The news media will be paying an inordinate amount of attention to the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair for the next while. He won that party’s terribly dull leadership race and earned the attention. It would be a mistake though to think this means a breather for the Liberal’s Interim Leader Bob Rae.
The Conservatives ensured there would be no break for Rae with those ridiculous attack ads that are inundating the Harper-friendly television networks. We have listened to many theories about this attack from Conservatives, as well as seasoned political observers, and it is still not clear. It is like a bunch of young ruffians poking sticks into a wild animal’s den. You hope the creature is not rabid when they get bitten but they will certainly deserve a few scars. All that the Conservatives have proved so far is that they have more money to spend than they need. And they are not very imaginative.
We can only hope that Liberals do not respond to Bob Rae’s plea for additional funds from the party to pay for Liberal attack ads. If Bob Rae has a shred of dignity left, he will make all his attacks on the Conservatives in the House of Commons.
And that is where the most telling assaults will be made for the next year. The Conservatives are vulnerable on many issues. They lack depth (and brains) in their front bench and will have a difficult time fending off two aggressive opponents in the House.
The worst result of the stupid attack ad is that Rae might decide to enter the race to be leader of the party. That would be a mistake. What Rae did in the 1990s in Ontario was not what the attack ad says. What he failed to do at that time as Premier was to lead his party. He is a very experienced and articulate politician. He is just not a leader.
By having Bob Rae working in parliament during the Liberal leadership contest, the party will be in far better position than the NDP during their contest. The Interim Leader of NDP was virtually ignored while the NDP front-bench was out chasing the leadership. This will not be the case for the Liberals.
The one-two punch of Mulcair and Rae spell trouble for Mr. Harper. If Harper was weak in Quebec before this, he is now guaranteed that his way is blocked in that province. And Mulcair and the NDP are not the only beneficiaries of knee-capping Harper there. The Liberals can only grow in Quebec and we have hardly heard the last of the separatists.
We can look forward to the renewed challenge to Mr. Harper in the House. Just remember guys, the enemy of my enemy is my friend!
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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