Thursday, June 7, 2012

Run, Bob, Run - And Many Others as Well

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.

9 comments:

  1. I'll be fighting tooth and nail to ensure that Rae does not win.

    Why?

    Well, I like Bob Rae. I think he is a great leader, and I think he's done a great job as Interim leader. At a time when we've seen a polarization of politics, a time when our party *should* have been pushed down to 10%, and not retained it's 20%, Rae has managed to remain in the media, and, do well.

    I also don't have a problem with Bob Rae's NDP past. I think that Rae suffered from an inexperienced Cabinet in Ontario, and I do not blame him for any failures during his term as Premier. I also do not buy that he is a closet socialist. He knows that in order to win, the Liberals will need a centre-right fiscal platform. He has, thus far, allowed the Liberals to have just that.

    I also am not upset that he is running despite the fact that he said he would not. He is a politician and does what politicians do. This is not a surprised to anyone - that he wants to run and if given the chance will - and anyone who is surprised is either ignorant or a liar.

    So then why will I fight to defeat him?

    Ethics.

    I do not have a problem with any supposed "lies" that Rae told. As I said earlier, what he did is expected. I DO however have a problem with the Executive. They are allowing Rae to leverage his position as interim in to a full time Leadership role. Remember, it was the executive that made him Interim. Weather or not an executive make up changes or not (much like a Government is a Government weather or not it's lead by a Liberal or Tory) what we have is this simple fact:

    The Executive hand picked someone, telling us it is okay, because he'll never be real leader, then, changed the rules to allow him to be leader.

    In effect, the Executive is subverting the democratic process in allowing Rae to leverage his position like this. They are taking us members for fools.

    I will not allow this to happen, and I will fight with everything that I have to ensure that Rae goes down to defeat, and I do mean everything.

    People might say "what if that means another Dion or Iggy?" and my answer is simple. I want an ethical party. I'd rather see the Liberals die than let the party become so corrupted. We've had enough ethical problems, and that is one of the key reasons why we are now in 3rd place. Either we shape up, or we ship out.

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  2. So what exactly is Bob Rae's appeal? He's a good speaker and has a sense of humour, is that it?

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    1. That's half the battle, to be honest. Leadership is more and more about style. Rae also has substance, and the Liberals under his reign have been pretty good on that front. We also need to give him an opportunity to outline where he wants to take the party. Maybe you'll find something you like about him, never know.

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    2. I don't see how the Liberals are really any better off today then they were a year ago. The party has become better at fundraising so Rae may take some credit for that. Besides the creation of the supporter category what substantial change has there been with the Liberal Party?

      Bob Rae made headlines and support for the party went up during Nycole Turmel's time as leader but he has been completely overshadowed by Tom Mulcair. Had Jack Layton not died I'd say the Liberals would be much worse off today.

      I started to like Rae over his tenure as interim leader, and think he has a great personality, but I'd never want him to be Prime Minister. While not everything that happened in Ontario during his time in office is his fault he didn't prove to be a competent premier whatsoever, and it's absolutely ridiculous to see Liberals cheering him on when he defends his record. I will also not be the least bit surprised to see him try and merge with the NDP if he becomes leader. He said his problem with the NDP had been that they didn't modernize themselves, but that is occurring under Mulcair's leadership.

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  3. Quit looking for a savior. There is none. And we don't need to elect another Harper/Mulcair. There may be or not an ideal person that could lead the party..... or not. Before pissing into the tent at least give everyone the benefit to prove themselves.

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    1. I'm not sure who you're addressing this to kitt, but hopefully it isn't to me. I said nothing about a "savoir," I abhor such talk. As you said, we need to give everyone the benefit to prove themselves - that includes Rae, and many others who need to be in a race so we can see and choose which direction we want this party to go.

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  4. When Trudeau won in 1968, many (MANY) thought he would be an awful leader for the Liberal Party. They saw him as not a real Liberal, and too far to the left.

    Chretien was seen as someone who had the unique ability to appeal to nobody. He looked and sounded funny, and was the John Baird of his day.

    Harper himself was seen as too right-wing to ever win an election in Canada, and that even if he did manage to do well, he'd never win seats in Quebec, the Atlantic, or Ontario, and especially, never in the City of Toronto.

    Layton was a little man from Toronto who brought nothing new to the NDP, and in fact, sounded a bit like a used car salesman. He was seen as a combo of old style NDP politics that no longer work and an slimy unethical-sounding front.

    Tommy Douglas was seen by many as a communist. While he was popular in his own party, even the feds speid on him and wanted to arrest him. He was some radical leftist who would surely take down democracy.

    Danny Williams was just some random fellow with a lot of money who bought his way to the opposition leader's seat at a time when the Liberals were "unbeatable" in Newfoundland.

    My point?

    You can say just about anything about any of the candidates. They are weak, small, can't grab the media, not skilled, not experienced, but in the end you never really know how the voters will react. Maybe Bertushi will beat Mulroney's election record, or, maybe he'll fade from memory like all those other nobodies. Who is to say any of this. If we look for a saviour we will only find a fool. We should not waste our time looking for the Liberal Jesus Christ to resurrect the party. We should look for a leader. That is what we need.

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    1. You obviously don't know much about Newfoundland and Labrador politics if that's what you're saying about Danny Williams.

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