About 24 hours. That's all it took.
In the time it took to give two interviews last week, Olive Crane drove home the painful reason why she was hounded out of the leadership position of the provincial Tory party.
In an interview in this paper, and later on TV, she reminded voters in P.E.I. why they just could not find it within themselves to see her as the premier-in-waiting.
It was, at times, very difficult to watch.
Crane is, clearly, a dedicated public servant with a real interest in what she believes are issues of concern to Islanders. But her struggle to sell that was plain for all to see.
"Today, I was hoping you might be interested in a few other things, other than just who's the new Opposition leader," she said, barely a minute into the TV interview.
No chance. She may have wanted to talk about things like helping people needing out-of-province organ transplants, but that was never going to happen. And it was her fault.
Yes, Crane was knifed by members of her own party who didn't like her. They were only successful, however, because the polls said she was unpopular with the voters. She couldn't win. And that is the greatest sin in politics.
Her problem was she couldn't sell herself. And that was on full display last week. Asked to talk about the obvious division within the party, she let her understandable anger seep through.
"I believe in grassroots politics," she said on TV. "I believe in having the power of the people. I believe that good government is for everyone, not a select few. Now, some people don't believe in that."
Now, voters are forever saying they wish politicians would talk like real people. That's what voters say, but they don't mean it. In reality, politicians using unguarded language, saying what they really feel, are almost invariably punished for it.
In 1970, Pierre Trudeau stood on the steps of the House of Commons and gave an honest, angry answer to a persistent reporter's question about his implementing the War Measures Act, suspending civil rights in his fight against FLQ terrorists in Quebec.
There are soldiers in the streets, the reporter said. How far will you go?
"Just watch me."
Trudeau was hammered for that response.
About the only politician able to sell anger was Danny Williams, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador for years. When he seethed in front of reporters, saying Stephen Harper was not to be trusted, calling him "Steve," it worked. Williams could sell it.
"We are provincial Progressive Conservatives," she said about her own party, emphasizing the word ‘progressive'. "Or, we were under my leadership."
Ouch. That sound you heard, that was the sound of bridges being burned - no, flattened by napalm. It's not what voters expect from someone who claims to be the premier-in-waiting.
"Yes, I may not pronounce my I-N-Gs sometimes," she told a Guardian reporter. "Yes, I dress kind of funny. But I'll tell you, I believe in Islanders, I'm proud to be an Islander and I'm proud to be a Progressive Conservative," she said.
"I'm not sure why I make people uncomfortable, but the bottom line is, I work for all Islanders," she said on TV.
That kind of lack of personal insight may be enough for an MLA, maybe even a cabinet minister. It's not enough for a premier. The Tory party may take years to recover from what's happening to it now. As for Crane's political career, it may never recover, at least within her own party.
Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.