Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bob Rae - The Next Liberal Leader

I think it will happen. The Globe and Mail / CTV poll of Liberal party membership shows a very close race for Leader of the Liberal Party. Of course, delegates elect the leader of the party and not members, so you can only read so much into the poll. Michael Ignatieff, being the perceived front runner and having the advantage of organizing since the last election, most likely has a stronger position among delegates than among the general membership.

But, the poll results are interesting 19% favour Ignatieff, and 17% Bob Rae. Bob Rae is significantly stronger when you add second and third choice responses. Add it up and you have to come to the same conclusion as pollster Allan Gregg, "if you had to put money on it, you'd bet Rae right now." It makes sense to me, I can't see Liberal Party members who actually swallowed all the soft power pabulum fed to them by Lloyd Axworthy and the rest of the Chretien Liberals would ever be able to vote for a pro-Iraq war leader like Ignatieff.

Conventional wisdom, which is on display in the comments on the Globe's article, has it tha Bob Rae can't win because he has too much baggage from his time as the NDP premier of Ontario. I don't think that's the case. Even after the devastating deficits, social engineering, and unfocused leadership from his government, I still remember people saying Bob Rae was "the right man in the wrong party." If he can keep that reputation in Ontario even after severely damaging the province's economy, the man can obviously sell himself.

An election with Bob Rae as leader will also give Canadians a clear choice between a Liberal party that is solcialist, pacifist and socially progressive, or a Conservative party that promises to improve Canada's reputation on the world stage, and make the country a competive place to do business and a safe place to raise a family. This is an honest choice that Canadians deserve.

I think Bob Rae will win, and I hope he does.

On the other hand, it would be way more fun if Ignatieff won. Half the Liberal party would bolt over to the NDP, and you would be looking at one of the largest majority Conservative governments in history.

No comments: