Jack Layton needed to kick serious butt tonight in the English language debate if he had any chance to replace Dion and the Liberals as official opposition.
He failed. He had the best one liners, and you could say he won the debate, because he did. But he did not win it in a way that will advantage the NDP.
He spent most of the night attacking Harper, when he should have been all over Dion.
Did Layton dislodge any Conservative voters who will now vote for the NDP? No.
Did his attacks on Harper persuade voters for any of the other hippy parties to vote for the NDP? No. Those leaders were repeating the same attacks.
Layton needed to distinguish himself, and by merely being the best of the left in attacking Harper, he did nothing to increase his vote count. At the end of the day, I don't know if the NDP will end up getting any more seats at all after such a wasted effort.
Opportunity lost. Oh well, you can bet the new NDP leader, Thomas Mulcair, won't make the same mistake.