Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hip! Hip! Who? Rae!

Canada edges ever closer towards a genuinely competitive two-party system with Bob Rae's public musings about uniting the left to prevent a Conservative majority government from taking office:

"I think it's important for people who call themselves progressive to really think about the situation.

"There's a progressive record that's shared by a majority of Canadians, but so far, we have not succeeded in becoming a majority in the House of Commons, so we must think a bit about how that can happen."

The pitch might appeal to some Liberals who feel they lost the last election because New Democratic Party voters refused to rally behind Mr. Martin when the Conservatives were heading toward victory. It also might upset diehard New Democrats.

Mr. Rae may face a difficult time convincing Liberals he is the man to deliver the pitch as their new leader, however. Many Liberals remember with distaste his tenure as NDP premier from 1990 to 1995, and he has never been an active Liberal.

But senior Liberals say Mr. Rae has essentially decided he wants to run and now must determine his chances of winning.

Do not underestimate Bob Rae.

More to the point, do not overestimate people's memories of his failed premiership. Ten years is a long time; the Harris years have come and gone since then, and a politician can easily reinvent and rehabilitate his public image over the course of a decade.

His economic views now would not raise eyebrows on Bay Street, nor would his views on foreign policy ruffle feathers outside university campuses. Power Corporation, in turn, has given him its seal of approval, and not just because John Rae is his brother.

Rae's message will appeal greatly to New Democrats worried about the drift of their party into the nether reaches of unreality, under the watch of thugs disguised as anti-poverty and anti-globalization activists, along even uglier undercurrents of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

At the same time, he might not lose too many right-leaning Liberals who have seen him become acceptable to Bay Street.

Conventional wisdom once had it that Stephen Harper was equally as unelectable as Bob Rae supposedly is.

Don't believe it.

Be ready to fight him, hard.

Source: Globe and Mail


Kerry said...

I agree that Bob Rae is a significant threat if he becomes the leader of the Federal Liberals. He does have some cache for the lefties, and has done a lot of work to distance himself from his time as the first NDP Premier of Ontario.
At the same time you can be sure that the disasterous 4 years he was the Premier of Ontario will be whitewashed by those in the MSM who really want him to be that shining star the Liberals think they need to leading them into the next election. Right now there are lefties burning the midnight oil trying to lay blame for those four years on everything from the economy(Brian Mulroney), to the US(George Bush, Sr.), to even the weakness of the opposition parties in Ontario (Mike Harris).
While 10 years is a long time in politics as Stephen Harper has proven, you can be sure that if Mike Harris were to announce a comeback the moonbats in Ontario would be out in full force digging up every issue from his time as Premier. It's too bad that the same thing won't be done to Bob Rae because many of the issues that Mike Harris had to deal with during his tenure were born during during Rae's time as Premier. But short term memories, and the left-leaning MSM's need for a white knight will result in Bob Rae getting a clean slate to work from.
Bob Rae as a leading candidate for the Federal Liberals along with turncoats Scott Brison, and Belinda Stronach only strengthen the argument that the Liberals have become a soulless, opportunistic party that values image over substance. Let's hope that Canadians continue to see through this smoke and mirrors so that we can continue to evolve and pull ouselves out of the quagmire that has bogged down our national development over the last 40 years.

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Just Who is Bob Rae?

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, your listening, boy?):

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

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