Sunday, April 09, 2006
No Way, Bob Rae!
From the Globe:
Edmonton — Bob Rae signaled he is really in the Liberal leadership race with a series of broad hints at a panel for potential candidates Saturday.
Striding to the middle of the stage when it was his turn to make an opening statement in session with 16 aspirants, Mr. Rae, the former NDP Premier of Ontario, quipped: "Thank you, I'm much more comfortable in the middle."
globeandmail.com : Rae hints at Liberal leadership bid
There are two potential Lib Leadership candidates who, if elected to this post, will take the Liberals down in ruins with them during the next general election. One is Michael Ignateiff; the other is Bob Rae.
With Bob Rae, it is simply a matter of his record. He left the province of Ontario running an annual deficit in the neighborhood of 10 Billion per year. Now, alot of this was bad luck. Rae's NDP took office just as the 1990-91 recession kicked in, and in Ontario it kicked in hard. Nevertheless, you are judged by your results, and Rae failed awfully in returning Ontario to a healthy financial footing. The Tories will shell him like a peanut over this.
The second issue is a little less obvious: it seems to me that Rae is too much of a philosopher to function effectively as a politician. For example, it is all very well to approach massive deficits determined to "spread the pain equally", but instituting something like "Bob Rae Days" when your party has been largely built around Union support, was an act of political madness. Unionists tend to be left politically, but right culturally, and stiffing them in this manner made them ripe for some of the anti-intellectualism and veiled racism that Mike Harris served up in his 1995 campaign. Furthermore, in the run-up to the 1995 election, it was obvious that the NDP were going to get booted out the door, but it was not clear how far. I remember reading article after article as voting day grew closer, about how "above the fray" and "philosophical" Rae appeared. For me, I will always prefer someone who is ready to go down fighting tooth and nail.