No matter who we Liberals replace Stephane Dion with, the first task at hand should be establishing a strong, positive image of him for the Canadian public.
I don't just mean some neat shots of him, his family and Liberal forefathers caught in a confetti-strewn hug; we need to have the leader's images and words in a variety areas of life (personal, historical, global) displayed and framed before the CONs do it for us.
Either Michael Ignatieff or Bob Rae will be an outstanding choice, but both will have their achilles. And Harper's gang of thugs will be swinging for them, as noted in this well-written piece by Charlie Smith of the Georgia Straight.
On the plus side, Harper's own credibility is suffering at this time, even from some of his more friendly servants in the media; he has never been shy about being a divisive leader, however, in the past he has resisted taking his eye off 'the ball' which in this case is going for the Liberal jugular. With serious questions on his leadership creeping out, one would expect that he would shift his focus.
Another plus is that we've seen this show before. Canadians have been exposed to the CON strategy and they needed 20 some months to make it stick last time. I am willing to bet that people will be more cynical to any CON ad campaign that insists on flinging monkey feces while the government has a huge economic crisis it should be expending its energies on.
Another positive point? Stephen Harper's actions over the past few weeks may have done more for uniting the left-centre and centre than Brian Mulroney ever did.