Monday, August 14, 2006

Bevilacqua May Force a Rae-examination

Bevilacqua endorses Rae, so what does it mean? Well respected, Bevilacqua now becomes Rae's campaign co-chair and economic advisor. Despite the fact that Bevilacqua's campaign never seemed to have any traction, his support of Rae is significant for a number of reasons. The fact that Bevilacqua was a perceived "center-right" Liberal, with fiscal credentials, should challenge many of the pre-conceived notions surrounding Rae.

Rae's achilles heel is his legacy of massive deficits and a big recession. That someone like Bevilacqua chooses to endorse Rae and says, "We have been talking for some time about the economic changes we have to prepare for", patently challenges the perception that Rae is an economic nightmare. I suspect many Liberals, particularly those in Ontario, who have dismissed Rae out of hand, may take another look. Bevilacqua's endorsement gives Rae momentum in trying to shed his formidable baggage.

Despite the fact that Rae is now a Liberal, he is still largely remembered as the NDP Premier. Given Bevilacqua's standing on the political spectrum, his support weakens the "too left" argument. There must be some philosophical kinship if Bevilacqua finds it necessary to not only endorse, but take a prominent role in the campaign. Again, this endorsement forces a re-examination because it challenges the conventional wisdom.

I think Rae gets a great deal of mileage out of this endorsement, far more than would normally be expected from an "also-ran" candidate, who drops out months from the convention. Detractors, who have questioned why Rae is listed as a top-tier candidate, may have to re-access their opinions.


Mike said...

Lets not be too hard on Bob. His deficits were caused by the ression, not the otherway around.

Frankly, I don't know if anyone would have done better in Ontario in the first half of the 90's. I used to complain about 'Rae Days' until Mike Harris laid me off. Suddenly having a creative solution like Rae days, didn't seem like such a bad idea...

But I get your point...perception is everything.

FWIW, I would seriously consider voting Liberal if Bob Rae were the leader. A lot of Dippers would too, though they won't say it out loud. Think about that for a minute.

Steve V said...


I completely agree with you on Rae and the deficit. I doubt Alan Greenspan could have ran Ontario effectively in those days. It's just the kneejerk criticism I hear of Rae.

I suspect the last thing Layton wants is a Rae run Liberal Party.

Steve V said...

I just read this article that takes on Rae's baggage.

Anonymous said...

Here in BC, Rae has gained a lot of traction because of his 'perceived leftness'... I really think you gave this an interesting dissection, as the cache of gaining someone at this point, who has no delegates to speak of, has to be at another level. Bevilacqua, altho not considered leader material, did bring something that was able to attract people out to meet him (I saw him twice) and to donate (not enuf, I suppose) to his cause. The usual speculation -- from SB and JC -- point to some corresponding payoff. Typically, those living off the story of 'Can't Get Elected in Ontario' (or the francophone version for Dion 'Can't Get Elected in Quebec') instead start to throw the muck about. It's really about momentum, perceived or not. We still have to pick the delegates and the debates will continue. Here's hoping at least two more join the jump overboard.

Steve V said...


It is about momentum and perception. I almost had to laugh at some of the spin today. It shows when you become so invested in one candidate, you sometimes can't accept an obvious fact. This endorsement was a great coup for Rae. Period. Acknowledging that fact doesn't torpedo the rest of the field.