Michael Ignatieff delivered the best speech at the Liberal convention last night — eloquent, passionate, nicely crafted — that nonetheless left a majority of the crowd almost stone cold.
In a telling reaction, his delivery and content galvanized his supporters, whereas everywhere else, even his best lines barely sparked any clapping.
When other candidates spoke about the challenge of climate change, delegates everywhere applauded, but when Mr. Ignatieff did so, more than half the hall barely responded. The same reaction attended his other themes, all of which are popular with Liberals.
The results were best for Dion who surpassed Kennedy, if just barely and receiving the endorsement of Martha Hall Findlay, a sentimental favourite in the hall, does help. However, Rae could still emerge as the anti-Ignatieff.
The second ballot will tell us if many delegates, freed now to vote as they wish, will move in significant numbers from their original end of September choice.