Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Wednesday March 21, 2012
Attack ads may force Rae’s hand
You can tell when Bob Rae is getting annoyed – the contrived chuckle is superceded by a sound like a sausage stewing in its own grease. When he was asked about the new Conservative ads that attack his record as Ontario’s NDP premier on CBC’s Power & Politics, he started to fizz and pop.
The ads ask if Mr. Rae “couldn’t run a province, why does he think he can run Canada?” They have clearly chafed the interim Liberal leader. If the Conservatives are going to highlight all the bad news that happened on his watch, they should also mention the Toronto Blue Jays won two World Series, Nelson Mandela was released from prison and the Soviet Union collapsed, he told Evan Solomon. Eh? Maybe he’d been out in the unseasonably sunny weather too long without a hat.
“I’m not uniquely responsible” for the recession that sent unemployment and deficits soaring in Ontario in the early 1990s, he said. No – but the NDP government made the worst of a bad job, by the account of even the most charitable observers.
Mr. Rae now thinks the Liberal party has a “responsibility” to respond and defend his record as NDP premier. The party is planning to raise new money in response to the ad and mount a counterattack with those funds.
This has triggered a backlash from a number of Liberals I spoke to Tuesday, who are uncomfortable about the idea of squandering the party’s meagre war chest to defend the man who is still, nominally, the interim leader.
In public, Mr. Rae dismisses the thought he might run to be permanent leader as “idle speculation.” But in his own mind, it seems, he already has the job. If you doubt this, go to the Liberal.ca website and scroll to the Meet Bob Rae section, where he is introduced as “Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.” (Source: National Post)