Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Rae Factor

Many people are strongly dismissive of Rae’s chances to win the Liberal leadership race. For arguments sake, accept the premise that Rae can’t win. The question then becomes, what impact will Rae have on this race and the eventual outcome. My answer, Rae might just be the most important person on the convention floor.

Calgary Grit did a detailed projection of the various candidates support heading into the convention. You can quibble with the results, but I think it fair to say that Rae will enter the convention with decent first-ballot support. When the question turns to which candidate others will move too on subsequent ballots, I would assume Michael Ignatieff has an ace up his sleeve. Given Rae’s long time friendship with Ignatieff, it’s hard to see a scenario where Rae doesn’t support him on the convention floor. If we believe that Rae enters the hall with around 15% of the delegates, this move could make Rae the kingmaker.

One the criticisms of Ignatieff is that, despite his apparent front-runner status, he won’t be able to “grow” at the convention. The Rae factor could prove this assumption wrong and provide the momentum to make Ignatieff look inevitable. Rae doesn’t have to deliver all his delegates, because it would be psychologically powerful to watch him walk over to Ignatieff’s perch. In a convention that looks to go beyond a first or second ballot, Rae might be able to give Ignatieff everything he requires- momentum. If Rae concludes he can't win, why wouldn't he support his "lifelong" friend.


s.b. said...

Rae will not enter with anywhere near 15% support. He wiill be lucky to be fifth on the first ballot. He may have 10% but probably not.

goonandbleed said...

1. Rae will come in second on the first ballot.

2. The entire Rae Ignatieff lifelong friendship thing has been blown completely out of all proportion. Read Rae's interviews and what he has said on the subject. It is not like for the past thirty years they have been chumming around and talking to each other daily. So I don't believe that Rae supporting Iggy is a given. Ultimately a guy like Rae who has payed his political dues is not impressed that a guy like Ignatieff -- no matter how bright he is -- can just waltz back to Canada and become its prime minister. Lifers like Rae who have devoted their life to public service, long ago lost, their wide eyed wonder for academics. Rae's a realist now, not a disciple.

3. If Rae is going to anyone it will be to Dion. I think that there are enough links between the two camps -- at the very very top -- that one of these guys is going to the other is probably how this thing will shake down.

4. In the final analysis, I don't think that Rae will be going to any other candidate because he will make it to the final ballot.

Steve V said...


And who would be fourth? ;)


I don't think Rae's support is a given, but it's certainly logical.

Walks With Coffee said...

Dion will go to Rae... but will not likely have to go the other way around - although maybe. Rae will only go to Ignatieff if it looks like Dion cannot defeat Ignatieff.

At the moment Michael Ignatieff is the front runner but has lost momentum and a Rae-Dion team might defeat Ignatieff. I think Ignatieff has lost that much momentum

In a general election: Quebec will support either Rae or Dion - Liberals have figured that out and Liberals usually pick the leader that will most likely win with the voters. Similarly, BC will support Rae in a general election (and maybe Dion)... as will Manitoba, and Atlantic Canada. Up for graps is Ontario and Sask. The Territories would favour Rae over Dion (The Territories lean NDP).

All of the above could be true for Ignatieff but, and there is a notable but, the Liberal party ( which I'm not a member of) appears to be pondering that Igantieff has not yet understood Canadian sentiment on the war, and war-talk in general (and he is not showing signs of learning fast enough). Two-thirds of Canadians may be social-democrates (which Ignatieff clearly is too) but they also do not want to give blanket support to miltitary rehtoric. Ignatieff must take a stand that reflects this, and speak against Harper on military matter, or he will loose either the leadership race... or the general election.

Dion has baggage in Ontario because he was a cabinet minister during the scandel years. Rae has baggage because he lost to Harris - which may not be serious baggage anymore??? Ignatieff has war baggage in both Quebec and Ontario, which may be the deciding factor here unless he says something that is meaningful to *Canadians*.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a likely scenario.

Rae will be fourth on the first ballot.

Ironically, both Rae and Ignatieff represent the old guard, and the old guard felt shut out by Martin, and they want to hijack the party back.

It is particularly ironic because both Iggy and Rae present themselves as "outsiders", but they are very much the tools of the old Liberal establishment, and they will stick together.

Dion and Kennedy represent the new Liberal Party, and the future. They are not supported by the establishment, but they are gaining a lot of delegates. One of them will be number two and one of them will be number three.

They will have to band together to stop Iggy and support eachother if they want to truly bring in a new generation of Liberals to govern this country.

Steve V said...

walks with

"Dion has baggage in Ontario because he was a cabinet minister"

Why do you think that?


It is somewhat ironic that the two newcomers to the party have the backing of the old guard.

Walks With Coffee said...

Save v asks, "Dion has baggage in Ontario because he was a cabinet minister".. Why do you think that?"

Ontario has not yet forgotten Adsam... it is forgeting but the memory has not yet past. Dion was a cabinet minster during the scandel years and that may work against him (and the Liberal Party if he is leader)... boht in Ontario and Quebec. More time may need to pass before reaching back to Chretien or Martin cabinet ministers. Dion needs to rebuild himself with a few good years in a government without major scandel.

Along the same line, Rae may have had enough time since his Ontario defeat and history is not judging Harris entirely kindly so Rae is not looking too too bad in comparison... time "heals"... so to speak.

Ignatieff's baggage is plainly his war rehtoric record... and he has to speak plainly and boldly in way that separates himself from NeoCon war-mongering... he doesn't seem to get this at this point and may be in for a rude awakening if he doesn't wake on on this issue.

The other contender Kennedy not educated enough and lacking in exec experience to be the country's leader.

In short, this is a Rae, Dion, and Ignatieff race, with the ultimate edge going to Rae if Ignatieff doesn't wise up to Canadian wisdom on warring. The cavet being which way Dion goes when pushed out... backroom dealing anyone?

Steve V said...

walks with

I would argue that Ontario has forgotten about the scandals, with all the polls showing the Liberals in the lead. Dion doesn't have any direct blemish from the scandals, and I think his strong federalist stance plays well in Ontario. I would say his baggage is in Quebec, and judging by today's Globe and Mail article, he still has alot of work to do in reshaping himself.

As an aside, I don't understand how we can have the conversation without at least acknowledging Kennedy as part of a four horse race.

burlivespipe said...

Interesting interpretation...
Do you have one that factors Rae as a finalist? His campaign is going along smoothly, slowly building momentum, unlike the Dion and Ignatieff campaigns, which go on big gusts of wind then stall on a dead sea; Dion faces a lot of questions re. his finances, while Iggy may never shake the 'supported the Iraq war' issue. Rae, meanwhile, does have time on his side, is a terrific campaigner and is very commanding on the stump. The speeches (by the top 5) should be excellent. I don't doubt that Rae may slightly underperform from the original prognostication, but I also believe Ignatieff will, while Kennedy and Dryden may be the first round surprises.
Brisson will cross to Dion; Bennett and Dryden to Rae. Ignatieff will stall on the 3rd ballot down to 2nd place, while Kennedy holds on and then releases his delegates. Ignatieff sends his delegates to Dion, and its between Dion and Rae -- with the winner...

Walks With Coffee said...

"As an aside, I don't understand how we can have the conversation without at least acknowledging Kennedy as part of a four horse race."

Kennedy lacks education, life experience, or exec experience that the country would respect. He is campaigning well... but for a cabinet post; He is not a serious contender for Prime Minister. Sure, the conservatives forward people with his type of resume all the time... (Harper - no life, Day - mimimum education, Manning - minimum life expereince, experience, Joe Clark - minimum e experience etc) but this is not a Liberal habit.

Steve V said...


I made the assumption that Rae can't win, which isn't necessarily true. Your breakdown looks plausible, I'm just speculating :)

Anonymous said...

It's a little rich to say Ignatieff has been out of the country (a lifelong Liberal) so doesn't qualify and that Rae does even though he's been a Liberal for 10 minutes and ONLY left the NDP because of their views on Israel.

You see, Rae had his chance to show what kind of leader he'd be and he royally blew it.

Rae trying to sever himself from Ignatieff is just plain "sleazy". Back to his usual dirty politiking - he's been there before.

CuriosityCat said...

Actually, what is really intriguing is where Ignatieff will go, when it becomes apparent on the second ballot that he will not win.

I see Dion throwing in his lot with Bob Rae, and Ignatieff making a grand gesture and crossing the floor to support Rae.

Game finished.

Anonymous said...

Yes again with the Rae "royaly blew it nonsense". Look Rae lost an election; so what? Many people lose elections and come back to power. Rae was not the complere fuck up that some people would have you believe. I leave that title to Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. At least Rae has executive experience having been the premier of Ontario. And Ignatieff? What has he ever run? The man has not ever received a cabinet memo; never had to deal with the civil service. He's just a smart professor. Before you decide you want to be prime minister of Canada you should at least have something more on your resume than wrote some books. On top of the fact that he has been out of the country for 30 years.

Steve V said...


I started with a premise that is debatable, so other scenarios are entirely possible. If Rae looks viable, and Ignatieff stalls, then what you suggest could happen.