Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Peterson Wrong On Rae

Former Ontario Premier David Peterson came out swinging against Bob Rae today:
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.


lept said...

God, I hate agreeing with blatent federalists so much - good points in most of the last bloody posts (dammit).

Steve V said...


lol. Don't worry it will pass ;)

Mark Dowling said...

Is Peterson just annoyed that he wasn't the one to bring Rae "to the dark side" like he did Belinda? His comments stink of hypocrisy in the light of that incident. So you can just the Libs and be a cabinet minister, just not Leader. Uh-huh.

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.