A little Rae of sunshine

by Colby Cosh

Better a Rae Day than a Harper lifetime.” Not a bad line, is it? I take this minor witticism to be a major portent for the Liberals. When the Conservatives attacked Michael Ignatieff for his truancy, his response was all tear-streaked indignation. A lot of people still think the attacks on Ignatieff were harmful and despicable; I think they weren’t answered properly because there was no good answer. But we might still agree (and by this I mean it would now be insane not to) that the man could have afforded to display a little more self-awareness, a little less wounded amour-propre. By denying the possibility that any amount of time out of the country could impinge on his moral eligibility for leadership of it (MAH PATRIOTIZM!), he forced his defenders into absurd logical postures while allowing undecideds to suspect that he was protesting just a little too much. “How dare these colonials expect me to have actually lived amidst their kooky regional accents and odd cooking smells?”

The important thing to notice about Rae’s little gag is that he is actually part of the punchline. He’s acknowledging (by referring openly to Rae Days) that people still have bad memories of his Ontario premiership. He has assembled the first draft of a defence of his record, rather then shrieking at the temerity of those who might bring it up. Rae says he’s learned from the mistakes he made as a young New Democrat premier, and if he’s going to lead the Liberals, we shall have to hope he has. In the meantime, it sure looks like he’s learned from his pal Iggy’s experience.




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A little Rae of sunshine

  1. I am coming around to the idea that Rae is the right leader to lose the next election for the Liberals.
    As an aside, those who want to see a fairly in depth analysis of Rae talking about Rae days can look up an old Paikin episode (Oct. 1 2010). 
    There are two features of Rae that will make him a handful for the Conservative war room, he is authentic and quite comfortable in his own skin.

    • He’s not a coward. He doesn’t run and hide from the press. He’ll take more than 5 vetted questions a day. He takes responsibilities for his actions. He behaves like an adult. He treats people with respect. I could go on — basically, he’s everything that Our Glorious Leader isn’t….

      • This comment was deleted.

        • Oh no, Harper will’ve moved into the GG’s residence well before then. A throne and your own personal mace, what more could a real man want?

        • Just flushed that nasty bit of business down the loo. Does your mom beat you with an ugly stick every morning? Are you just acting out your anger because your parents aptly named you Turd?

        • Age-ism is ugly.  do you make the same prejudiced comments about black people and muslims? 

      • I could have sworn that Paul Wells said that Harper does NOT vet the questions but rather offers last minute interviews to keep journalists on their toes and still you guys insist on presenting a different reality.  Why is that? 

        • I think the reference was to the election campaign. Surely you can remember the five-question brouhaha; it got more press than his actual responses to the questions asked.

  2. Good analysis

  3. No doubt about it that Rae is a master at “bafflegab”.  Liberals will vote to let him into the leadership race, better the devil you know.
     
    A couple of years ago I heard him being interviewed on radio where the show host played a clip of Rae making a statement on a particular topic (can’t remember to topic now).  The show host then questioned him about what he had said.  He kept saying “I never said that”.  It was so bizzare I have never forgotten it.

    • Hardly any worse then Harper’s standard reply: Look, quite frankly i…

      One day he might run into a decent interviewer who insists he go back and address the question asked.

      Barbara Frum, why have you no modern day peers?

      • There’s Carol Off. I’m feeling less fuzzy about Barbara these days now that I know that she spawned a couple of neo-Cons.

        • That’s a little unfair isn’t it? [ a couple - David and who?]
          Carol off[as it happens?] is great. By and large i think the cbc has done a better job of turning out fiesty female journos then many of its wimpy male counterparts – Terry Milewski excepted. I know he’s a royal pain but he’s gutsy and he doesn’t buckle under either.

  4. “A lot of people still think the attacks on Ignatieff were harmful and despicable; I think they weren’t answered properly because there was no good answer”

    You wrote a very good piece on that subject which got a lot of peoples backs up [ agreed with you...suck suck] i still do. What’s more i think Ignatieff was intelligent enough to know it in his heart too – thus all the wounded pride was all he really had to offer. But i challenge you put up more then one good Tory ad that dealt with question as honestly as we can expect a politician to do.

    He’s in it for himself – as you pointed out, absurd, moronic even. Who isn’t in for themselves? You, me the pope; what’s wrong with ambition.

    He didn’t come back for you…ditto…moronic!

    The beer label ad – a blatent lie, taken out of context from oneof his books. I believe the Tories revisited this theme a number of times, presumably on the grounds that  people like themselves don’t bother reading books these days.

    The only ad that seemed to have real traction intellectually was the we Americans tic of his; his odd need to assume chameleon like characteristics, wherever he went. Odd, annoying but hardly criminal or pathalogical, but damaging politically.

     So he was a rootless cosmopolitan who liked to think after he spoke. Not good if you want to succeed in politcs no doubt. But hardly deserving of the lying propanganda the Harperites tarred him with.

    Get your point entirely. Deserve’s got nothing to do with it; he should have known that, or at least his handlers should have. What did he expect? Rose petals strewn before him, garlands of flowers hung around his neck? My lord, in retrospect the man was nought but a babe in arms.

    •  Cosh’s piece was probably the best attempt at discussing why Iggy’s time abroad shoudl be an issue, but to me it still didn’t come up with very much. Soemthing about proximities to water coolers, IIRC.  Probably the most substantial discussion about why time abroad might be bad was during the Liberal leadership campaign that Dion won.

  5. I think the Conservative war room feared that Rae would become the Liberal leader back in 2008. Rae is a veteran and knows how to scrap toe to toe. He would have gotten Harper’s goat in a way M.I. never could and Harper is most vulnerable when forced to leave the script.
     Ignatieff’s “coronation” was a gift to the Conservatives and they knew exactly what to do with it.

  6. Acknowledging the dislike that many people have for him could work to his advantage. Isn’t that something that worked for McGuinty during the recent Ontario election?

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