1. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and his platform (or lack of one): After just a year on the job both Iggy's brand and reputation are in deep trouble. The immediate challenge for the leader and his party is to make themselves heard and seen during the two-month limbo of Parliament.
But the shutdown of Parliament also presents an opportunity for Iggy to let Canadians get to know him and what his party stands for. The Liberals' upcoming policy conference in Montreal presents an opportunity to start showing Canadians the Liberal party's vision for the 21st century. Simply attacking the Tories and repeating the mantra of past Grit achievements won't cut it anymore. Rightly executed the Montreal policy conference could be what the Aylmer conference was to Jean Chretien and his party in 1991.
It also wouldn't hurt to lighten up a bit, go on Rick Mercer and maybe hit some small towns or even some shopping malls in the 905 belt. There isn't much future being known as the Harvard don who lives in Yorkville.
One advantage Iggy can count on is the personality of his opponent. Stephen Harper seems to have difficulty missing the chance of being an SOB. Just as the Tories were able to cast Paul Martin (justifiably or not) as Mr. Dithers in 2006, it should not be hard to cast the Rt. Hon. Stephen as Mr. Meanie or even the Dictator.
It is now or never.
2. Tiger Woods: It is a bad sign when someone like John Daly thinks you should reinvent yourself. But never mind. If George W. Bush can go from being a drunk to President and Ted Kennedy can redeem himself to become the conscience of a nation, there is hope for Tiger.
Just about anyone can pull off a makeover if they are methodical and determined enough. Tiger already has a charitable foundation doing goodworks. All he has to do is crank up the image of himself doing good works.
To complete the makeover, Tiger should go on Oprah and spend a half hour being contrite about what a shit he has been. That should do it.
3. Stephen Harper: Somewhere in the pile of report cards from the Rt. Honourable's high school days at Etobicoke Richview Collegiate in suburban Toronto, there is probably a notation that says "Stephen should try to be more of a people person." Sure, Harper made a lot of progress this past year with his piano and song debut at the National Arts Centre. People actually started to like him. But then it was business as usual with the Afghan detainees scandal and Stephen defaulting to the nastier side of his character.
Part of the problem may be that Harper hasn't quite made up his mind whether he wants to be a backroom boy -- where one can be a professional SOB -- or a modern retail politician, where one has to not only get along with people but actually like them. Time to decide.