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Bob Rae as Liberal Leader?

Thanks to Andrew Anderson's new Canadian Conversation blog tracking tool, I noticed that there were several blogs commenting on the rumours about Bob Rae as a potential successor to Paul Martin.

The comments were generally negative on his prospects... mostly Tories wishing for such a beatable opponent.

And some seemed to think that these rumours are just an opening move to set us up for an appointment of Bob Rae as Governor General.

I actually think that Rae should be taken seriously, and mentioned him as a contender for the leadership in comments on this blog a couple months ago. I don't know what I'd think of him, but he is a reasonable choice for the Liberals to consider (given their options).

Whatever baggage Rae carries over from his premiership days -- and there is a lot of it -- should be weighed against his position as an outsider. Being an outsider is important for at least two reasons:

  1. He's free from association with Liberal Party scandals, including AdScam
  2. He's not part of the uninspiring current crop of federal Liberals

I think one consequence of 12+ years of unchallenged rule of the Canadian parliament is that it has drained the Liberal Party's farm team somewhat. It is easy to see why passionate, intelligent left- or right-wingers would be interested in joining and working for the NDP or Conservative Party, but I have often wondered what could excite someone enough to want to work for the Liberal Party these days. Liberal government hasn't been threatened, but hasn't been inspiring, either. Why bother signing up as a card-carrying member?

In any case, the party's options look pretty slim to me these days. Very few MPs are credible, if any besides Dion. That leaves Rae, Ignatieff, McKenna, and others beyond Ottawa as reasonable contenders. Of course, there is also Beaker. (Who'd I forget? Remind me in comments.)

I'm a bit too young to remember Bob Rae's time in Queen's Park with great detail. I do remember finding his popular "3 Questions" book too annoying to finish reading. Nevertheless, he would seem to be at least a reasonable candidate for leadership consideration, when the current Liberal talent pool is considered.

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