Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Rae's Takes the First Step

Talk about sour grapes… 16 years on, David Peterson is still smarting over his surprising electoral loss to Bob Rae:
Former Ontario premier David Peterson warned Wednesday that erstwhile NDP rival Bob Rae won't be welcome in the federal Liberal leadership race.
Peterson’s grudge is the more apparent, considering his comments on the other two “recent” Liberals, Brison and Stronach:
"It does absolutely (hurt) but it doesn't hurt them as much because the sense is
they've been sanitized at least by (running for the Liberals in) one election."
Well, let’s consider, shall we? Rae’s break with the NDP has been obvious for years (his membership in that party lapsed in 1998), and his moderate left-wing credentials are well known. The Liberals under both Chretien and Martin courted him for a federal run. Just because he has remained tokenly non-partisan does not change the fact that his natural ideological home is now within this party.

Contrast that with the two would-be Tory leaders, who ran directly for the federal Tories as candidates best positioned to remove the Liberal Party of Canada from power. In 2003 and 2004, respectively. Their new found zest for all things Liberal notwithstanding, it doesn't change the fact that they were touting fairly non-Liberal views, at least on economic and security matters, not so long ago.

Incidentally, I think all three of these candidates are fatally flawed candidates, at least this time around. But for Peterson to state publicly that Rae presents some type of special “dilemma” for party members? There’s a pretty simple solution available – just don’t support him!

Rae’s candidacy is actually the truly fascinating one of the race. The conspiracy theorist in me sees him lining up support on the left of the party, with considerable help from the Chretien wing - because which frontrunner will be desperately casting about to improve his standing from just those delegates after the opening ballots. Conveniently, Rae’s old roommate. Rae organizing delegates that can be subsequently delivered to Ignatieff on the convention floor will prove eminently more helpful than a simple endorsement in the early stages would...

After all, it’s never too early to look to the endgame.

UPDATE: Oh, and what he said, too.


Blogger The Tiger said...

That'd be tough, James -- surely it would be Rae supporters who would be least likely to care for someone like Michael Ignatieff.

But perhaps I am unjust in my thoughts about the commitment of the left side of the Liberal Party to muscular defense of human rights overseas. I am willing to be convinced otherwise.

10:08 PM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

That's why it might work though... Rae will rally some principled leftists into the party, who I have no doubt will be similarly impressed with the high caliber of Ignatieff's thoughts and delivery as well. Don't underestimate the loyalty of following the guy you have arrived at the convention as a delegate for... Ignatieff won't get them all, but he'll have a chance at a lot more than on his own.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Peterson's comments should be taken with a grain of salt; this Smart Suit and No Sense politician was soundly drubbed by Bob Rae because he lost touch with the voters of Ontario, and – like Harper right now – fell into the trap of hubris. Polls are – and will – showing that Bob Rae has immense appeal to those on the centre-left spectrum, especially NDP members, a factor which would assure a majority Liberal government under Rae.

11:55 AM  

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