Will Bob Rae become a liability for the Liberals?

I’d like to see if I can dip my toe in this pool, without getting scolded for being disrespectful. Mark Garneau has thrown his hat into the interim leader ring, and I think he’s a strong choice, no problem if that’s the selection. Reading a Susan Riley column today, she delves into the leadership question with the now emerging "insulting" thesis as it relates to Mr. Rae. I’ve heard that same sentiment expressed here and elsewhere, these interim leadership "stipulations" an affront. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t fair on the face, all reasonable rebuttals, all valid as part of calm debate.

I absolutely adore Bob Rae, he has a stature which few politicians enjoy. I’ve made mention many times, that during Question Period, pay attention to how the rancor stops when Rae rises, even his enemies quiet down because they want to hear the man speak, he commands that kind of respect. Well versed on every topic imaginable, philosophical, thoughtful, affable, attractive, engaging, charismatic, by any measure an impressive man, that Liberals are LUCKY to have within our ranks. So, if I depart from the Rae bandwagon, please don’t be "insulted" if I think Mr. Rae needs to re access some realities here and come to the painful determination that he isn’t going to become Liberal leader. Let’s cut to the chase, everyone knows Rae wants the top job "bad", and it’s been that way since he joined the Liberals. Fair enough, again a man of his experience surely can envision himself as the leader, has the confidence and skill to be capable and effective. 

However, given what has just transpired, the gravity of the situation, the almost painfully obvious pre-requisite that GENERATIONAL change is job one, Bob Rae leading us into the next election in four years is frankly irresponsible and delusional. You can reference this historical leader or that, but for this Liberal Party of Canada, at this death bed juncture, the prospects of trying to re brand ourselves with the man who was a NDP Premier two decades ago, baggage to boot, seems like suicide. Again, and it seems many agree, we need a new leader, new in every sense of the word, which to my mind excludes Mr. Rae. Is that fair, is that disrespectful, is that not appreciating his contributions? I frankly don’t care, I’ve watched two great men lead this party and get destroyed, was that fair? Fair doesn’t exist in politics, what exists is the realities at hand, and rallying behind Mr. Rae as permanent leader, requires a complete leave of your senses in my HUMBLE opinion.

I’m waiting for Mr. Rae to realize that he isn’t the best option moving forward, I’m curious if he can put ego aside and see the greater good here, because to my mind, it really is a no brainer, given the unique circumstances we find ourselves in. Bob Rae is the antithesis of "new", another time perhaps the ideal choice, but now? With that in mind, I hope Mr. Rae reconsiders and throws his hat into the interim ring, not because it insults his stature, but because that could be his best contribution. I worry that we will pick Mr. Garneau, and Mr. Rae will run for the leadership. That’s Mr. Rae’s prerogative, I know he would enjoy great support, from passionate and honorable Liberals, no question there. That said, you will never convince me in a million years that the answer to the Liberals problems, our future, is with Bob Rae. Things have changed, things have changed BIG TIME and people best forgot past aspirations and realize we have ONE chance to get this right. With all due respect, Bob Rae is never that choice, and frankly I don’t even think we need the distracting prospect. That’s just my read, sorry to offend certain quarters, but I’m not censoring myself, particularly now. It’s time to move forward, it’s time for generational change, internally, within the party apparatus and ultimately with the leadership and the time that aspires beside her/him. That’s the reality, let’s just get on with it.

Click HERE to read more from Steve Val.

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