Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmel.
Credits: (QMI Agency files)
But is it truly necessary to subject noncombatant Canadians to such a prolonged version of political waterboarding?
The NDP convention to choose the late Jack Layton's replacement is not until March 24 but, here we are, still 19 days away from Christmas, and the NDP has one televised debate in the can and five more to go.
This is cruel and unusual punishment.
There is the equivalent of a baseball team vying to be the NDP's designated hitter in the House of Commons, and those nine candidates are arguably the best the NDP can field.
One columnist from the political left even said it showed the NDP has a "deep bench."
How is that?
Its full roster of rookies and electoral flukes makes the inexperienced NDP even less relevant at a time when the world's economy is demanding a conservative approach.
Remember, too, that 59 of the NDP's 75 MPs are from Quebec, which is a hard reality that will not sell well in the rest of Canada.
While the NDP may be the Official Opposition thanks to Quebec's 7,000 card-carrying "We Love Jack" members, it would be wrong to assume it is also the government-in-waiting.
Scratch below the NDP's surface, remove the nine candidates vying for Layton's job, and there is nothing of any substance to parade before the public as a feasible alternative to the Harper government.
Yet this torture will continue, with more debates slated for Halifax, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Montreal and Vancouver, and with the CBC no doubt covering it like a coronation event.
The headline on our national affairs page Monday, however, pretty well summed up Sunday's inaugural NDP debate with "Nine ways to say very little."
Unless there's some fireworks soon, we will sit back and relax, get the winter over with, and wait for the mutual admiration society among the nine NDP candidates to rupture.
Until then, we'll pass on this political version of waterboarding, and get the rest of our Christmas shopping done.
We suggest you do likewise.