David Peterson warned Wednesday that erstwhile NDP rival Bob Rae won't be welcome in the federal Liberal leadership race...
"Here's a guy, a lot of people went to war with him and now he wants to lead the army without even enlisting..."
Peterson argues that Rae has considerable baggage, that will hurt his leadership chances. Peterson's opinion is fine in and of itself, but it's his "pay your dues" Liberal hierarchy talk that is dead wrong:
Party politics "is tribal and it's primordial and it's based on trust and affection and shared experiences," Peterson observed...
Peterson insisted he doesn't hold any personal grudge against Rae but is simply being realistic about the reception he'll get from Liberal militants who've given blood for the party through good and bad times.
The article also points out that Peterson is likely to support Michael Ignatieff in the federal leadership race. While Ignatieff does have historic Liberal ties, clearly his candidacy falls outside of the Liberal "militants who've given blood" meme. How can you be in the trenches, when you weren't in the country? I like Ignatieff, but I question Peterson's inconsistent logic.
What really irks me about Peterson's stance on Rae is that it illustrates the "old boy's" network, where your stature within the party is more about alliances and posturing than about ideas. The Liberal Party, if it is to move forward effectively, should project an air of openness. Bob Rae is not some political rookie without pedigree, so if he wants in then make the tent big enough to welcome his candidacy. Rae is not without ties to prominent Liberals, so his presence isn't completely surprising.
David Peterson's comments represent all that was wrong with the Liberal Party- patronage and the buddy system. Rae's candidacy represents an opportunity to expand the vocabulary, who cares about the pecking order. I am not offering my support for Rae, because like Peterson I think he may have too much baggage to be a realistic hope. However, having someone enter the Liberal leadership, who can speak with eloquence on just about any subject, is a clear positive for anyone who wants an open discussion of ideas, not a contest of who has earned the most brownie points.