If only Bob Rae would live by his own words today: "If they ain't buying it, you gotta stop selling it"...
Rae's comment appears in this Canwest story about how all three Liberal leadership candidates are pledging not to pursue a policy similar to Stephane Dion's Green Shift if elected leader. I, for one, am disappointed. The Green Shift was the right policy to fight climate change and evolve our economy for the future in a wise and measured way. It's unfortunate that Dion wasn't able to sell it properly and it was folly to think he could in a few short months, up against the Conservative propaganda machine. The Green Shift was good policy, but bad politics.
I did find some comfort in Ignatieff's spokesperson's comments stressing the need to find another way to balance environmental sustainability and economic growth. But Rae's words seemed overly harsh, saying the Green Shift was, according to the story, pursued without applying common sense, good judgment or the daily experience of ordinary people. Perhaps the reporter put words in Rae's mouth (as those words weren't directly quoted), so we'll see if he corrects the record. Otherwise, he's severely dissing Mr. Dion.
The Green Shift suffers one defeat under Stephane Dion and it's game over for shifting taxes from income and productivity to pollution, according to Mr. Rae. By that standard, one defeat is good enough to kill any option, I suppose. If Rae set that same standard against his own candidacy for the Liberal Party leadership, he wouldn't be running again this time. Many Liberals didn't want a former NDP leader as Liberal leader in 2006 and they still feel the same way today. So, Bob, if we ain't buying it, why are you still selling it?
But alas, one defeat doesn't mean an option is forever dead. The Green Shift wasn't the only reason the Liberals lost the last election. Much of it simply had to do with Dion's bad image and his inability to overcome it.
Tomorrow, Rae will launch his second bid for the Liberal leadership. I do wish him well, but I do hope he cuts down on the mudslinging soon. His new tough guy approach is making me nervous. Remember, Bob, Stephen Harper is the bad guy, not Stephane Dion or Michael Ignatieff.