Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You're In, You're Out, You're Out, Carry On

Did you hear Bob Rae's rousing speech to caucus today? Was there any doubt that is sounded very much like a guy ready to go for the permanent Liberal leadership job? A interim leader doesn't need to defend an ancient record, unless of course that record could be used against his future aspirations.

Let's go back in time, there were stipulations put in place for the interim leader because many rightfully foresaw unique advantages that job would afford, ultimately a unfair advantage in the race for a permanent Liberal leader. We can quibble over those stipulations when Rae took the job, but there is no doubt he accepted those provisions at the time, and in so doing those with concerns "stood down" so to speak.

I'm not surprised Bob Rae has been successful in his current role, matter of fact I outlined his assets when I argued why he really was the perfect choice for this interim position. However, the judgement of his job to date takes on a different tone when one looks at the longer picture, when one considers all the previous hesitations. The interim leader has massive advantages, they can use party donations, our donations that supports staff, tours, to build a network, to make their case, to influence, to build a formidable wall of support. As well, they can use the interim position itself as a pulpit, that essentially DWARFS all others. In reality, what we see now, Rae in great position, is a testament to the very advantages we all outlined when this issue first arose.

I really, really, really like Bob Rae. Truth be told, I might even be inclined to support him for a permanent role, even with the BAGGAGE I've mentioned time and again. However, that viewpoint is really irrelevant to the underlying moral imperative here, namely that if Bob Rae really does want this job- and that speech today is the clearest signal yet- he OWES it to the membership to come clean, give up the end game here and resign his position immediately, in the interest of full disclosure. Should Rae stay on, we can only conclude he doesn't have aspirations, because a man of his moral compass must surely see the conflict of interest here, it is PLAIN AS DAY to anyone with a rational perspective.

The time has come for Bob Rae to sign a legally binding document that precludes his run for permanent leader OR the time has come to dispense with the intrigue, the out clause language, and just make intentions known once and for all. Pretty simply, you're in, you're out, you're out, carry on.


Unknown said...

I like him too, but you can bet Harper's gang are salivating over him. Huge mistake to go with Rae.

Steve V said...

I share that concern, but really that isn't the point here. Did we just DELAY leadership so Rae could get such a strangehold on the position, it is done deal?

Jerry Prager said...

Put Harper in a ring with Rae and Rae would tear him to pieces, and his gang if thugs, but he should step down f he's going for it, of course, the Warren Kinsella wing of the party will do their best to make sure he never gets the job, they're still holding out for another right wing liberal.

CK said...

Just the very fact that Bob Rae jumped into a lake naked with Rick Mercer would get my vote. Shows guts and someone who can laugh at himself.

But yeah, I can see the Harper war room feverishly writing the attack ads. But you know what? What if Justin Trudeau did decide to run for leadership? Those attack ads would write themselves too. Cheesy macabre unflattering visuals of the ghost of Pierre Elliot, Harper's worst enemy, haunting the TV screens. And honestly, I don't think Justin can effectively stand up to a thug like Harper and his war room thugs like Guy Giorno and fiends.

Bob Rae, on the other hand, I think could stand up to them more effectively. The trick is, he has to head them off at the pass early--even before the first attack ad is launched.

And yeah, I hear the grumblings of "coronation" and "breaking the rules" and perhaps they're correct, but it's not like there are other viable candidates jumping to the plate to compete for the position, neither. So, if Bob Rae were to follow the rules like a good boy, with no viable candidates, is it better to have no one?

Steve V said...

Fair question to ask if would be contenders take a pass because of Rae's perceived "in house" advantage. That is a real concern.

lance said...

Jerry said, "Put Harper in a ring with Rae and Rae would tear him to pieces..."

Now where have we heard that before?

rockfish said...

Why such hand wringing over him running? He's closing on 65 and in a convention unless no one of substance stands up, he ain't going to win. The first poster here seems to assume that the first one to throw their hat in the ring wins -- i supported Bob in 2006 and believe he is our best weapon right now, he raises our profile and manhandles his rivals with verbal dexterity. That being said, I anticipate giving all candidates a real good look and lining up behind someone who can take the job for the long haul; we have to be done throwing out our leaders after one election 'loss.' Let him run; if he wants to run, he should be presented with the same opportunity as his colleagues. That doesn't mean he'll win.

Austin said...

A guy with very strong political acumen is required to run against the CPC propaganda machine. Once they are out of power, then the LPC can get all soft and mushy about who would be the flag-bearer of grassroots renewal.

Dion and Ignatieff were unknowns and all the CPC bullshit stuck to them precisely because they were unknown to the public.

Rae on the other hand, is a known commodity and has solid experience outside of politics as well as inside. He has already been defined by his past, and facts bear witness to what he has done. The CPC can't make as much shit up about Rae because all of it has been said over and over again over the past 15 years or so.

It is only those that weren't in Ontario during the Rae and disastrous Harris years that buy this CPC bullshit of "baggage".

And on that note, Kinsella would rather pee on the yard outside the house of the party he was not invited to. Rae refers to him as a "dumb blogger" and his fucking ego can't stand it, hence his puerile mission to "remind him".

Unknown said...

It is only those that weren't in Ontario during the Rae and disastrous Harris years that buy this CPC bullshit of "baggage".

Sadly, that's enough to elect a CPC majority. If anyone has baggage it should be Baird, Flaherty and Cashbox Clement, but somehow that doesn't seem to hurt them.

Steve V said...

It is sort of irrelevant what anyone thinks Rae brings or doesn't bring, the point is having the benefit of all the advantages interim leader affords. Everything else is another question, so I'm not sure why this always comes down to whether or not you like Bob Rae. If Rae wants the permanent job, fine, he can change his mind, but he owes to the membership to resign from this gig, because the advantages are clear and irrefutable.

marie said...

If Rae wants the permanent job, fine, he can change his mind, but he owes to the membership to resign from this gig, because the advantages are clear and irrefutable

I love your posts Steve but I do not agree with that statement. I believe that Rae is the man to stand up to Harper and his goons at this time. He is doing a fine job right now and there are another 31/2 years before another election. We need a strong leader right now to build the party up and keep Harpers and his regime under control. One who can dispute Harper and hopefully keep him in line until such time of the next election. If no other Liberal or MP stands up and wants to run, then your argument would make more sense….but it appears there is none and if that’s so, the caucus obviously support him.

It is not like we see many Liberals applying for the job. In reality I would love to see Dominic Leblanc come forward but he hasn’t as yet shown any interest and I can understand why. With the bullshit crap and lies the Harpers band of thieves hand out, it would be very difficult for his wife and his young family. Rae is a seasoned politician and can hand it out as soon as Harpers attack ads appear. With some of his own.. He is not afraid of the idiot PM or his attack ads. I am sure he has a lot of his own surprises up his sleeves. Likely a lot on Flaherty that he can us, which I am fairly certain that he will use when and if that time comes.

That's my opinion for what it is worth.

Hopefully Happy days ahead for all. Cheers

Steve V said...

I worry people won't step forward BECAUSE Rae has such a public profile, the apparatus, the pulpit, a strangehold. Rae as interim with thoughts of permanent will DISSUADE people.

Again, appreciate your points, but it's not a question of what kind of job Rae is doing, it's a question of a level playing field, it's the SAME questions put forth when Rae initially agreed to take this job.

rockfish said...

Your point on him having an advantage, that he should get in or get out, avoids one point -- there is no current leadership race. No deadline, no need to file papers or make a decision, public or private. Some MPs have set on record that they aren't going to run, but to handcuff what appears to be one of our strongest assets, to sideline him to fight against the party windmills just to create an imaginary playing field, seems pretty ridiculous. Marie has it right - right now every time Rae's on prime time, every time he's quoted or wrote about, its a good thing for the Liberal Party. It reminds those who are in a fling with the official opposition that there is another choice and i'm glad that our party has such a vocal, strong leader to compete against their eight-headed squirrel chase. When the Liberal party's leadership race begins in earnest, then I would say let's make a decision; now is not the time. Enjoy the convention!

Steve V said...

Here's a good piece on fairness and Rae:

Vancouverois said...

As a regular citizen who is not currently a member of any political party, I'm pretty appalled at the commenters here who brush aside the fact that Rae made a personal undertaking NOT to run for the permanent leadership. It was a personal PROMISE - but apparently some people here think it's perfectly okay to break a promise if there's any perceived political advantage to doing so.

That's the kind of thinking that got your party knocked down to 34 seats.

rockfish said...

Vancouverois, feel free to start lecturing all the other party officials/leaders who have changed their mind, gone against what they said, or flip-flopped on a promise!
Get back to us in 2022 and give us a report on that, will you. We'll send a check to your ivory tower!

Unknown said...

That's the kind of thinking that got your party knocked down to 34 seats.

It's the kind of thinking that got Harper a majority too.

Vancouverois said...

@rockfish: "But the other guy did it too" is not a justification. Two wrongs don't make a right.

@Marc: I guess it depends on the promise broken. The Conservatives did break their promise not to tax income trusts, for example, and that didn't seem to damage them in the next election. However, I think that Rae lying about his intentions in order to sabotage potential rivals' campaigns before they begin is not something that the general voting public is going to forget or ignore. I'm pretty sure that some (currently) active Liberal members won't take kindly to it, either.

Look: it's your party, you can do what you want. I don't have any stake in the Liberal leadership per se. But if you let Rae break a promise because he believes he can get away with it, you are sending a very definite message to the voters of this country about who you are, and what your Liberal party does or doesn't stand for.

marie said...

Rae has not broken any promises so far so quit making stuff up. There is no campaign for a leader as yet, as far as I know no one has yet shown any interest to run for the job and as far as I am concerned, it is up to the liberal caucus to decide. Not us.

I happen to like Rae, I think at this point he is the best choice and I would support him all the way.

It appears by the attacks on him here and all other blogs, that the Harper propagandas machines are scared of him as the leader.

As for his skinny episode with Mercer, it shows that he is a fun guy, can take a joke and he can also handle the BS thrown at him and can throw it right back. Our party needs an experienced person who can speak off the cuff so until someone with his ability steps up, I stand behind him all the way and so should the lot of us instead of the negative discussions where every blogger can read. That kind of chatter merely feeds the Harper regime and his senseless parrots.

That is my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

Austin said...


"But he promised!!!"

You are being silly. That level of altruism and naiveté sank Dion and Ignatieff, and to some extent Martin.

In the hyper-partisan political environment created by Harper and the CPC, the propaganda machine that rivals the Politburo, do you think that any neophyte with zero political acumen is going to lead any party out of the wilderness and into government? Not a fucking chance. They would be eaten alive.

The whining of libloggers "but he promised!!!" is insane.

New blood for the sake of new blood is equally stupid as staying with the old boys club. If someone has the balls and the pinnache to lead, then there should be no reason why that person should not be given the chance to lead no matter what promises were made in the past.

The bigger question is where is this supposed new blood that can go toe-to-toe with or even outshine Rae? Where? If such a person cannot show their raw talent and ability within the party now, then how the hell would this person deal with the Harper shit machine?

The sad thing is that such hardass approaches are absolutely required to succeed in Canada's current political climate.

But to deny it is truly pathetic.

Get in there first, then things can be changed.

Omar said...

Is this Liberal convention thing over yet??? Hurry the fuck up, will ya? I am patiently waiting to read your take on the entire affair ;-)

Vancouverois said...

@marie: I wasn't making anything up - I was commenting on the attitude that Rae shouldn't be held to his promise. It's the media that's been speculating that he will - and frankly, the fact that he won't deny it categorically is giving fuel to the fire. It reminds me of Ignatieff's refusal to give a clear answer on the coalition question at the very beginning of the 2011 campaign - have you learned nothing from that debacle?

@Austin: Your post exemplifies everything that's wrong with the Liberal party. There's so much to take issue with that I'm not even going to try - I doubt you would listen anyway.

The one point I will respond to is that there are plenty of other Liberals with polticial experience - it isn't a choice between Rae and a "neophyte". You're setting up a false dichotomy in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

Jerry Prager said...

He just rocked the convention. He will eat Harper alive because Harper is a gutless puke, a bully, and Rae will drive him from office.

Austin said...

I am not setting up a false dichotomy. This is not some misguided social experiment that believes everyone can be a leader only if they try. This kind of kumbaya sense of entitlement is ridiculous. Either you have demonstrated ability or you haven't.

This is about real ability to address some fundamental requirements to challenging the CPC shit machine. For over 15 years both the left and the right have tried to crap on Rae's legacy in Ontario. Elements which are now part of the current government of Canada as both government and official opposition. There is nothing new here that hasn't been said in the past. And much of what was said in the past has been debunked. There is nothing to define, and the irony is that it is elements in the liberal party that actually define him: "he has baggage".

And let me say this: People who bring this issue of "baggage" are fundamentally lazy because they do not understand and are not willing to try to counter the fallacies of this argument, or worse choose not to do so because it would not allow their personal agenda or desires to bear fruit (and in some cases, it is a personal vendetta of vanity that is puerile and borders on pathetic wailing that rivals a 3 year old child).

Vancouverois said...

@Austin: I didn't say anything about Rae's legacy as Premier of Ontario.

And you definitely are setting up a false dichotomy. If Bob Rae really is the only prominent figure in the Liberal party who is up to "challenging the CPC shit machine" (as you put it), then the Liberal party is already dead.

Austin said...

I guess false dichotomies go both directions then (re: Liberal party is dead if no one else but Rae can deal with the CPC).

The point of bringing up his legacy is to drive home that there is no one who has had to deal with hyper-partisan propaganda more than Rae.

If you can do so I'm open to suggestions and counter arguments that actually have merit beyond "but he promised".

Vancouverois said...

@Austin: I stand by my statement. If Rae is the only prominent Liberal capable of leading the party into the next election - if all the other possible candidates are of such weak calibre that they cannot be trusted with the job - the party may as well back it in now. Your belief that Rae is some kind of messiah who will save the party single-handedly is, again, the kind of thinking that has led the Liberal party to this pass.

And if you think "but he promised" has no merit as an argument, that doesn't say much for your ethics or your political judgement. Don't flatter yourself that you're being "realistic", because you're being the opposite: people WILL notice, and it WILL affect how they vote.

Austin said...

No I don't believe that Rae is a "messiah". I supported Rae when he was premier. And I welcomed his return to politics after his work outside politics. I supported his first bid for leadership, but was not upset when Dion won, and in fact felt that Dion was the right choice because he represented change. I simply could not believe that the Harper shit machine was as potent as it was and I believed that the average Canadian was not lazy and was capable of being engaged. But alas...

Rae frankly is one of the most highly skilled and experienced individuals around and I would have absolutely no problem with him "running the show". But clearly it seems that many people believe he is the "anti-Christ" without really providing a cogent reason as to why.

The rules that were agreed upon are not something I consider as morally grievous should they not be followed to the letter. If he wants to run, I have no problem with that. Should he be more forthright? I think he has been. But apparently until he actually says that he is running, he simply is not being forthright. In the end, people will vote according to how they feel about his abilities and suitability, and if it comes down to real reasons why he shouldn't be leader then so be it. But not dumb stuff like "but he promised not to".

The irony for me is that making such things into a wedge issue that it really shouldn't be is the reason why the LPC has fallen apart. Little cliques and fiefdoms of young Liberals who believe only they should have God-given right to crown the next leader of the party to the exclusion of everybody else feel the need to do something so they grasp at straws of insignificance.