Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Well Done Mr. Rae

Today marks Bob Rae's last caucus, Question Period as interim Liberal leader.  I think it objective fact that Rae has acquitted himself quite well in this transition role.  Also fair, there was nobody else in the Liberal ranks who could have handled this job as well as Rae did, he brought unique gravitas, experience and eloquence that served the party well.

In the past, I and others have been critical of Rae, as it related to his participation in the permanent Liberal leadership race.  Given the pledges Rae made himself, the unique advantages the interim tag brought, I stand by my concerns and in the end feel Rae made a classy decision that solidified his legacy as the ultimate "good soldier".   Fairly remarkable that Bob Rae, former New Democratic, will be remembered as a loyal Liberal, who put party first in the final analysis.

Bob Rae wanted to lead the Liberal Party.  Bob Rae wanted to become Prime Minister.  Bob Rae probably still believes he could have led the Liberal Party to victory and became Prime Minister.   However, events unfolded in such a way that we will never know how the party would have fared, had we had Rae at the helm during an election.  Hindsight is a tricky affair, better to focus on what Rae has brought to the table, rather than theoreticals that have a tinge of romanticism attached.

The Liberals were considered dead and buried after the last election.  Bob Rae played a critical role in keeping some focus on the Liberals, his intellectual stature, professionalism, wit and natural oratory charm, provided the party with credible, principled leadership.   It is easy now to take Rae's role for granted, as we get swept up in the Trudeau euphoria, bringing with it thoughts of the ultimate comeback.  However it was Rae that steadied the ship, helped maintain the coffers, spoke to the half empty rooms around the country, kept spirits elevated, provided hope and offered calm in the face of uncertainty.

Above all, it is hard to not have a certain respect for Bob Rae, he carries himself in a way few politicians can and this provides a unique stature.  I was always struck by the fact the normally abusive, childish antics in Parliament would immediately come to a halt when Bob Rae would rise to ask a question or comment.  It was obvious, people wanted to hear what Rae had to say, a certain reverence that NOBODY else enjoyed within that arena.   That relative quiet I think the most revealing expression of where Bob Rae sits in the political hierarchy.

Well done Mr. Rae, the Liberal Party of Canada couldn't have asked for anything more...

Monday, March 04, 2013

Trudeau's "Red Army"

I'm quite curious to see what all the various candidates tallies are on the Liberal "supporter" front today. But, given Trudeau is an almost certain winner, his staggering tally is particularly noteworthy for future prospects.  One thing is clear, the decision to introduce a supporter category has put wind in Liberal sails, an influx of energy that will be a pivotal development as we approach the next election.

Every "supporter" signed up is important for the Liberals.  That said, fair to say many people have signed up to support a candidate, their ideas, their direction, rather than a more general endorsement of the Liberal Party of Canada.  Particularly with a Murray campaign for instance, should she fail to win the leadership, I suspect the involvement of many ends with the process itself. 

With this sort of reality in mind, the supporters of the eventual winner are the key driver, as their preference wins, chances of continued engagement are quite high.   Assuming a Trudeau victory, the Liberals now have 150000 people who "support" him, as well as all the other Liberals outside of the "supporter" process.  In other words, Trudeau has a ready made "red army" at his disposal, which the Liberals can then "mine" in terms of fundraising, volunteering, etc.  If you've supported Trudeau for leader, there is really no reason to believe your participation ends there, the big fight will still remain.

I believe what has transpired with the new designation goes beyond any one's wildest imagination, a testament to the "star power" Trudeau brings to the process.  The reality is the Liberals are now re-energized with fresh voices that will change the rank and file, presenting a formidable backdrop in terms of organization.  More succinctly, guess what Ottawa, the Liberals are a force to be reckoned with!