Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Momentum Lost

Bob Rae has enjoyed a good couple months, as his campaign builds a healthy lather that suggests momentum. However, if this revelation about donating to the NDP in the last election is true, it will effectively stall his campaign. The reason- Rae has largely overcome a great deal of the criticism that he is a Liberal because of convience, rather than conviction. If Rae actively assisted the NDP to help oust sitting Liberals, then the self-interest charge finds a striking voice.

Rae enjoys using terms like "we" and "team", partially as a way to endear himself to lifelong Liberals. Many Liberals were suspicious of Rae, which may account for the early leadership dismissals by many pundits. To Rae's credit he has mostly silenced the detractors, through a combination of institutional supporters and crafty rhetoric. The news of NDP donations couldn't come at a worse time, as I'm sure many Liberals are presently taking a second look at Rae. Expect rival camps to quitely whisper the charges, as ridings select delegates, killing the past weeks apparent "surge". This news is particuarly important because it speaks to Rae's loyalty, something which I am quickly learning is incredibly important in Liberal circles. This story is the equivalent of finding out that Dion drives a Hummer and dumps his old paint cans in the local tributary. The timing is horrible, let's see if this has legs, but I suspect it might.

UPDATE

Rae responds to the NDP donations:
In an interview Wednesday, Rae said he had no sign on his lawn. But he confirmed he did make small donations to three or four NDP candidates who were personal friends, as well as to several Liberals, including interim leader Bill Graham.

He said he even gave money once to Hugh Segal, now a Conservative senator, for his ill-fated bid to lead the now-defunct Progressive Conservatives.

"I try to give generously to charity and I try to give generously or as well as I can during political campaigns to encourage good people to get into public life. It's something that I've always done," Rae said.

A search of party donations filed with Elections Canada, shows Rae gave $250 and $300 to two NDP candidates in last winter's election. He also gave two $250 donations to NDP candidates in the 2004 election.

In the last election, Rae also gave $300 each to Liberals Pierre Pettigrew and John Godfrey. An aide said Rae also gave money to Graham in early 2006, which has not yet been reported by Elections Canada, as well as small donations over the years to provincial Liberals in Ontario.

Good answer.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is such a non-issue. How the self-obsessed Liberal bloggers have whipped themselves into a frenzy shows just how out of touch they are with the voting public.

Steve V said...

Oh please. First off, this isn't a frenzy, just an observation. Secondly, what does this have to do with the "voting public", it's really only about diehard Liberals.

Herb said...

As someone who has just joined the party precisely because I thought it was a great thing that Rae was running for leader, I think it would be disastrous if this mini-frenzy on the blogosphere derails or stalls his candidacy. It would smack of the kind of nastiness that characterized the long years of the Turner-Chretien/ Chretien-Martin feuds, and it would make more than a few of us think twice about whether the party really is prepared to become a more welcoming place.

Your call.

Steve V said...

"just joined the party"

Ditto, lest I be accused of demanding loyalty oaths. I simply think it will be an issue, depending on how this plays out.

Anonymous said...

Herb - obviously you don't get it.

Rae is a turncoat. An opportunistic turncoat at that.

He sees the Liberal Party as something he can take over just because the job is vacant. Would he have done the same if the Conservative leadership was vacant.

We want ethics and morals in politics. Loyalty is closely tied to ethics and morals. Bob Rae should come clean.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Rae has a few folks working damage control in the blog comments sections!

Let me say this guys:

1.) If this was a non issue it wouldn't be on 20 different blogs.

2.) Bloggers define an issue - not anonymous commenters (like me, and you)

3.) We all worked hard in the last election - if this is true it means that Bob Rae was working against us.

4.) We don't support Jack Layton and Bon Rae did.

5.) When a Liberal Leader is filing NDP donation reciepts with his taxes: something is wrong.

6.) Our respose in primarily emotional. We feel offended, and hurt by this - and that's our right.

7.) If nobody reports this story, then you are right and I am wrong.

8.) I will NEVER cast any of my leadership ballots for Bob Rae because he helped bring down a Liberal governemnt, and is now trying to benefit from it. FYI - He was my 2nd choice until today and my wife's 1st. This pisses me off.

Anonymous said...

Who the fuck cares what bloggers think?? Ease off on the self-importance. It is not like we got a Woodward and Burnstein here.

This is all about loyalty oaths and the desparation of other campaigns thinking -- wrongly -- that they've stumbled on somthing big when it is nothing of the sort.

Steve V said...

"Who the fuck cares what bloggers think?"

The vast majority of people, of which you aren't apparently ;)

Scotian said...

I do not think this is a minor issue if it turns out to be true. If this is true then he was up until after the last election and Martin resigned still working primarily to support the NDP and not the party that he is trying to become the leader of. So why does this matter some ask? Simple, a party requires trust and loyalty between the leader and the members to be truly effective. If the leader is someone that has governed in the name of another party and was still supporting that party as recently as the last election and suddenly changes party as soon as the leadership post opens up it smacks of opportunism and lack of real commitment to a set of personal principles and professional integrity.

Remember, this race is not for the general public, it is for the membership of the Liberal party to decide who they think should be their leader and who they think best represents the values of their party, one such value being integrity, another being loyalty to the party and what it stands for (which given it's history in shaping this country by being the clear primary government of our history to date is no small matter for Liberals). While I am not a Liberal I received a great deal of my political training by someone that was for over half a century and was a major operator in this region both Provincially and federally. I know who she would have reacted to something like this if true in a possible leadership race as well as many of her circle. So this can be a real problem if true and for reasonable reasons.

Trying to paint this sort of issue as an example of Liberal intolerance and unwillingness to be a true broad tent party is being either inaccurate/wrong or worse, knowingly dishonest. Remember, the question isn't whether he should stand as a candidate as MP for the party right after supporting a party that helped bring down the Martin Liberal government but whether he should lead it given his clear preference to the downfall of that party from power a year ago now. I tell you this, if this is true and he becomes Liberal leader it will come to be seen by many as the Liberals placing expediency above principle and integrity/commitment to fundamental principles/convictions by many within the party and likely some outside the party but willing to consider voting Liberal.

As I've said before I am not a party member, but if I can see just how serious an issue this can rightly be if true then the idea that Liberal members would/should not seems somewhat absurd to me. When one considers just how much betrayal by party leaders came into fashion after the great MacKay treachery of the PCPC it would be hard for many Liberals not to wonder whether Rae might do so to the party to save his own reputation or something, and that kind of distrust between members and a party leader is corrosive and detrimental to a party. There are too many valid reasons to be concerned that to dismiss such concerns as baseless or intolerance and such as I have seen already seems more than a little wrong to me, hence this comment.

Steve V said...

"If the leader is someone that has governed in the name of another party and was still supporting that party as recently as the last election and suddenly changes party as soon as the leadership post opens up it smacks of opportunism"

If the donations stopped in 2004, then that leaves a big window and falls in line with Rae's past that we already know. If the donations were mere weeks before hovering over the corpse of Martin, then opportunism finds clear support. Maybe you can dismiss it, but judging by the amount of posts I've read tonight, many people have now dropped Rae from consideration.

diana said...

Just months ago Bob Rae supported the NDP party. That was his choice.
He donated to the NDP party in a tight race with the Liberals.
I'm willing to accept with no questions or concerns that he's now a member of the LPOC. A party must reach out to others to grow. Bob Rae is brilliant Canadian who is an asset to the Liberal Party.

But that's not the issue. This is the Leadership!
I'm really angry about this. Over the Christmas season, I gave up my time and worked hard for my Liberal candidate. It was cold, dark and hard work. And we lost, so it was extra tough. Thousands of other rank and file Liberals were doing this, and what was Bob doing? Bob Rae helped elect the NDP.
I'm from Ontario. Bob Rae the Premiere once took my vote and pissed all over it. He let me down then, I got over it.
But I’m not looking the other way on this. He can join the party, run for the party, volunteer for the party, support the party, but he can't lead the party after this.
The Liberal party of Canada should be lead by someone who believes in it. It's not just a ride to the top job.

Bob claims that he’s the man to unite the team. It’s his opinion that this one of the most important qualifications of the leader. Do you honestly think that after the caucus learns that Bob contributed to the NDP campaign, in an attempt to defeat a sitting Liberal MP, that he’ll have their support? This party has been divided for too long.

SteelCityGrit said...

I actually spent my sweat and tears working in one of the ridings where Rae contributed to the NDP. We lost. To that NDP candidate. Is that a legitimate deterrent from my supporting him? Yes - I think that's pretty rational. It's not an issue of tribal loyalties.

Geez - Ignatieff gets killed for sitting out all the major battles of the recent past. At least he wasn't actively fighting on the other side of the battlefield.

Steve V said...

I'd be curious to know who Rae voted for in the last election.

Ray Daze said...

Who said these words: "I always supported the notion that Quebec . . . is a nation, it is a distinct society, which we need to recognize in our Constitution and I have fought for that," Mr. Rae said. "The genius behind federalism is that we can be both a Quebecker and a Canadian."

WRONG! Bob Rae, at the non-televised debate in Quebec on August 9, 2006. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060810.LIBERALS10/TPStory/?query=Liberal+hopefuls+argue+over+Quebec+Only+120+attend+event+conducted+in+French

Who said these words: “the unilateral repatriation of the Constitution without Quebec must be fixed.”

Wrong again! Bob Rae, at a campaign stop in Quebec, May 17, 2006. http://www.scottbrison.ca/in-the-media-details_e.php?pid=29&year=2006

Discuss.

NappyGuy said...

He quotes Tommy Douglas in a Liberal leadership debate; he donates to the NDP less than a couple months before he runs for the Liberal leadership; and his justification for running is: "I want to beat the pants off of Stephen Harper"; NOT "I want to lead this great Party". This guy is obviously no Liberal. He is little more than an NDP'er who realizes the NDP can never win federally.

Robert McClelland said...

This is such a non-issue.

If that's the case anonymous, then why are you running around the internet posting this same message on every blog writing about this story? I may just have to pop around to Irene Mathyssen's constituency office tomorrow and have a chat with her people about this non-issue.

Walks With Coffee said...

It shows he is loyal type of guy and is likely to unite the left.

Anonymous said...

Who the "f**k" cares what bloggers think? What a stupid remark. Bloggers are also the public. Bloggers make themselves aware of what's going on. Bloggers talk to friends and family (more of the public) when something like this comes up.

And, I think bloggers should every person in the "public" aware because most don't pay attention.

What Rae has done is dirty, slimy and unacceptable. If he can give it out (attacks) then he should be able to take it.

Anonymous said...

This also affects the current MP's in my mind. I will watch which MP's side with Rae, and if they do, they are showing that ethics and a clean up in the Liberal party isn't a concern - and that's not good.

Yes, Rae has every right to donate and support whomever he wishes during an election BUT he doesn't morally have the right to expect to become the leader of the party he set out to hurt.

dalestreet said...

Hi

Just had a look at the Elections Canada site and found contributions to both NDP and Liberal candidates by a "Bob Rae", in the last election. If these donations are, in fact, from the same person and that person is who everyone thinks he is, then the only thing that seems certain is that this person was working against the CPC.

Anonymous said...

Well, this is stupid. So it's OK now beccause he donated to some Liberals. But, the fact that he donated to the NDP in a Federal Election and then had the gall to run for leadership of the Liberals. If he was true and honest and was considering being a Liberal he shouldn't have helped the NDP. There is just no getting around that.

He is "slime".

dalestreet said...

Anonymous

If I recall correctly, there was a Liberal leader in place during the last election and Bob Rae wasn't a member of any party.

By your logic, the respected blogger of Far and Wide, who has written favourably of both the NDP and the LPC in the past and, by his own admission, only joined the LPC some few months ago, should not be able to now declare his support for the LPC or write favourably about his adopted party.

As a member of the general electorate, who does not belong to any party and has voted LPC, NDP & PCPC in the past, I was always under the impression that the LPC was an inclusive party, that welcomed opinions and voices from both the right and the left of the political spectrum and was made up of sober, mature individuals.

The sniping that has gone on in some of the comments to this post reminds me of adolescent complaints of "bandwagoneering" that occur when a band makes the transition from "cult" to popular status.

Scotian said...

Steve V:

"Maybe you can dismiss it, but judging by the amount of posts I've read tonight, many people have now dropped Rae from consideration."

11:50 PM

I am not dismissing it, I don't know one way or the other. My point was that if it was true then there was more than sufficient grounds for members of the Liberal party to have serious reservations about having Rae as their leader. I left the qualifiers in because I do not know enough facts in this myself to be able to accept the premise that it is true, nothing more. If anything I was trying to point out that there would be legitimate grounds for concern for Liberals if this were to be proven out and that anyone trying to pretend that there would not be is wrong IMHO.

Anonymous said...

This is definitely a relevant story. Why would bloggers not report on it? If bloggers found out David Emerson, or any other Liberal MP, donated money to the Conservatives during the election, should they not report it? Would it not be a big deal?

Fact is, Bob Rae has enough baggage with the fact that he would put the Liberals in serious trouble in Ontario. Don't think that's true? Talk to anyone who lived through Rae Days, and lost her/his job due to a five-year ecomonic funk during Rae's tenure.

Bob Rae did not need anymore baggage. Now he has it though.

Bob Rae stood up and told caucus members that the reason he did not run for the Liberals in 2000 was his children. Ok, fair enough. He said he did not run in 2004 and 2006 because of Air India. I personally would have bailed on that to be a potential cabinet minister but that's just me. Fair ball. But, if he could not run for the Liberals because of Air India, then he should not have been donating to any political party or candidate, let alone the NDP!

This shows that Bob Rae basically lied to the faces of Liberal caucus members. If he wanted to avoid the bad "conflict" optics or running for office while doing an inquiry, that should also apply to DONATING MONEY!

Wake up people! Rae is self-serving! He has been offered everything by Liberals leaders of the past to run but he always said no! Why? Because he's not a LIBERAL! He's only running now because he wants power. Believe me, if Bob Rae thought the NDP could win the next election, and the leadership was available, he'd run for NDP leader!

Bob Rae will kill "us" in Ontario, which will force us to spend so much time there that we cannot focus anywhere else, like Quebec, the Prairies and BC.

Now, we reconfirm that he's even less of a Liberal than Iggy!

If we vote for Iggy or Rae, we're doomed!

Steve V said...

scotian

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest you dismiss it- I meant you in a general sense :)

Dale

I was waiting for someone to bring up my affiliation. The only difference, I'm not running for the top job of the party. The optics are bad. I don't think it speaks to inclusion, merely the suggestion of opportunism.

Scotian said...

Steve V:

I wondered whether that might be the case, but I could not be sure, hence the response. If it hadn't been quoted material from my own post I would not have been concerned that the "you" was specific to me even though the point you were making was the same that I had made. Thanks for making this clear and sorry for any confusion I might have caused.

dalestreet said...

Steve

I'm not sure the optics are bad. Even IF it is THE Bob Rae in the Elections Canada contributor database. He made donations as a private, non-partisan citizen to candidates of the two parties that best reflect his political ideology during an election campaign where the third party, whose ideology is far removed from his own, was gaining in strength and was touted for a majority government.

Subsequent to the election, Liberal fingers began pointing every which way to try and assign blame for the abyssmal campaign. Next, every Liberal pipped to be the next leader (Rock, Manley, Tobin, McKenna, etc.) pulled their names from the list, leaving a huge vacuum.

I'm not surprised Rae threw his hat into the ring as it seemed that none of the long-established Liberals had the stomach to try and stop a CPC majority in the next election.

I for one am glad that Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff have adpoted the Liberal brand in an attempt to oppose the CPC in the next general election. Lord knows that Joe Volpe, Scott Brison, Ken Dryden or Hedy Fry wouldn't be able to topple the CPC, and as you've pointed out to me before, the electorate isn't going to give the reins of power to Jack Layton.