Monday, May 09, 2011

Notes On Choosing An Interim Leader

1) Sorry, Stéphane Dion won't do.  LPoC Members seem compelled  to weave a new narrative going forward, and a part of that narrative is maybe how Dion's idealism shouldn't have been so roughly tossed aside, and how by choosing him now for Interim Leader maybe some of those sins of pragmatism can be atoned for, and etc. 

But the Interim leader has to be the face and voice of the party going forward and, to put it bluntly, Dion's English sucks.  Not that he has not been capable of turning a good phrase in the language of 3/4 of the nation.  In fact, I have heard him say things in English that were prenaturally coherent.  But, lets face it, and as the 2008 campaign revealed most painfully, his English usually has to be translated into English.  If the Liberal grass-roots want to appoint some guy who needs to be sub-titled, go ahead.  Its of a piece with the self-flagellation that seems to be going around.

2) Whether Bob Rae is appointed Interim Leader, or is not, is perhaps irrelevant.  But I find that the strain of thinking among some LPoC supporters to the effect that it would be madness to appoint him Interim Leader, and madness to think that if appointed interim leader he should be allowed to run for the permanent position, is  a sick symptom of the kind of arrogance that has sapped the Federal Liberals over the past ten years and has brought them to their current state of political loserdom.

Lets break it down.  Bob Rae is fluently bilingual; he knows every file he has ever been assigned dead to rights; he has the "common touch" in the way the last three LPoC leaders have not; and he has served the LPoC cause faithfully and with no attempt to undermine whatever leader he served under.  He also, I would argue, kept the LPoC flag flying in Toronto when other candidates were going down around him like flies. 

And, of course, if he had not, out of conviction, converted to LPoC from NDP, he would be elevated now--maybe in Stornoway.  But instead he chose to ride in the vehicle Michael Ignatieff crashed into the snow- fence of political  ignominy, with the rest of you losers (I'm speaking as someone who hasn't joined up, mind you).

In short, I find it a bit sick that Bob Rae should still be considered (IMHO) at the fringes of the party, especially when you think of the greasy wad of candidates the Libs have always been willing to consider family within the 416 (naming no names!). 

Remember this, LPoC grassroots.  You owe him far more than he owes you.

19 comments:

A Eliz. said...

Dion is an honest fine man, but not for interim leader..it would start all over again from Harper, with the NDP helping,
I myself think we have to get away from the Chretien/ Martin fight, and get back to the roots of Laurier.
A good interim leader would be Goodale , (but he only speaks English),..Dominic Leblanc and Marc Garneau.

Jeff Jedras said...

Gee, this Bob Rae sounds like both a smart guy and a great candidate.

That's why I'm sure he knows that, if he lets the party elites appoint him as interim leader, and then uses that position and the advantage it comes with to jump-start a run for permanent leader with a leg-up over the other candidates, it would be seen by many as the party elites trying to game the system for their favoured candidate and a slap in the face to the membership at large who think, perhaps naively, that choosing the leader should be the prerogative of the membership, and who would look less favourable upon Rae's candidacy than they otherwise would.

Which is why I'm sure someone as smart as we all know Rae is wouldn't allow himself to be sucked into that scenario.

And sorry, but we don't "owe" anybody anything.

bigcitylib said...

You don't owe anyone anything? Why? Because the LPoC leader naturally becomes PM, and so anyone thus promoted should be suitably obediant?

JF said...

I fail to see why, if Bob Rae would be such a great candidate, he can't compete for the job on a level playing field without the advantages that come with the interim leadership and short turnaround time.

I'd like to see a real contest and real debate.

As far as this "owed" concept goes... nobody owes or is owed anything. As far as I'm concerned it is (or should be) amnesty day. A clean slate for everyone from here on out.

sharonapple88 said...

Big, a lot of what you said about Bob Rae is quite true. He's a fighter and a hard worker. And we're going to need a hard worker. Quick with a come-back. He'd be able to hit the Conservatives and the NDP hard.

But I find that the strain of thinking among some LPoC supporters to the effect that it would be madness to appoint him Interim Leader, and madness to think he if appointed interim leader he should be allowed to run for the permanent position, is a sick symptom of the kind of arrogance that has sapped the Federal Liberals over the past ten years and has brought them to their current state of political loserdom.

I don't think it's madness that the interim leader shouldn't run for the top position. It was a mistake to put Ignatiff as interim leader and then let him run for the leadership position. A big mistake. The playing field was so tilted to Ignatieff's advantage that there was no point in running against him. (I was rooting for Rae in 2008. He ran circles around Ignatieff during the short campaign.) The worst thing would be to have a repeat of that mess.

Having said this, it's equally crappy to see the way the Liberal brass appear to be trying to change the rules to deal with Rae.

Maybe before we start with the interim leader, we should have a discussion about who should be the party's president.

Just the facts, please said...

No problem with Rae being interim leader, but permanent would be suicidal. The attack ads write themselves, and he's too close to that "elite" thing they tarred Ignatieff with.

Someone younger maybe, but if one were reaching back for a leader, I think Sheila Copps would be interesting. Her Hamilton roots might be an asset, she's tough, feisty, and seasoned, and if the Conservatives tried to run the kind of attack ads they ran on Dion and Ignatieff, they would backfire - attacking a woman would jeopardize the inroads Harper is trying to make among that demographic.

Don't know if she's interested, but I happened to meet her recently, found her impressive, and having a woman would change the dynamic in an interesting way.

sharonapple88 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sharonapple88 said...

Honestly, more than the interim leader, I'm more concerned about how the leadership race is going to shape out. No belief there's a Messiah out there, but this guy or gal is going to lead the party to the next election. Anyone willing to step out infront of the Conservative negative ad machine? Who wants to be tarred and feathered? Besides Rae?

A Eliz. said...

Now what on earth could they say about Marc Garneau

sharonapple88 said...

Now what on earth could they say about Marc Garneau

Garneau: He didn't come back to Earth for you. ;)

Jeff Jedras said...

You don't owe anyone anything? Why? Because the LPoC leader naturally becomes PM, and so anyone thus promoted should be suitably obediant?

I don't get what you're getting at. You seemed to indicate we owe Bob some special consideration. I believe Bob would be a fine candidate but I don't believe he is "owed" anything more than any other potential candidate.

Fred from BC said...

Please, PLEASE pick Bob Rae for your next leader. Don't worry about that old Ontario government stuff ...people won't blame him for that, and they've forgotten all about "Rae Days" by now. Go for it! ;)

bigcitylib said...

Jeff,

The manouvering right now looks to be designed freeze Rae out of the official leadership position, after giving him the crap job of interim leader for two years or so. To exploit him, in other words.

Jeff Jedras said...

BCL, no one is forcing Bob to run for either position. I think though there has been a backlash to what appeared to be Chretien and other senior seniors trying to game the system to install their favourite. That, and Bob's pro-merger musings after e-night, have given many pause and have led to some very reasonable criteria. Everyone knows the rules going in: if you want to run for permanent leader, don't go for the interim gig. As long as everyone knows that, it's a level playing field and everyone has a choice to make, not just Bob.

sharonapple88 said...

What should be a relatively uncontroversial choice -- the person to be interim leadership -- has turned into a mess. (This isn't even a real leadership race and people are at each other's throats.) I think we could get a broad agreement if not on Rae than at least that there are changes needed with the brass for bungling this. Fish rot from the head down, as they say.

Reality Bites said...

It was done the right way after Martin - pick someone respected, with no future leadership aspirations.

The Cons and NDP aren't going to waste their time attacking a caretaker, no matter who it is.

(Unless of course he's gay and Cheryl Gallant will think "Ask your boyfriend" is parliamentary behaviour.)

JF said...

^ Naw, Gallant only throws that comment at interim leaders who aren't gay.

Although I think Brison would be a decent choice for Interim Leader.

BCL: The manouvering right now does not freeze Rae out of the official leadership position. It does look to freeze him (and others) out of being both Interim & Official Party Leader (and rightly so). He (just like everybody else) has a choice to make... he can have one job or the other but not both.

Reality Bites said...

Are you seriously under the impression that Bill Graham isn't gay?

JF said...

He may be I don't know the man personally... I'm just not inclined to accept what has amounted to gossip as fact.