There are two games George Abbott has to play if he wants to succeed Gordon Campbell as premier of British Columbia. The first, is the short game: the race for the Liberal leadership. The second, is the long game: the race to retain government in 2013. And while Mr. Abbott may have what it takes to win the former prize, he has yet to show he has what it takes to win the later one. Let me be clear: to my eye, Mr. Abbott seems to be a decent guy. I think he's been a competent cabinet minister. I think he might even make a competent premier. But I also think British Columbians want a premier who will do politics differently.
And that means more than a vague commitment to "respect" and "reconnect" with the grassroots. It means showing British Columbians how he'll do that - something that wasn't included in the grab bag of uninspired policies he's planning to lug around the province as he campaigns for the Liberal leadership. Indeed, given that Mr. Abbott has served as a member of the Campbell administration's executive council for the past nine years, I expect better of him.
But perhaps that exactly why I shouldn't - causing me to question whether he can restore confidence in the government after winning it.