"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