Friday, May 06, 2011

Here We Go Round Again



Even if you support Bob Rae as interim leader, the way this is going down should alarm everyone:
Chretien promoting Rae as interim Liberal leader

Jean Chretien is urging Liberals to support Toronto MP Bob Rae as interim leader of the decimated federal party.

Sources say the former prime minister has been phoning both defeated and re-elected MPs since the Liberal party's historic defeat in Monday's election.

The once-mighty party was reduced to third place with only 34 MPs -- even Leader Michael Ignatieff lost his seat.

Chretien has been promoting the idea that Rae should be interim leader for two years, giving the party time to pick itself up off the mat before going into a contest to choose a permanent successor to Ignatieff.

Rae appears to have considerable support among Liberal senators, most of whom were appointed by Chretien and who now outnumber the tiny group of elected MPs.

However, some MPs say privately that a backlash is developing to the machinations to install Rae

If this is the first order of business of the new Liberal Party, backroom dealing, I'm thinking we've got exactly what we deserved.

39 comments:

Dan F said...

Chretien still has more political smarts then the whole of the current caucus combined. If Rae is the Interim leader, it means we get the benefit of his skills while putting the party back together, but without taking him into an election where he would be a liability. (The attack ads have been ready to go since 2006). As long as he promises not to stay on past 2 years, and no merger, then I might be ok with this

Steve V said...

I'm not okay with the process and frankly it concerns me that you would condone it, with a end justifies means mentality. I also worry that the merger people are conspiring, Chretien has made his views known, so has Rae, the lack of openness here very troubling.

Fat Arse said...

If the discredited LPC powers that be opt to anoint Rae as interim leader, it will only precipitate their removal. While I happen to believe that Rae has a utility to LPC that can^NOT be overlooked..."leader"... no e'ffn way! He's too divisive, & has too much baggage. Ralph is the obvious choice here. LPC needs a voice from outside Ontario & Quesbec in the interim... it should be Ralph.

Francesco said...

the process stinks and stinks badly. No issue being the interim leader until a permanent leader is installed but the back room boys at work. What happened to grass roots renewal and yes Dan we would be attacked both on the left and right. Plus rae after openly musing about merging with the ndp would just prepare us for one.

Steve V said...

I'm torn on Rae, but it's the WAY this is being done, it's so wrong and so predictable.

Francesco said...

it looks chretian and rae are going to prepare us for dinner for the ndp...it looks the fix is in.

Nick said...

I like the suggestion that Goodale should be interim leader or even Dominic LeBlanc who may very well be the leader.

Steve V said...

What about Carolyn Bennett? Not sure about her French, but she is all about the grassroots, she's smart, passionate. Not a preference, but why this is decided in a couple days escapes me.

Frankly Canadian said...

Chretien, for all his strong, powerful, and strategic tactics, did set the stage for the Liberals demise. I think I have to agree that Ralph Goodale would be the best candidate for the new interim leader. This party needs to build from the ground up with grass roots, not the same old “old school boys” calling the shots, that has only messed up this party for the last decade, ever since the power struggles of Martin & Chretien.

Koby said...

Goodale is not the obvious choice nor is he a good one. He does not speak French and he is not charismatic. 58 NDP MPs are from Quebec and one of the Liberals last bastions of support is the Island of Montreal. The Liberals have to challenge NDP's hold on Quebec and they have to keep that bastion of support. Having a leader who can not speak French does not help them do either.

Rae speaks French and Rae is by far the most charismatic MP the Liberals have. There is not much talent left. The problem with Rae is he seems open to idea of a merger and so many are right to worry that he is the second coming of Peter Mackay.

rockfish said...

Tell me what the process should be -- have a membership vote? What kind of cluster-f#@k that would be. You want Dom to do it? that would screw him in the long term. Ralph? lone voice from the west? Is it just you don't like the image conjured up of Chretien lobbying for Rae? Again, someone has to rally the troops as things are pretty busted up right now. This isnt something to start a civil war over for chrissakes...

Koby said...

Carolyn Bennett

She would be utterly out of her depth as she was in this discussion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPnCrJT--bE&feature=player_embedded

She is intellectual lightweight, if memory serves her French is not great and she is not all charismatic.

rockfish said...

Carolyn Bennett? As much as i love CB she'd be shredded at her first press conference -- shes not quite the coherent, on message person for this job. Again, some are getting too worked up about this as its INTERIM for a long war. Lay out the strategy and dont get bogged down in fighting the old fights.

Steve V said...

rockfish

Process not person, process not person.

Koby

That's the problem, Rae already musing about a merger, Chretien has mused prior, people that are apprehensive will fight back.

Steve V said...

Easy you guys, I just threw out a name. Forget alternatives, if people are fine with a group of unelected party hacks and a former leader handpicking their guy, well then...

rockfish said...

Tell me then what is the process? Im no expert on the party book; but having our best parliamentarian, best debater and best on-message warrior at the front while the party heals its wounds sounds fine with me. But give me your suggestion?

KC said...

Really? Because I distinctly recall debating with you back when Ignatieff was installed as leader through "backroom dealing" and you were not in the slightest bit "alarmed" by it.

Steve V said...

Let the MP's decide, and let the mandate be quite clear. He won't entertain merger, etc. Listen man, there is no light here, this is all backroom bullshit we've seen for years and I, like many others, want no part of it. No unelected senator is going to pick my leader thanks, nor are a bunch of hacks that need to get lost so we can rebuild. That's my opinion, we need LIGHT here, and our elected MP's are the only recourse here, because they DO have a relationship with the people.

rockfish said...

Im fine with caucus choosing. If its that no one should ptch a candidate it sounds lke a stonecutters meeting. No. 1 - should be effective voice for Liberal party; No. 2 - has to communicate efficiently in both english and french; No. 3 - should have track record that can promote and energize at grassroots level; No. 4 - Has to be able to handle debates w/ Harper, Layton and media.
Dont think anyone would agree w these qualifications. You want to add someting, like cant be choice of backroom guys?
Getting in a lather over this only embiggens our enemies...;^)

Koby said...

Does David Mcguinty speak French?

If not, you really looking at

LeBlanc or Rae

Trudeau is still too green.

Volkov said...

Steve, a point can be made that the choice of any interim leader is itself going to be made mostly in the party's back rooms, as after all, there has to be considerations of who will be the neutral choice, who is going to run or not, which person has the capabilities and support from the caucus to put oversee the renewal process alongside keeping the caucus in line during a time when it'll be easy for it to fracture, etc. Chretien lobbying is just part of the process - Harper did it with Reynolds and Lynch-Staunton when the Conservatives needed their interim leaders. It's not supposed to be a grassroots choice - this is a caretaker position until the membership can choose an actual leader.

Steve V said...

"Because I distinctly recall debating with you back when Ignatieff was installed as leader through "backroom dealing" and you were not in the slightest bit "alarmed" by it."

We needed someone to deal with the bloody coalition, it was an urgent case. As WELL, listen, I tire of this, Ignatieff had it locked up, everyone knew he had domination across the country- you can believe that or not, but that was part of my calculus, he already had the backing. If you're arguing that was a failure of the grassroots I agree, but the lay of the land was pretty clear to me, he had it sewn up, so... Was it ideal, right, perfect? ABSOLUTELY NOT, but the circumstance was what it was, so I condoned. I just used my political instincts, concluded he had the thing, so deal with the immediate problem.

Koby said...

"Let the MP's decide, and let the mandate be quite clear."

That is probably the best way of doing it.

Steve V said...

Garneau is a name, perfect guy, calm, cool, very Graham-like.

Not the choices, again, the process. You want to give the appearance that this isn't a bunch of old white guys installing someone who seems a tad to hungry. That's my take.

bigcitylib said...

Who would you have other than Rae as interim leader? If you are OK with him,and so are the vast majority of Libs, why sweat the process? I'm more worried about the PROCESS being designed to screw him out of a shot at the real leadership, even if he's a bit long in the tooth now to lead folks into an election 4 years off.

Steve V said...

koby

The feedback I'm getting is the merger makes some nervous, so if Rae is going to champion that cause, then Chretien making the calls, well it looks really bad, that is will cause the civilwar that rockfish worries about it. I think we need to step back, this is unravelling a bit and slow down. Heck, our defeated MP's don't have to clear out the offices for a couple weeks, surely to cripes it's not urgent we have a leader four days out is it?

rockfish said...

Nothing but rumours suggest that process isnt being followed. Its crzy to think that people wont lobby for thr chosen candidate. I say lets chill -- agree, choice mst be 100% behind strong Liberal party w/o merger.

rockfish said...

Huge fan of Garneau. Wonder if he'd be interested. At least Volpe's off the to-consider list...

Steve V said...

bcl

Oh I don't think it's about screwing him long term at all. And, I'm not sure about your assumptions, lots of resistance to Rae, it's not a slam dunk by any means from what I can tell. If it is Rae fine, but again, we need some LIGHT on his mandate, what he wants to do, his ideas, at least some lip service here. It's SO important that we dress this up properly, it has to have a new direction, particularly if it's a two year gig.

Koby said...

"I'm more worried about the PROCESS being designed to screw him out of a shot at the real leadership,"

I worried about that too.

However I must say I am worried about him being too long in the tooth. The good thing is that he does not strike me as being old the way that Ignatieff did.

Möbius said...

"Chretien still has more political smarts then the whole of the current caucus combined."

And IMHO, is the reason the party is where it is in popularity.

Steve V said...

Here's my take on Rae. I'm fine with him as interim leader, for many of the reasons already mentioned. Where I get concerned, if there is some merger angle, involving Chretien, because nobody has been consulted on that front, so if this is part of thought process, well we need to know it. I also don't think Lib senators should have any input, influence, if they are pushing for Rae, that is a bit of a red flag for me. We are about to enter a critical phase, if Rae is going to push for a merger, as I said in another post, it's not "on" right now for me, so I want some clarity, as do MANY others. Why start a new era with questions of this nature, what a bloody distraction?

rockfish said...

As to merger, i seriously doubt any appetite from ndp in near future in this -- theyve barely had a chnce to taste their oats as Loyal opposition. Those who dare muse about this will be shouted down and should pack it away. Our wounds are too fresh, and our brand isnt going to be easily swallowed, either by them or us.

Koby said...

Garneau certainly has the gravitas and is no lightweight but the Liberals need someone who is going to get media attention and he just will not get that.

He was also Ignatieff's point man on Quebec.

I keep coming back to Rae.

bigcitylib said...

I agree with rockfish. Right now, merging with LPoC from the NDP POV is trading down. Deal with it. This consideration should have NO influence on who gets chose for interim leader, and whether they should run for the fullblown leader later on.

Steve V said...

The interim leader should be running for full time leader, I agree with that stipulation, distractions to great, self interest could cloud. As for merger, it's not me mentioning it, deal with that brother ;)

Kirk said...

Two years with an interim leader so a new leader isn't the target, yes.

Bob Rae, no.

I was leaning to Rae after Dion resigned but now I say it doesn't project the right image. He's quick on his feet and good with a quip, a fighter but not the proper face of a new rejuvenating Liberal Party.

No idea who should be that face though.

Rotterdam said...

The best thing Harper did was to separate the party from Mulroney and Manning.

I think Chretien wants Rae because Chretien wants to be the one stirring the soup.

It is so obvious.

Keep letting a past relic call the shots, and you will lose the 30 some odd seats in the next election.

Jerry Prager said...

Dion for interim leader.