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...


Nadine Lumley said...

It's a one-sided rant, that fails to mention before the balloons starting losing air on election night, the right-wing noise machine sprung into action. Another reaction to an NDP victory.

Gerald Caplan wrote an excellent piece for the Globe in October of 2010, in which he says:

snip snip: Mr. Rae's provincial NDP government faced an unrelenting, brutal four-year onslaught that was unprecedented in Canadian history. The attacks came from all sides, aided by rich mass media owners.

It is no exaggeration to say hysterical fear-mongering and sabotage was the order of the day. Launched within the very first year of the new government, the attackers included every manner of business big and small, both Canadian and American-owned, almost all private media, the police (especially in Toronto), landlords and lobbying/government relations firms. Their goal was clear, and they had the money and power to achieve it.

They were determined to undermine the government every step of the way, to frustrate the implementation of its plans and to assure its ultimate defeat. In all three goals they were successful. The considerable achievements of the government – often forgotten or dismissed –were wrought in the face of a deep recession and ferocious obstruction.

Jerry Prager said...

Rae would have won the election because he would have made sure that an election triggered on democracy issues would have included a democracy platform, instead we got Iggy and the blue liberals, who kyboshed the Bedeque caucus democracy package, then voted for Harper.
Hopefully this new leadership race will drive the blue liberals from the party and they can go back to being progressive conservatives and take back the conservative movement, and all this corporatist bullshit can be dumped from Canada's agenda forever.

CuJoYYC said...

Nicely put.

Anonymous said...

Like Robert Stanfield, Bob Rae is the best Prime Minister Canada never had. S. McCabe, Truro, NS

Jerry Prager said...

you used to be a world famous blogger, I come here every day, to find you still stolen away by twitter.