Conservative leadership candidate, businessman Frank Coleman did an interview with the C.B.C Morning Show today. It was the first opportunity for many in the province to listen to the future Premier respond, unscripted, in a live interview.
How did he do? I think his lack of political polish was obvious. He was not in spin mode, he was straight forward and answered some tough questions about his relationship with Danny Williams and Bill Barry. Some might find his low key demeanor and sincerity refreshing.
To me, the role Danny Williams played or did not play in recruiting Coleman is a bit of a red herring. Coleman says he is nobody's boy and judging by his success as a business person and active member of the community there is no reason to doubt it. Is it wrong that a former party leader would be interested in ensuring his party remains competitive? Absolutely not!
The other two leadership candidates are screaming conspiracy. They seem to think the leadership has been stacked against them. To that I say, many are called and few are chosen.
The fact that the cabinet, the caucus and so many Conservatives are supporting Coleman is because they know the party needs a fresh face that does not carry the baggage of 12 years of governing or a controversial right-wing agenda.
Neither of the other two candidates offer the slightest potential of electoral success.
Coleman offers business experience, an egalitarian approach to the community he lives in, a good education and a non-divisive demeanor. This man is prepared to sacrifice his name, put his businesses on ice and throw his family into the hellish pit that leadership demands.
Like anyone who is in business in this province, he has business interests that intersect with government. They pale in comparison to those of former Premier Danny Williams but they present a few hurdles.
His lack of political pedigree might be a bonus. Do we need another smooth talking spinster or another bungling communicator leading our province? I do not think so.
People may not like the fact that Coleman will become the next premier when he wins the Conservative Leadership but they might feel a little reassured that from the day he takes the job the clock will be ticking towards gaining a mandate of his own.
Can he reverse the damage and take his party out of the malestorm they have been sucked into?
Time will tell.
One thing is for certain, he is making a sacrifice and a lot of Conservatives are putting their confidence in him.
Let us see how he plays the hand he has been dealt!