I just watched a political roundtable on Newsworld, wherein two Liberal strategists agreed that Gerard Kennedy had shrewdly positioned himself on Afghanistan. Earlier, Don Newman interviewed Bob Rae and the conclusion was that Rae seemed "wishy-washy" with regard to his Afghanistan stance. There was some surprise that Rae and Dion had ceded so much terrain to Kennedy, effectively allowing him to stand alone as the only strong critic of the mission, while everyone else remained in the "muddy middle".
Everyone agrees that the country is divided on Afghanistan, with a downward support trend. The natural extension of this sentiment would seem to suggest a majority of Liberals question the mission. When you look at the various stances of the candidates there is some divergence, no question. However, the Kennedy viewpoint seems decidedly unique and articulates a bottomline clarity. As the roundtable suggested, Kennedy enjoys a wide berth on the issue- partially through his own bold stance and simply through relative default. If you are a strong supporter of Afghanistan, then Ignatieff is clearly your choice. If, however, you have doubts or are firmly against, Kennedy's position looks attractive.
Kennedy doesn't go as far as Layton, even though the intellectually lazy lump them together. What Kennedy does do is offer a refuge for the wary, without the appearance of "radical". If's and when's allow for movement, and don't box Kennedy into a black and white proposition. I have to agree with the roundtable conclusion, Kennedy is smartly positioned to appeal to a good percentage of Liberals.