There might be a reason why Michael Ignatieff has had a difficult time connecting with voters, and that's because perhaps he's nothing like them. It would be in the best interests of the Liberal Leader and his party if he started acting more like an ordinary guy than just another professor.
Polls have shown that since Ignatieff has become Liberal Leader, even when his party was up in the polls, he has significantly lagged behind Stephen harper and Jack Layton. A possible reason for his low approval rating is that people want a Leader who will represent ordinary Canadians, and Ignatieff is having a hard time showing that he's one of them.
Yesterday outside the House of Commons the Liberal Leader didn't help his predicament and instead strengthened his appearance of an elitist. In speaking about Gilles Duceppe comparing himself to a French resistance fighter, Michael Ignatieff said, in a dry sarcastic tone, it made him want to sing the French national anthem.
In a media scrum speaking about the upcoming Liberal conference, Ignatieff said,
"So we go into the meeting in Montreal with tremendous preparation, I'm looking forward to it enormously. And I came back and there was Mr. Duceppe comparing himself to a French resistance hero, it made me want to sing the Marseillaise, there you go."Now some Canadians may be familiar with La Marseillaise, the national anthem of France, but it is not hard to imagine that most are not. And it is of course not just the peculiarity of the anthem, it's the very impression of the statement, it sounding as if it was some inside joke among professors. In watching Ignatieff making his comment (Video below) it cannot be helped but to picture him uttering the same line in some mahogany filled university, with a pipe in one hand, a glass of wine in the other, minutes away from a polo game with the boys from Manchester.
Some may criticize this post, suggesting I'm being disloyal to the Liberal Party, I would argue to the contrary. Recognizing flaws is the first step to overcoming them, ignoring them is the first step to creating more.
The reality for Michael Ignatieff is that he is too intelligent. People don't want the best of the best representing them, because those all too perfect beings are too far away to relate to the average person, to know their concerns and their problems. Ordinary Canadians want a representative that is the best, but only the best among them, not some elitist from some distant intellectual plane. Canadians want a leader that is smart but that shares their values, Ignatieff in continuing to intellectually separate himself from ordinary Canadians also separates himself from their values.
The solution for Michael Ignatieff to become more popular, is quite simple, he needs to become more ordinary. I would seriously suggest that Michael Ignatieff spend more time with ordinary Canadians, seeing how they speak, how they work, and how they live.