Friday, November 03, 2006

Rae's Astute Politics

If there is one thing Ignatieff needs it's to change the channel and get away from the constitutional debate. If there is one way to keep the heat on Ignatieff, it's best articulated by talking about the constitution where ever possible. Rae plays political advantage to a tee, with remarks that are clearly motivated to keep the focus on Ignatieff's liability:
OTTAWA (CP) - Leadership hopeful Bob Rae is warning Liberals that there is no appetite in the country for constitutional adventures or "abstract debates" over Quebec's identity.

While he wouldn't go so far as to say the Constitution should never be reopened, Rae made it clear Friday that it wouldn't happen under his watch.

There is no appetite in the country for this kind of an adventure. There simply is not that appetite there and the leadership of the country has to recognize that," he added.

"You should not raise expectations that cannot be met and we should not be engaging in an abstract debate in this country at this point in time. We should be focusing our attention on issues that really matter to people."

"I'm not somebody who is going to set this country on a constitutional adventure, whose consequences and whose outcome I'm not certain of," Rae said.

Keeping this issue at the center of the debate may not be the best thing for Liberals as a whole, but it certainly helps Rae's campaign. Rae portrays Ignatieff as an impractical dreamer, with loaded words like "adventure" and "abstract". Rae frames himself as the wise sage, that has seen it all and has the experience to realize the pitfalls. Contrasting his vision with Ignatieff is a powerful way for Rae to keep Ignatieff on the defensive, while he looks reasonable. You can argue about Rae's duplicity, but from a purely political perspective, the more he talks about the issue, the more it works in his favour.

10 comments:

Koby said...

By using the word "adventure", Rae is trying a common Iraq critique to nation question. This is smart. One of Kerry's more successful ploys was tying an economic critique to Bush's foreign policy by accusing Bush and company of "outsourcing" Tora Bora.

Skip said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Ignatieff introduced this nonsense into the leadership debate in his "Agenda for Nation Building" (platform) and at the Quebec City debate in his opening remarks.

Bob Rae is simply pointing out to Liberals what a political idiot Ignatieff is. I mean, Ignatieff is the guy who figured that he could get short-term political gain (in Quebec) from his pronouncements, rather than think about the long-term consequences. Michael Ignatieff has after all, succeeded in dividing the Liberal Party between French and English. "Real leadership" indeed!

In_The_Centre said...

Im supporting Ignatieff as a delegate, but I would rather have a beer with Rae over Ignatieff anyday (Which I have already done).


As I have been predicting since March, this race will boil down between Ignatieff and Rae.

As I have been predicting since March, the margin of victory will be thin: 48-49 vs 51-52%. Its going to be a coin toss between Rae and Ignatieff.

There are still A LOT of delegates (out here in BC anyways) that would take Ignatieff over Rae as "lesser of two evils" choice.

Will be a fun time in Montreal.

Anonymous said...

Bob Rae's biggest asset in this campaign has been the lack of scrutiny on his record and writings prior to this leadership race.

Bob Rae not only supported opening the constitution, he did it twice - at Charlottetown and Meech. He was a major proponent but failed to carry either proposal through. It's a bit rich for him to talk as if he'd never open the constiution on his watch. He had a watch. He blew it.

Yappa said...

Rae's current stand on not re-opening this can of worms is based on his in-depth experience with Meech and Charlottetown. He was one of the biggest supporters and finally had to realize that it was more harmful to keep trying, unless or until the time is right to do it successfully.

Anonymous seems to blame Rae for the failure of Meech and Charlottetown. Get a grip fella!

Anonymous said...

Rae makes me vomit as a Liberal....as he does to all seniors...you are playing into harper hands by pushing rae down our throats....throw him out of the liberal party.

Steve V said...

"you are playing into harper hands by pushing rae down our throats."

I'm not pushing Rae anywhere, merely pointing out a good strategy.

The real interesting thing about the constitutional question is the media reaction. Rae is guaranteed coverage whenever he mentions the issue, because the media is obsessed with the controversy. If Rae came out and questioned Ignatieff's carbon tax idea it might go unnoticed, but mention "nation" and its free press a plenty.

Anonymous said...

I guess we should listen if Rae was truly a Liberal - a Liberal he's not.

He's a set up contender and a phony.

Rae has a lot to say for someone who is a "failure". Yup, he already proved he can't even run a province never mind a whole country.

CuriosityCat said...

Bob Rae's comments are true, and should be heard by all Liberals. The constitution works; Ignatieff wants to change it. There was no need to back the badly worded "nation" Quebec motion; Ignatieff did it. A firestorm broke out over this ill-advised hijacking attempt: Ignatieff threw oil on the fire by jumping in and supporting it wholeheartedly before thinking it through. The fire singed Ignatieff; his supporters, instead of dealing with the issue, ran around trying to spread the fire amongst all the candidates.

This is a major issue facing this convention; Rae and Dion are showing statesmanlike leadership whilst Ignatieff fiddles a tune of his own making, basking in the flames of the fire he set.

CuriosityCat said...

Bob Rae's comments are true, and should be heard by all Liberals. The constitution works; Ignatieff wants to change it. There was no need to back the badly worded "nation" Quebec motion; Ignatieff did it. A firestorm broke out over this ill-advised hijacking attempt: Ignatieff threw oil on the fire by jumping in and supporting it wholeheartedly before thinking it through. The fire singed Ignatieff; his supporters, instead of dealing with the issue, ran around trying to spread the fire amongst all the candidates.

This is a major issue facing this convention; Rae and Dion are showing statesmanlike leadership whilst Ignatieff fiddles a tune of his own making, basking in the flames of the fire he set.