Let's face the facts right here and now: with the recent news that the Liberal executive will allow Bob Rae to run for the permanent leadership position (and suffice to say he'll need to resign as Interim Leader to do so), the chances are fairly high that he'll do exactly that. We already know he's got something of a shadow campaign going, the biggest indication being Jim Karygiannis' romps around the country as of late. He was third in the last proper leadership election in 2006, with both Dion and Ignatieff ending up deposed. And at least two-thirds of Liberals approve of the job he's done as Interim Leader, so there's not a lot of doubt about his abilities either.
Bob Rae is, as of now, the frontrunner in the Liberal leadership race. We all knew this, but now we can be totally sure of it, because he will run.
And I've got no problem with that. I like Bob Rae, I approve of the job he's done, and I think he'd make a capable enough Liberal leader. There's simply no denying the brilliant, quick-thinking mind behind that winning smile and charming elder-statesman-like air around him. I'd follow the man off the electoral cliff, as I did with Dion and Iggy. Loyal Liberal to the core and all that.
But that's the problem, isn't it? In the year and a bit that Rae's been leader, he's only managed to increase the Liberal's polling when the NDP had the useless Nycole Turmel as interim leader. Now that Thomas Mulcair is in charge, the NDP are far ahead, and we're back down to polling at or below our 2011 numbers. We may hold on to the 34 seats we won last May, gain a few GTA seats because of the Cons dropping, but with Rae at the helm, so far it seems like that's all we'll do. We're already at the bottom of the cliff, and Rae has so far failed to get the Liberals to climb out.
Is that his fault? No, not necessarily, but his leadership does play a part. And so far, while I'm supportive of the Leader, I'm not wowed, or impressed, by what I've seen. And Rae's not likely to change course as permanent leader, and that's a problem.
Hence why, yes, Rae can, and should, and will, run. But so must many others. We must have an alternative to Rae so we can decide whether we want more of the same, or if we want to try another course, under another leader. Heck, maybe we want to try an entirely new approach to doing things. Many good Liberals out there have ideas of what needs to change and what the party can do to change itself. A reinvention of the Liberal Party is not such a bad idea, after all.
We can't have another coronation, as we did with Iggy, or Martin. Enough of those. There is more than one viable idea out there than Bob Rae's. We need candidates who are not just willing to put forward those new ideas, but also have the credibility to implement those ideas.