Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Leadership Profiles: Bob Rae

Today I start the first in what may soon become a 37 part series, profiling potential Liberal Leadership candidates. And, since he's been in the news a bit lately, I'll kick things off with a look at Bob Rae.



"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down."
-Mary Pickford


Age: 57

Background: After attending U of T, he was elected as an NDP MP in a 1978 by-election, so he certainly has experience getting results for people. He was easily elected provincial NDP leader in 1982 since, well, it's not very hard to win the Ontario NDP leadership. After winning 25 seats in 1985, he signed an agreement with the Liberals to prop up David Peterson as Premier. The 1987 election was a disaster for NDP and Rae barely held his seat in the Liberal sweep.

Recently History: Bob Rae and the NDP won the 1990 Ontario election, surprising everyone. Like most Premiers who are elected at the start of a recession, Rae's popularity soon fell and, try as he might, he couldn't turn things around. Enter Mike Harris. Rae has developed a reputation as a statesman in recent years, writing the aptly titled Rae Report, and advising on a potential Air India Inquiry.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Bob Rae: Rae attended U of T where he was Michael Ignatieff's roommate. His brother John was one of Jean Chretien's closest advisors and his sister dated Pierre Trudeau (but, then again, who didn't). He was also the NDP finance critic who helped bring down Joe Clark's government in 1979. And Gerard Kennedy won the by-election held when Rae resigned his MPP seat.

Rejected Campaign Slogan: "Make Today a Rae Day!"

Rejected Endorsements: Mike Harcourt & Glen Clark

Rejected Platform: "Vote me in as your leader and I'll buy a Liberal Party membership"

Pros: He's got more experience in politics than the rest of the field combined and, despite what some will say, experience matters. While a lot of Tories may not like the guy, Bob Rae may very well be Jack Layton's worst nightmare. Bringing the 5% of soft NDP voters out there back to the Liberals might be the party's best chance to form government. He's also fluently bilingual.

Cons: Ontarians over 30 might not have a fond memory of Rae. And Ontario is a pretty big province to write off.

My Take: From everything I hear, Bob Rae is a very decent person and he'd bring a lot to the race. But should be he leader of the Liberal Party? Well, not if we want to form government anytime soon. There comes a point when baggage simply outweighs experience and Bob Rae is simply unelectable in my humble opinion.

Chances: Rae has a lot of the Chretien heavy hitters on his team so he will certainly run a credible campaign and show well. I doubt he has the mass appeal to win a multi-ballot vote, but I expect Rae to be in the top 5 after the first ballot.

76 Comments:

  • CG,

    A very good summary of Rae.

    As far as left leaning support goes, I don't think it will be Rae that will be Layton's mightmare, it will likely be Kennedy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:43 PM  

  • Some more thoughts on Bob Rae, from an interesting take on how Rae has changed, both personally and politically, over the past decade, worthy of reading.

    The Toronto Star March 14, 2006 about his chances (Jim Coyle):


    "What's clear — as the former NDP premier of Ontario contemplates a leadership run for the party some think was always his natural home — is that rarely has a prospective candidate had so much to offer. At 57, Bob Rae is both personally and politically mature. He's known both public triumph and disaster. He owns the sort of perspective that personal tragedy — the loss of a brother to cancer, the loss of his in-laws to a drunk driver — can bestow. He's been so politically battered in the past that anything the future holds will be but raindrops on the roof. What's also intriguing about a potential Rae candidacy is that — though his background has made him an internationalist, though his experience as first minister made him expert in the regions and relationships of Canada — he's a thoroughly urban candidate in an age when cities purportedly matter most."

    And did he learn from his five-year disasterous stint as Premier of Ontario?

    "He was a media-darling member of Parliament at 30, articulate in both official languages. He was leader of a provincial party at 33. Much to his astonishment, and pretty much by accident, he was the first NDP premier in Ontario history in 1990. It was 10 years ago, 34 days ago yesterday that Rae, his government vehemently bounced from office by voters six months earlier, retired from politics. In the decade since, he's had an eclectic law practice, sat on corporate boards and continued to be a jack of all trades in the public realm — from helping rescue the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, to investigating the Air-India bombing to reporting to the provincial government on post-secondary tuitions. The truth is that Rae could have invented cars that ran on Kool-Aid in that decade and not won absolution from some critics for the turbulent years of his NDP government. But the more charitable might conclude that the hand he was dealt in 1990 was laughably rigged against success and that, in any event, it's the tough times from which people most learn and grow. What Rae learned was that government wasn't opposition, the '90s weren't the '60s, and that hard decisions — some of which cost him friends — had to be made."

    And you have to love Jim Coyle's concluding statement (Stephen, you listening, boy?):

    "The man has considerable experience bringing down minority Conservative governments."

    Let's all take a closer look at this potential Prime Minister....

    By Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat, at 3:01 PM  

  • Being a good Tory, I'm pretty comfortable with Rae being a loser out of the gate. I think he'd be a hard sell both in the east and the west.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 3:12 PM  

  • That said, though, I should have added that if the pundits are right, and the Liberals are about to spend seveal years at least in limbo land, Rae might be a good guy for the rebuilding process. Not PM though.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 3:13 PM  

  • I used to think Eddie Goldenberg and John Rae were smart political people.

    Used to.

    By Anonymous DL, at 3:31 PM  

  • I don't know if he's the right guy and, if today's Globe headline is an indication of things to come ("Unite the Left"), I definitely don't want a former NDP negotiating with the existing NDP over what should happen to the Liberals. Although, and you should add this to your six degrees section, both Rae and Ignatieff started off their political lives in the same year, 1968, campaigning for the same party: Rae first became involved in politics by working on Liberal Charles Caccia's campaign in the 1968 federal election; Ignatieff for Trudeau.

    He would, however, be an awesome candidate and make a great cabinet minister in the next government.

    As for leadership campaign themes, remember, it was his motion of non confidence that brought down the Progressive Conservatives in 1979 and his motion of non confidence that brought down the Progressive Conservatives in 1985. So he's got an awesome record at bringing down minority conservative governments. In fact, he's batting 1.000!
    "Bob Rae: Vote for me and make it three!"
    They'd be calling him Hat Trick Bob.

    Ted
    Cerberus

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 3:40 PM  

  • Other bit of info to note -- the man was a Rhodes Scholar and studied under Sir Isaiah Berlin.

    He'd be an interesting pick -- would scare some of the Blue Grits over to my folks, but would attract the soft progressive vote. Would this bring the Liberals back to government, or would it be the final step to a Stephen Harper majority? Unsure.

    By Blogger The Tiger, at 3:46 PM  

  • Con: Rae would signal a shift to the left for the Liberal party giving the Conservatives more breathing room on the right and would embroil the Liberals in a dogfight with the NDP over a few table scraps.

    Election prediction with Rae as Liberal leader: Gains for the Conservatives edging them closer to a majority, no change for the Liberals, lost ground for the NDP.

    Conclusion: Rae would make a terrific leader for a united Progressive party (Liberals + NDP), but since that's not likely to happen any time soon, if he were to become the leader of the Liberal Party it would only be good for the Conservatives; just like his victory in Ontario was.

    By Blogger Robert McClelland, at 3:47 PM  

  • He's also a Rhodes Scholar. He got his B. Phil from Oxford.

    By Blogger daveberta, at 4:05 PM  

  • Yours has quickly become my #2 blog, after Kinsella. This profile of Bob Rae is a great example of why. Very well done. I am looking forward to the others.

    By Blogger Ned Noodle, at 4:17 PM  

  • I'll say, if Brison doesn't win, Rae would certainly be among my second choices (I don't have just one).

    By Blogger Clear Grit, at 4:34 PM  

  • Part of the Liberal Party's rebuilding process will be attracting people of Rae's calibre to run for M.P.
    Leader: Nope. But most definitely high grade cabinet material.

    By Blogger Don, at 4:41 PM  

  • He certainly has that "Deer in the Headlights" dufus look that is so beloved by Liberals of late.

    Looks even more dufus like than Paul Martin and Jeam Cretin . . and that is going some.

    Sure he'd be well received in the West & the Maritimes - NOT !!

    By Anonymous Fred, at 4:45 PM  

  • I get a chuckle at how two-time majority holder Mike Harris is/was invoked by the centre-left as a scare tactic when referring to the CPC. Then without slipping a beat, Bob Rae, Ontario's most disasterous premier, is considered as a serious and sensible candidate to sell the liberal brand in Ontario.

    This is joke, right?

    Part of the reason Harris was SO POPULAR in Ontario was because we were trying to put as much distance from the Rae past as possible.

    And if you believe the Harris` legacey is tarnished in Ontario, remember that three senior cabinet ministers in the CPC government are products of those days. One as MOF.

    Folks should stop deluding themselves. Ontario is not suffering from amnesia. And Bob Rae is m-u-d mud here.

    By Anonymous Dr. Strangelove, at 4:58 PM  

  • OMG,

    Rob McLelland gets something right.

    CG, if Rae takes 5% from the Dippers, he gives 15% to the Cons.

    But then again, pretty much the entire field of candidates would hand a majority to PM Harper.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 5:04 PM  

  • ps,

    I too have a snapshot of Rae on my blog:

    chuckercanuck.blogspot.com

    It is quite a ringing endorsement either.

    (sorry, CG, couldn't resist)

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 5:04 PM  

  • It might help if Bob Rae actually had a membership in the Party. You know, like some form of interset in the Party. To date he doesn't. So my question is: what the hell are people thinking?

    He is and NDP guy and was the worst Premier in the History of Ontario. His brother is all Power Corp., which I thought Canadians were sick of. Who the heck is going to vote for this guy out west or in the east?

    Maybe it's like Men in Black when they flash that lighty thing and the whole country forgets what happened in Ontario with him at the helm.

    The What Do I Know Grit

    By Blogger James Curran, at 6:20 PM  

  • // Today I start the first in what may soon become a 37 part series, profiling potential Liberal Leadership candidates.//

    You could save yourself a lot of work by only considering candidates from OUTSIDE greater Toronto and candidates NOT implicated in the income trust scandal.

    Jeffrey Simpson (in his suggestion of Carole Taylor), comes close to stealing my Bloc Toronto line:

    "First off, they should change the party's name from the Liberal Party of Canada to the Liberal Party of Greater Toronto (and elsewhere)."

    Carole Taylor would be a great choice, by the way, but succeeding Gordon Campbell is probably a better job, considering India and China.

    godot10

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:54 PM  

  • Being form Calgary you amy not understand how much Ontarians loath Mike HArris. Harrris made Rae Days look like vacations, trust me.

    By Blogger s.b., at 7:44 PM  

  • Sure he'd be well received in the West & the Maritimes - NOT !!

    And they would dislike Bob Rae, why? He was never involved in politics there, and I suspect most people outside of Ontario would have very little knowledge of him.

    And if you believe the Harris` legacey is tarnished in Ontario, remember that three senior cabinet ministers in the CPC government are products of those days. One as MOF.
    Did Flaherty, Clement, and Baird spend a lot of time talking about their great work under Harris while campaigning? Or did they talk about the CPC and the federal Conservatives, and the Sponsorship Scandal? Clement got in by the skin of his teeth.

    You could save yourself a lot of work by only considering candidates from OUTSIDE greater Toronto
    Several of the serious contenders are from Greater Toronto.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 8:00 PM  

  • s.b., Ontario still hates Rae WAY MORE than Harris... Bob Rae got TROUNCED out of office in 1995, and the Tories had a respectable defeat in 2003. (especially if you look at the vote percentage)

    chuckercanuck said "if Rae takes 5% from the Dippers, he gives 15% to the Cons." He's bang on the money there.

    Rae would be great to rebuild your party, but he's got no chance at 24 Sussex. (read my post entitled "Four more years" for more thoughts on the rebuilding)

    By Blogger Christian Conservative, at 8:12 PM  

  • I can't believe he is only 57. He looks like he's closer to 77 in most recent appearances. I don't think Bob Rae is the answer for the Liberals. You need to get a new regime with a younger fresher look to give Canadians the viable option that we need in Canadian politics. Just my oppinion, as a conservative supporter who wants to see a strong option to the government of the day.

    By Anonymous Rick W, at 8:31 PM  

  • I welcome Bob Rae as leader of the Liberal Party and the coming massive Tory majority in the next election. This should rival Mulroney 1984. The NDP and Bloc can fight over who gets to be the Turd party. Libs will be DOA.

    Tories get 72 seats in the West.
    79 seats in Ontario entirely at the expense of the Libs and some Dippers. (1995 redux when Rae was crushed)
    Hold 15 in Quebec
    12 in the Atlantic.

    That adds to 179 seats give or take.

    God Bless Canada! God Bless Stephen Harper! Support our troops!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:40 PM  

  • Bob Rae is a non-starter.

    A.) the party needs a leader outside of Quebec or Ontario
    B.) Rae has baggage not just experience... but BAGGAGE. Duffy said his inner poll numbers in Ontario are bad news.
    C.) Sure he's likable... but will voters like him enough?
    D.) Since when does the Liberal party need to pander to the NDP? The party has consistently been a strong middle of the road party.. why swing left? Pick principles we support, and then run with them.

    As Liberals, we need to declare we are not left or right, but PROGRESSIVE. We want change, we want innovation and leadership. Screw the terminology of left or right... don't pander to either side.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 8:54 PM  

  • Rae has a much better smile than Harper; and we don't even have to mention sense of humour...

    Rae wins! :D

    By Blogger WeeDram, at 9:00 PM  

  • What I want to know is whether Rae will be active in the Liberal party in a real way or run for an MP seat if he DOES NOT win the leadership??

    If he just walks away because he does not win the leadership (which is likely considering his age), then this is not someone I want to vote to be the next Liberal leader. I want a Liberal who has already shown that he/she will be a team player in the Liberal party, committed to renewing the party and going the distance.

    Since he hasn't made any contribution to the Liberal party before, Rae's bid for leadership is purely opportunistic and nothing else in my opinion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:02 PM  

  • A.) the party needs a leader outside of Quebec or Ontario
    Why would we want to pick a leader from somewhere other than where most of our support is?

    s.b., Ontario still hates Rae WAY MORE than Harris... Bob Rae got TROUNCED out of office in 1995, and the Tories had a respectable defeat in 2003. (especially if you look at the vote percentage)

    Not necessarily disagreeing, but Rae and Harris were in very different positions in that Harris led one of the province's two established parties, with strong bedrock support, while Rae was the first ever NDP leader, and thus most of the support that won him the election was "borrowed" from traditional supporters of other parties.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 9:05 PM  

  • I kind of think "make today a Rae day" is a catchy slogan...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 PM  

  • Anybody else noticing the fact that the only people who seem to hate Bob Rae and say he was the "worst premier ever" are conservatives anyway?

    By Blogger Clear Grit, at 9:17 PM  

  • I had a RAY OF HOPE dream a few days ago I gotta share.
    It's in some Ivy League pub between a couple of mid-50 dudes who roomed together in university. Lets call one RAY and the other IGG. I think the conversation went like this.
    IGG: Bob, who cares that you were NDP premier. Those Liberals are sick puppies. No one wants to lead them. You run and get the Left wing (Red Liberals) Liberals to support you. I will run and get the Right wing (Blue Liberals) Liberals to support me. Then at the Leadership Convention we will flip a coin. O.K.
    RAY: Mike, O.K. I will be the heavy. I will bash Brison and Stronach and other Blue Liberals for you. Will you bash Dryden and Kennedy for me?
    IGG: Those Liberals will not know what hit them. Hay, did you know that there has been a Yale graduate in the White House (either as President or VP) from 1980 to today. Those Yaleees had both Bush and Kerry in 2004. If Hilary runs, then Yale continues to rule. To bad we did not go to Yale or we could run for President. Oh yah, I forgot, we were not born in U.S. Too bad one of our diplomat fathers were not posted in the U.S.
    RAY: It’s gonna be fun. Do you think I could get a job at Harvard afterwards? I could write a thesis.
    IGG: Bob. As long as you do not run Canada into the ground like you did Ontario as premier.
    RAY: Mike, it was not my fault. There was a recession. They named Ray Days after me. Maybe they will name some days after you.
    IGG: Hay, did you read my Wikipedia update. I don’t need Ray Days. I am a Count. Maybe we can take over Russia next.
    There have been a few attempts but no person has been able to tell me what it means.

    By Anonymous Lester, at 9:40 PM  

  • Dear Island Liberal,

    We need a leader outside of Quebec and Ontario who can appeal to a wider array of people. I am tired of only candidates coming out of the two main provinces. The Liberal party was an "Ontario" party for too long and look what happened. Both the East and the West want in! I think a candidate who offers a different regional perspective would be GREAT for the party. Just cause a candidate isnt from Ontario doesnt mean they still couldn't play to the Liberal base in that province. Its time for change... and thats not going to come from a 905 candidate.

    I also agree with the other person who said they want a life long liberal who is willing to reshape the party win or lose. The party needs a rebirth. This doesn't mean left or right... it means the Liberals should define what they believe in. I myself am for a strong centrist alternative to the NDP and the Conservatives!

    If only Frank Mckenna would have run!

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 11:09 PM  

  • Does any Liberal out there wonder sometimes what this party is coming to and where may be headed given all the "outside" entries into the leadership of our party?

    This isn't my version of renewal and I fail to see how someone who isn't even a member of the party can legitmately speak of Liberal values and successfully lead renewal within.

    Rae may have some positives, but they don't equate to leadership of LPC. This concept of "uniting" the left is nonsensical and is simply polarizing left vs. right. I don't subscribe to either extreme and neither do most Liberals I'd expect.

    I'd rather a candidate who can speak passionately,forcefully, and credibly of liberal values and lead us with progressive solutions to modern day Canadian problems and challenges. Liberals need to be and CAN BE a distinct alternative again but it won't happen with Rae.

    By Blogger Paula, at 11:32 PM  

  • There certainly aren't a lot of what you'd call "life long" Liberals in this race. Stronach and Brison from the Tories, Rae from the NDP. Ignatieff and Dryden are newcomers to the party.

    Who does that leave?

    Dion? Kennedy? Volpe?!?!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 PM  

  • TODAY, A TRUE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL AT WORK...

    Gerard announces "McGuinty Government Advances Francophone Student Success"

    see

    http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2006/03/14/c2080.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html

    LAST WEEK,

    Gerard announces "McGuinty government boosts success for rural high school students"

    see

    http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/nr/06.03/nr0309.pdf

    http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/nr/06.03/bg0309.pdf

    WORDS, ACCOMPANIED WITH ACTION

    By Anonymous MississaugaPeter, at 11:53 PM  

  • Agree with earlier post that we do not have a candidate that is exclusively from Western Canada. However, we do not want a candidate from a particular region just for the sake of it. He or she has to be a quality Liberal candidate.

    Kennedy spent over half of his life in Western Canada. He wasn't just born and raised there, he worked there as an adult in a high profile job. He was also a Young Liberal in Alberta.

    Kennedy is really a progressive centrist and not as left as some may think. So, when you look at a quality candidate that has a credible background in the West and East, Kennedy stands out.

    By Anonymous Keep it Liberal, at 12:14 AM  

  • Anon,

    Iggy and Dryden are new comers? Holy! Iggy campaigned for Trudeau in the 60's. What are you thinking.

    As for most people that think he is the worst premier in Ontario history being Conservatives? Ah. I'm a life long Liberal. he was the worst. And as a life long Liberal, I wouldn't support Bob Rae, Rae Days, The NDP, The former Conservative Leadership Losers...... Well, you get my point.

    The What Do I Know Grit.

    By Blogger James Curran, at 12:22 AM  

  • Don't count Ralphie Baby out yet. The Saskatchewan boy. He has some high profile people working the phones for him. Very high profile.

    The What Do I Know Grit

    By Blogger James Curran, at 12:25 AM  

  • Who are these Chretien heavy hitters? Do they have names?

    People often say they have "heavy hitters" or someone's "people" on there side. Or they have the real "campaign machinery" needed to win.

    But really, what the hell does "campaign machinery" mean to the average soft political junkie Calgary Grit reader?

    A stamp licking machine? An automatic envelope stuffer?

    I appreciate you doing these round up's CalgaryGrit, but please try and be more specific.

    By Anonymous El Hefe from NOFX, at 2:12 AM  

  • When the 'I-Am-You-And-You-Are-Me' Grit speaks about heavy hitters, I think he's referring to Rita MacNeil and Dan from Puppets That Kill.
    I'm not into slagging possible leadership candidates, I'm anxiously awaiting to see what each can bring to the party. And why shouldn't the Liberal party reflect the welcoming mosaic map that is Canada? Ideally, the successor would have long proven roots in the party and have a uniting ability between old and new forces... but should someone who has come to us recently not be allowed or encouraged to partake? Doesn't sound fair to me. I like Bob Rae. If he chooses to run I'm listening and thinking about what he has to say. I'll have one vote but I'm not committing to anyone yet - or slagging anyone yet, either.
    By the way CG, Mike Harcourt's endorsement or membership in the Liberal party would be actually well-received here in BC. His short term as premier has none of the tar that marrs Clark's reign -- he fell on the sword over a 10-year-old scandal. I don't know that he isn't still a very active member of the NDP, but he is the only premier we've had since long ago that could be honestly described as 'liberal' -- present guy included.

    By Anonymous vancouverdan, at 2:44 AM  

  • I agree with the poster who said that Bob Rae is a non-starter. His problem is that his NDP background is a turnoff for centrists and his past record a turnoff for those look for trust and consistency in a leader.

    Anyone whose big hero is Winston Churchill has to be suspect.

    Does Kennedy have a chance?

    By Blogger Jim, at 7:44 AM  

  • Kennedy has a real chance, but he won't run. He'll keep the McGuinty machine going in Ontario and continue to be the heir to the Ontario Liberal throne. He'll throw his support behind a strong candidate like Dion or his boss' younger brother.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:19 AM  

  • could Kennedy be drafted?

    By Blogger Jim, at 8:36 AM  

  • Anonymous,

    You may or may not be right about Gerard. I would suggest the emails of encouragement keep getting sent to him. But think about it, what does heir mean?

    Dalton McGuinty is a young man and will not be pushed out unless he loses an election. Since the Liberals have an excellent chance of being reelected in 2007 (of course it is easier with a team player such as Gerard onboard), McGuinty's next chance of failure would be 2011. Then 4 years in opposition. Then supposed heir Gerard may become premier in 2015.

    By Anonymous MississaugaPeter, at 8:45 AM  

  • Hey Grit - glad to see you started with a non-starter for candidate. I thought the Liberals understood that they NEEDED Ontario to win? Rae can not deliver Ontario....period.

    As for Kennedy - please take him! Anything to get him out of education in Ontario. He'll turn out to be Buzz's best friend in no time flat.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:22 AM  

  • Hello all, speaking on behalf of some very hardcore former NDP voters (my relatives have been candidates for the NDP), Bob Rae made us depressed.

    Its one of those leaders which we'd all very much rather forget. Harris really didn't evoke the same strong emotions in us.

    Even as a high school student during the Rae years I can say that Rae is loathed by even liberal/progressives here in my town.

    However, I think Rae could appeal to voters outside of Ontario, and particularly BC. But Ontario is a pretty important province to write off...

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 9:47 AM  

  • "Bob Rae is a very descent person"....interesting Freudian slip. Great speech maker, parliamentarian but he actually doesn't have great people skills which seems an odd weakness to have as a politician. Tom Walkom's book, 'Rae Days' is actually a good insight into his political style.

    By Anonymous brian, at 10:51 AM  

  • Rae did what no other Ontario NDP leader has done - delivered a majority government.

    Surely he should get some credit for that.

    By Anonymous Robbie, at 11:46 AM  

  • Con: Rae's been out of the cut and thrust of partisan politics for 11 years now. In that time, he's lived large as a corporate lawyer, international trade guru, and lofty ideas man, surrounded by lots of brownnosers, flunkies and yes-men who tell him everything that comes out of his jowly flapper is solid gold.

    Now he's being floated as the lost saviour of the party by a shadowy bunch of snakes and superannuated party brass that includes a goodly portion of the executive suite of Power Corp.

    Remind you of another Liberal leader? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    How about this guy.

    By Blogger Raymaker, at 12:39 PM  

  • The next election – Bob Rae and Stephen the First, Or: The Real Mr Clean versus the Pseudo-Mr Clean:

    Context is important is assessing the merits of leaders of parties. If Bob Rae is elected leader of the Liberals, then the fight will be between Stephen Harper (he of the broken promises, hidden agendas, stealth campaigns and one-man-rule), with Jack Layton bailing frantically to stop the Good Ship NDP from listing too much and losing too many voters to Rae, while the Bloc flails away against Harper in Quebec.

    No other contender for leadership of the Liberals could affect the dynamics of the situation as much as Bob Rae would.

    He brings experience, intelligence, wit, humour (unlike Stephen the First), and integrity to the contest.

    Imagine Belinda (to borrow the Texas description of Bush: All fancy hat and not cattle) Stonach against Harper? No contest; Mr Policy Wonk wipes the floor with her and steals the framing game.

    Imagine Email Brison against Harper? No contest: Harper simply says "corruption" time and again and refights the election the Liberals deservedly lost in early 2006.

    Bob Rae would present the same problem to Harper and his neocons' framing of the issues as Howard Dean does to the Bush neocons: a match of honesty and transparency against disingenuous deceit.

    Bob Rae has the stature to call Harper on his distortions and stealthy policies like no other Liberal candidate could.

    Perhaps there is a Dark Horse candidate waiting in the Liberal wings, ready to explode (further) on to the scene?

    If not, realpolitiek dictates Bob Rae for leadership.

    By Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat, at 12:45 PM  

  • Jim at 5:44am and 6:46am,

    A draft site is up for Kennedy, check it out:

    www.draftkennedy.ca

    He has a national organization building, and he definitely can win.

    Anonymous at 6:19am,

    It is likely Kennedy will run. We don't know 100% for any of the candidates until they announce it for sure, but I think it is probable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 PM  

  • Curiousity,

    Bob Rae might be able to call God down from Heaven, but can he bring in the votes... not a chance.

    By Blogger Joe Calgary, at 1:34 PM  

  • El Hefe; John Rae and Eddie Goldenberg are certainly on board with Rae. It sounds like Jim Munson is too and that crowd has been calling around to try and drum up support among the main JC guys across the country.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:35 PM  

  • "It is likely Kennedy will run."

    So we can all only hope. A Liberal leader Kennedy means the reduction of the NDP to around 10 seats. I can also imagine a phase of "Kennedymania" because of his youth, left-leaning politics, good looks, charisma and frankly; his last name.

    By Anonymous Thomas, at 1:46 PM  

  • As someone in Ontario that would, admittedly, like to see a Conservative majority, my opinion on Bob Rae for Liberal leader is..please, please, please vote for Bob Rae as Liberal leader!!

    Please!

    By Blogger JL, at 3:49 PM  

  • I'm not sure that lifelong Liberals aren't all tarred by Adscam and the Chretien years.
    Not to mention being over the hill pensioners....

    I like Rae. It seems to me that his experiences outside of Ontario, and since the recession there (is it over yet?) - in fact, outside the COUNTRY - discussing how federalism works (or doesn't)with countries such as Sri Lanka and Iraq will have taught him a great deal about the world and our place in it, since his days as Premier.

    By Blogger Penny, at 5:41 PM  

  • As a Conservative supporter, all I can say is..Please, please, please let it be Rae...

    And I have a snappy campaign slogan for him:

    Vote For the Proven Failure.

    Yr welcome, Bob

    By Anonymous Bruce, at 5:54 PM  

  • Next time, it's gonna be different!

    The New Tories under Harper will not realize what hit them come the next federal election. They will be fighting a different Liberal Party, a much more formidable force than the one they narrowly defeated in January.

    Why the difference? Because:

    1. Energy - Leadership campaigns, if held openly and honestly, can invigorate parties. With the many good candidates the LPC now has considering a run, this will happen to the Liberals.

    2. Harper's ethics - Hopefully, the new leader will not have a sorry history of participating in, downplaying, or turning a blind eye to abuses in the political system. There is a good chance the leader will be untainted by electoral scandal or ethical misjudgments, and so the major factor which defeated Martin's government will no longer apply. This time round, it is more likely going to be Harper's ethics being questioned by voters ...

    3. One party - The party will be united. The factions that tore it apart over the past 10 years will have learned their lesson. Those who sat out the last election because they felt unwelcome, or were made unwelcome, can now reconsider and join in the fight to ensure the Canada they know and love as Liberals, is protected from the neocon onslaught.

    4. Principles - There will have been a public debate about liberal principles and policies, and chances are the new Liberal leader will be leading a party which will coalesce around five or more significant principles, incorporating the best of liberalism in Canada.

    5. Homecomings - Those Liberals and independents who voted for the NDP because is represented a relatively unsullied party, and who wished to admonish the Liberals for their breach of trust with citizens on ethical issues, will now have a chance to come home, to a cleansed party. The tent door is always open.

    6. No free ride for neocons - The contrast between a Conservative Party running a tightly controlled election, focusing on corruption and a handful of baubles to toss to the citizenry, and a Conservative Party which is in power and must now openly debate the consequences of its platform in January and new platform in the next election, will be stark. The free ride will be over. We have seen the mainstream media have second thoughts already; this will only increase as the reality of the neocon agenda of the New Tories sinks in to people in the regions.

    7. Canada's voice - The new Liberal leader will speak for Canada. This is the Liberal role in Canadian politics. He or she will represent all voters, in all regions, and will protect the power of the federal government to ensure that Canada is indeed more than simply the sum of its parts, as Harper thinks.

    8. Framing and fighting - The new leader is more likely to run an organized, effective election than the shambolic, unfocused campaign we just suffered through. Harper's framing of issues and avoidance of clear and honest debate of major issues will not be allowed this time around: he will be nailed, and forced to defend policies with more than a terse "It's good because I say it is good, now let them eat cake!"

    9. BlogPower – This time, bloggers, now busily organizing, are going to be spearheading truth squads, building memory banks of past statements, organizing public debate, helping the Liberal candidates in each constituency to launch their own websites, blogs and electronic fund raising methods. Canada will see just how powerful a force the blog universe is.

    So cheer up folks; exciting times for Canada lie ahead.

    By Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat, at 6:08 PM  

  • Does anybody else find it curious that Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman and former Ontario treasurer, Greg Sorbara, are reportedly supporting their former nemesis, Bob Rae, rather than their current colleague Gerard Kennedy? Just asking.

    By Anonymous reformlib, at 7:56 PM  

  • Penny,

    One note re: your comments about life-long Liberals.

    Gerard Kennedy is a life-long Liberal that was not involved in adscam, the Chretien years and he is not an over the hill pensioner.

    He represents refreshing change, as a Liberal.

    There is no need to recruit candidates from other parties. We have our own talent.

    By Anonymous Keep it Liberal, at 8:10 PM  

  • reformlib,

    No surprise that Sorbara would support Rae or someone else, but with his reputation, who cares who he supports?
    As for Smitherman, let's wait and see. Kennedy will gets lots of support from colleagues. It doesn't mean anything if a few go a different way. That is the nature of leadership races.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:13 PM  

  • Maybe they prefer to see Gerard as Minister of Education. Maybe they prefer to see Gerard on the provincial team November 2007. Maybe...make sure they are backing Rae before spreading rumours.

    By Anonymous MississaugaPeter, at 9:41 PM  

  • Oh yah, Bart, I need to plug another Gerard event tomorrow in Sudbury...

    http://ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2006/03/15/c2418.html?lmatch=&lang=_e.html

    Gerard is doing what he does best. Listening and talking. We hope soon he will be doing it outside the province again.

    By Anonymous MississaugaPeter, at 9:57 PM  

  • Just heard a good slogan for Bob Rae today.

    GO WITH A PROVEN LOSER!

    Horny Toad

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:57 PM  

  • Bob Rae role in this race is to be the King-Maker.

    ~Aman

    By Blogger The Liberal Times, at 12:19 AM  

  • "Today I start the first in what may soon become a 37 part series"

    I read through all the comments and I notice no one compared the opening line to that of Stephen Colbert's

    "Today we are start the first of a 413 part series 'Get to know your District'..."

    Maybe I'm the only one who watches the Colbert Report in Canada.

    By Anonymous Roby, at 7:41 AM  

  • Robbie.. Bob Rae delivered a majority alright, on the backs of the mistakes of the other parties.

    He didn't even believe that he ran well enough to win.

    I think everyone here is missing something fairly important and that is the 'center' vote. If the Liberals abandon the center to head left they will lose a lot of their centre-right voters and centre voters. No matter what gains the Liberals make at the expense of the NDP, they will lose as many votes to the CPC.

    Rae, Kennedy, etc.. all represent the 'left' wing of the party. If they are elected leader of the party, the Conservatives will continue to steal votes from the center while the Liberals will be forced to steal from the NDP just to break even.

    In contrast, someone like Ignatief represents the 'right' wing of the party. If he is elected the Conservatives will be squeezed and the NDP will become a large party very quickly.

    So, in conclusion, the Liberal party needs someone from the center. I actually don't know anyone who would fit this mold... any suggestions?

    By Blogger SouthernOntarioan, at 9:13 AM  

  • BR and MI are meeting this weekend to decide on the leadership. BR might announce as early as next week and most likely they will form a strategic alliance at the riding level to not split support and delegates.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:00 AM  

  • You may think of Kennedy as 'left' but if he runs, I don't think he is going to promote the left. Rumour has it that it will be a very centrist campaign. The Liberal party needs to stay in the 'centre'. More importantly, we need a progressive leader, so I would not get caught up in the left or right thing because it is all about Liberal values making sound policy that moves Canada forward.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:54 AM  

  • Perhaps a dumb comment but IMHO the NDP premier who would give real credibility as a Liberal leader would be Roy Romanow. He has worked with the Liberal Party on the Romanow Report and would command a position on health care. Unfortunately, age is not in his favor.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:53 AM  

  • Sorry, I just can't see Rae overcoming his legacy in Ontario.

    A debt that went from $35 billion to over $100 billion in less than 5 years, after starting from a near-zero deficit situation?! Uh-uh. That huge ramp-up of debt is still affecting Ontario's finances today. The Conservatives would gladly highlight that at every turn.

    Ontario being downgraded from its AAA rating?

    Some in the CAW leadership throwing out the suggestion that Rae declare bankruptcy, which would have instantly devalued every piece of property in the province by half?

    Simply too big, and too many targets.

    Smart guy, but a spent force. Still an infinitely better pick than Stronach or McTeague, and some others, would be.

    By Anonymous KRB, at 5:36 PM  

  • Every NDPer I know hates Rae with all the passion Reformers have in hating Brison and Stronach, if not more.

    He not only abandoned the party, he screwed it over but good before he did so.

    I really don't see how he'd steal left Liberals back from the NDP, and it goes without saying he's not going to bring back blue Liberals from the Cons.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 2:39 PM  

  • Rae will be instrumental in bringing the progressive forces of Canada together if he were to win the Liberal leadership.

    The hard-nosed Liberals and New Democrats who feel such a union is out of the question have to wake up and sense the possibility of another Conservative government whence the vote is split in he looming 40th general election.

    They need to stop playing partisan politics and focus on working toward that which is in the best interest of the country, not themselves.

    Related link: www.unitetheleft.ca

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:04 PM  

  • New Democrats have a strong dislike of Rae. If you think he'll be able to peel votes from Layton, think again. Most, left and right, peg his as a failure.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:54 PM  

  • krb...

    The Peterson Liberals left a deficit of about 3 billion. Add that to the 19% reduction in revenue, and a big deficit happens. New spending in 1991? About 300 - 400 million. The "big spender" lable was something the NDP was never able to counter.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 PM  

  • "My problem with the Liberals was, and is, their smugness."
    - Bob Rae

    "I drifted form the Liberals as I realized how conservative Pierre Trudeau really was."
    -Bob Rae

    By Anonymous nick, at 6:42 PM  

  • Once a socialist, always a socialist. Sounds like he's in tight with the Liberal elite power-brokers, the behind-the-scenes puppetmasters who will get him to enact their hidden agenda.

    But somehow he'll claim to 'speak for the common man'. This guy makes me sick.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:57 PM  

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