The loneliness of the short distance leader

The TV ads, paid for by the Conservative Party, attacking interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae are devastating. “He couldn’t run a province. He can’t run Canada” goes the tagline along with a voiceover about the deficit he created. The words are rough enough, but what really impales Rae is his own laughtrack, a “heh-heh-heh-heh” that sounds smug and uncaring. In the background is some music that reminds me of the Three Stooges.

I like Bob Rae, but I don’t think he should run for Liberal leader. By the time the next election occurs, he will be 67. The country needs the next generation to step up. Rae has said he won’t run for leader, but who knows? I never understood why he was drawn back to the federal flame after being an MP thirty years ago. He was on his way to becoming an elder statesman by taking on important tasks such as the Air India inquiry and the study on education for the Dalton McGuinty government.

Moreover, if I were a donor to the Conservative Party, which I am not, I’d question the use of party funds for such a purpose. First, Rae may not even be the man Stephen Harper will be up against. Second, isn’t politics a more noble cause than this?

For my money, the next leader of the Liberal Party should be Dominic LeBlanc, the bilingual MP from New Brunswick. He has politics in his bones (father Romeo was an aide to Pierre Trudeau, a cabinet minister, senator and governor-general) so he knows the promise and pitfalls of politics. And so far, he hasn’t made a misstep. At that rate, he won’t attract attack ads. I, for one, wouldn’t miss them.

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