UPDATED: Liberal Leadership NotWatch: Oh, for heaven’s sake.

Seriously, guys, did you even try to work this out over the phone before resorting to passive aggressive press releases? As Colleague Wells points out (in inexplicably teeny tiny text), two of the three of you haven’t even officially joined the race, and I’m honestly not sure if that makes this whole thing more or less ridiculous. Maria Minna Judy Sgro’s suggestion to have y’all flip a coin is starting to sound better and better, although I’m not sure if that works if there are three of you. Rock, paper, scissors, anyone?

UPDATE: Well, more of a crosspost-with-a-little-bit-extra, really – but I think it’s interesting, anyway. I just posted the following to the comment thread over at Inkless:

It seems to be two of the three not-yet-official candidates who want to open the debate to the media; as far as I know, it wasn’t an issue for us until we found out about it through a press release by Bob Rae. By coincidence, however, the question of the “closed-door debate” actually did come up on Friday, courtesy of a Conservative-supporting commenter who demanded to know why we weren’t reporting *that* instead of focusing on the lockdown in Winnipeg. I’m starting to wonder whether this whole controversy didn’t spring, fully formed, from the head of a clearly-too-smart-for-the-War-Room Tory strategist (I’d say ‘operative’ but that has a pejorative slant, and it really would be very clever) who found out about the LPCO meeting and realized that this could be used to blunt criticism of the convention protocol.  

A quick search of Google News suggests that the story broke late yesterday night, but the comment in question was actually posted on Friday evening, which would tend to back up my theory that the controversy – or, at least, the coverage thereof – was helped along by Conservatives attempting to mute the complaints over closed doors at the convention, or at least the Liberal press release that went out that condemned the PM as the “master of the muzzle”.  I’d be curious to see if anyone can track down any posts or comments within the greater political blogosphere that went out before the Canadian Press report hit the wire – aside, of course, from the Inkless post, which appeared a few hours earlier. 

Not, I should note, that I’m suggesting that it wasn’t a spectacularly bad move on the part of the LPCO to stick to their initial decision to shut the press out of Sunday’s debate, even after two of the three candidates involved agreed to open it up to the media. That was just stupid. If the Conservatives were able to use friendly partisan bloggers and commenters to goad Rae’s campaign into putting out a press release, thereby launching the story into the headlines,  well … good for them.