and a Danny Williams. It was a great bit of theater. My musings about rock paintings flew by the window as fast as the blackflies that managed to make it past the windshield.
John made a point that got my attention. He brought up Ray Guy and the fact that if we had a Ray Guy around today, very little information regarding a claim that Danny was working the back rooms would have been left undiscovered. I couldn't agree more. In fact, I made a similar claim several years ago in one of my columns while Ray was still alive. The difference? No one pays attention to what I say.
John wasn't necessarily saying anything negative about incoming Premier Frank Coleman. John knows Frank Coleman better than I do. I only know what I see and what he responds to when the media asks him questions. I am not overly impressed, but that has more to do with the process of somebody walking into the premiership in the manner that he is doing, than the individual personally. It's nothing-personal Frank. But where were you at all those PC conventions that I went to between 1994 and 2010?
I've never heard anybody from the media ask a simple question about his involvement with the party over the years. Maybe I should have run for the PC leadership when it was clear no one else was going to. The media would've had a field day trying to figure out who the blue bloody blazes I am. All those contradicting columns I've written that only a few of you read would have been some fun to defend!
I don't want to bring up the subject of Frank Coleman anymore after this column. No one cares to address the causes of the apathy that clutches the souls of the common voter. The leadership in politics is for ambitious people who claim to have answers and end up doing damn little in moving us forward in any significant way. Danny Williams may have been the only meaningful exception to this condition in recent decades. (My clever use of the word "may" allows you to argue for others.)
Having developed into a full -fledged political cynic, I can only hope that the voters in Mr. Coleman's district do not reward him for his political opportunism simply because they would like their representatives to be the leader of a party about to cede the government to someone else. Then again, being leader of the opposition for a while might be just the humility one requires to be a future leader.
After thinking all of this, it occurred to me that this leadership "race" actually has a lot in common with the musings about name-painted rock faces: Two curiosities that damn few actually care about. If you include this column, that would make three.