I was out of the loop yesterday, but I caught a radio piece in the morning, relating to Bob Rae possibly taking a pass on the Liberal leadership. Since then, I read this morning that Rae will run, the rumors "bullshit", let the games begin. Anyways, I was doing the mental math prior to hearing Rae would run, and I came to a quick conclusion- maybe this was good thing?
I confess, I'm having a hard time getting particularly excited about this leadership race. My reasoning, this leadership race will be a grand distraction, in terms of fundraising, party "renewal", policy development, unity, effective opposition, basically all the ingredients required to get this party back on course. With that in mind, Rae taking a pass was entirely attractive in one sense. Eliminate Rae, then it's pretty much an Ignatieff coronation. That doesn't translate to an endorsement of Ignatieff, but within that reality, people could move forward with some basic assumptions, our collective energy placed where it needs to be, straight away, the leadership race almost a sideline.
I have no empirical evidence or "insider" information to support this thesis, but my instincts tell me that Ignatieff will be hard to beat in this leadership race. It would appear, Iggy has substantial backroom support, as well as a potent grassroots network throughout the country. I honestly don't see a Manley bid seriously challenging Ignatieff, and LeBlanc's run looks more like a future audition, than serious contender. That effectively leaves Rae as the only credible alternative, so his rumored exit had appeal, because it would short-circuit a six months navel gazing exercise, that undercuts the real issues at hand. Early days, but it's hard to see Rae actually winning, because the discussion will invariably turn to the economy as the central question moving forward, Rae's baggage biblical in scope. That reality, brings us back to Iggy again, but we only arrive there after a torturous, and inevitably divisive, process.
It's a mute point now, Rae will run, but in the grand scheme, part of me wishes the rumors true. In terms of the Liberal Party, a neutered leadership race, with eventually victor assumptions, is probably the best case scenario. But, alas...