Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rae of Light

As I said all along, this is really the best solution to the Liberals' search for an interim leader. Rae is an outstanding communicator and will keep the party relevant during the search for a younger, permanent leader:

Bob Rae won’t run for permanent Liberal leadership

Bob Rae has decided he won't take a third shot at becoming permanent leader of the federal Liberal party.

Instead, sources have told The Canadian Press the Toronto MP is about to announce his interest in becoming interim leader until a permanent successor to Michael Ignatieff is chosen some 18 months from now.

And the funny thing is, if Rae gets 18 months as interim leader, that will leave him in charge of the Grits for nearly as long as Dion (2 years) or Ignatieff (under 2 and a half years).

UPDATE - Read Bob Rae's job application here



  • Rae, and the Desmarais Power Corp faction, are telling them what they want to hear. They will go along with the 18 month plan, ensure a change of executive favorable to Rae, turf the Martinites, , then change the rule. Just watch them. Two can play ridiculous games is all that salvo means. Good for Rae.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:09 p.m.  

  • Anonymous and all the other nihilist cynics, this assumes that lying really is the new normal, as we are being taught by our present PM, a lesson the electorate seems to be lapping up.
    Rae should have won in 2006 (thanks Gerard Kennedy!). We would look very different now, notwithstanding "the baggage" everybody is so fond of mentioning.

    By Blogger ij, at 2:21 p.m.  

  • Rae has all the right qualifications.

    Experienced: Check
    Good Leadership: Check
    Bilingual: Check
    Effective Communicator: Check
    Completely F*ing ruined a province: Check.


    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 2:26 p.m.  

  • Just like Harper:
    Completely fu*king ruining a country: Check.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:12 p.m.  

  • ij, I made that argument in the past (Bob Rae is the best stump speaker in Canada - and certainly wowed me at a joint event he did at U of T with Preston Manning), but I'm not sure I was right.

    First, I don't think his chances would rate well after the financial crisis hit. Rae's record on the economy is sufficiently bad that its salience would crush him.

    Secondly, some imagine Rae galvanizing the left behind the Liberals. I'd wager most of those people are not Ontarians. Dippers despise Rae, both as a turncoat, and for being a sellout as premier (eg. Rae days, failure to implement public auto insurance).

    Thirdly, the most obvious path to a Liberal victory lies through Ontario. Rae's weaknesses there would have forced either a western strategy or a Quebec strategy.

    In Quebec, his not being French would have been a similar liability. Moreover, in much of the period we are talking about (ie. pre-financial crisis), Harper was doing well in Quebec. He had a good relationship with Charest and sat around 30% in the polls.

    In the west perceptions that he is a lefty would have hurt him (incidentally, I think he is quite at home in the Liberal party), and anyway, that is probably the most difficult path to a Liberal government since it involves massive Conservative leads. Why climb a mountain when you can climb a mole-hill instead?

    By Anonymous hosertohoosier, at 4:19 p.m.  

  • We also have to factor in the $5 million ad campaign that would have been run against Rae.

    Maybe Rae would have done well in a 2007 election, but had his election been at the same time as it turned out to be (Oct 2008), he likely would have been destroyed due to the financial crisis.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:55 p.m.  

  • Rae is a politician. Which means he's probably lying.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the runs for the permanent leadership, anyways.

    By Blogger Michael Fox, at 8:58 p.m.  

  • I can't believe he was ever a contender in the past or now. I remember what a disaster he was in the 1990s and how desperate Ontario was to vote him out of office. That should'be been the end of his career in politics.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:52 a.m.  

  • Rae's a good choice for interim leader: he’s experienced, principled and a great speaker. Best of all, this takes him out of the running for the permanent spot.

    By Blogger Brian from Toronto, at 6:37 a.m.  

  • Fantasize all you want about what would have happened if Rae had won the leadership; it's a harmless game that everyone can win.

    The danger lies in mistaking your fantasy for reality. Rae would not have been a magic bullet. Harper is not Satan. If you’re going to rebuild the Liberal party, you need to break the habits of certainty and superiority.

    Fact is the Liberals didn’t have any good choices. All three main contenders – Dion, Ignatieff and Rae – were fatally flawed.

    In addition, you had a few decent also-rans, and one dangerous nut case – David Orchard, who argues the war in Afghanistan is as bad as the Nazi invasion of Europe and believes Chretien and his cabinet should be in the dock in Nuremberg (or the Hague), charged with the “supreme international crime.”

    You need at least 18 months to start rebuilding - to rediscover fund-raising, to figure out what the party is about and, hopefully, for a leader to emerge who has vision and true grit.

    By Blogger Brian from Toronto, at 7:04 a.m.  

  • Just like Harper:
    Completely fu*king ruining a country: Check.

    In fairness, when you say the phrase "Prime Minister who ruined Canada" Harper only pops into the minds of people not old enough to remember either Mulroney or Trudeau.

    Harper, at his extreme and absolute worst, could never wreak comparable and lasting havoc.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 12:33 p.m.  

  • "Harper, at his extreme and absolute worst, could never wreak comparable and lasting havoc."

    Have we seen harper do his worst yet?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:35 p.m.  

  • Nothing says "renewal" like making the third place leadership candidate (first two defeated at polls) and guy who promoted merging with the NDP, in the wake of Harper's recent victory, the poster boy for a proud Liberal team! We voted Dion to stop iggy losing voters from the left and rae losing voters from the right. Do we really want to test this theory again?!?! Am I the one taking crazy pills here???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:27 p.m.  

  • Anonymous,

    Rae's faults get a discount because he'll only be an interim leader, because he'll have to foreswear promotiing a merger with the NDP and, more importantly, because the NDP aren't interested anyway.

    Also, the party decided the interim leader had to be fluent in French. So realistically you don't have that many choices.

    Who else is available?

    Cotler would be a good choice - he has the gravitas you need for a leader, won't split the left and right of the party, and opposes a merger with the NDP.

    On the other hand, his advantages are the reasons he won't be chosen. Cotler's not a political animal in the way Rae is: he doesn't have a squad of supporters he can mobilize. He's not a backroom fighter, not a scrapper.

    Of course, all of that's good for an interim leader.

    But there is this downside: he also doesn't have the same presence in front of a camera that Rae has.

    - Brian from Toronto

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:57 a.m.  

  • Brian from Toronto:

    I acknowledge his strengths and appreciate the role he can play in party renewal. But you cannot deny he is a polarizing figure. This will be an issue over the next two years as we try to rebuild our party. Many potential new members will not make the distinction between “interim leader” chosen by caucus and “Leader” of the Liberal party. Imagine trying to make that distinction at the door of a former party member: “No, no Mr. Harold, Rae is just interim leader. So, if you sign up again now, it will be for someone else we choose at a later date.” I get why people like Rae for leader, but I can’t help but feel they do so because they have never been door-to-door trying to make the tough sell, outside of the GTA (I could be wrong).

    Ultimately it is caucus’ choice. But I would prefer a non-polarizing figure to help us sell new memberships. Besides, attention should be on our Party as it rebuilds, not caucus. We need to show that we actually care about the renewal commission we had (how about something in addition to one-member-one vote).

    So Cotler, Garneau, and LeBlanc would do fine. Why not Mauril Belanger? He continually gives time to the Party and could do the job just fine. None of these would ward off potential new members.

    Al from Vancouver

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:52 p.m.  

  • Keep in mind why the Party are asking for about 18 months under the Interim Leader (IL): in order to align the Stars for the Permanent Leader (LPCL).

    This is not a "caretaker" role, but an active participant in building the future of the Liberal Party.

    You won't reasonably find an IL taking the Liberal Party to the left, setting up a centre-right LPCL: the basic direction for the Party will have been set by two years of "rebuilding and rebirth".

    Liberals would be wise to consider how the present leads to the future as they debate their Leadership.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:54 p.m.  

  • Al,

    You make excellent points, especially about Toronto being a separate political universe, which is something that those of us who live here tend to forget.

    But I fear it always comes down to who's got the support?

    For that matter, who's even in the running?

    I could easily have missed it, but has anyone else even put their hat in the ring for interim leader - publically?

    - Brian from Toronto

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:44 a.m.  

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