We all yearn for a modern day Cincinatus, who -- so the story goes -- left his quiet life on the farm to serve Rome. In truth, Cincinatus was a Roman aristocrat who, because of political reverses, had been exiled there until circumstances allowed him to return.
Lawrence Martin argues that political parties are at their best in the hands of career politicians, be they John A. Macdonald, Wilfred Laurier, Mackenzie King or Stephen Harper. It is for that reason, he writes in this morning's Globe and Mail, that the Liberal Party is in good hands:
What Liberals are encouraged about is not new policy but the fact that the party is now in the hands of a seasoned political pro, one who has demonstrated a surefootedness that has been absent under the three previous leaders.
There are those who will strenuously disagree with Martin. Many of them are card carrying Liberals. But, for the present, it's hard to argue with Martin's assertion that:
For Liberals, the experience and professionalism Mr. Rae brings are what is needed at this time. With an election four years away, policy can wait. The one big issue he emphasized in his closing convention speech was income inequality. He sees this as a good prong with which to attack the Conservatives’ economic record.
The Conservatives assume that income inequality is a natural state of affairs.They do not see that it is their Achilles Heel. If Mr. Rae's political acumen can clear the way for a clear shot at such an obvious political weakness, the Liberals have a future.
Several commentators have opined that this weekend was a blast from the past. We shall see. Martin writes that:
The message from Bob Rae was that the Grits are and will remain the non-ideological party, the party of the pragmatic centre where reason allegedly triumphs over gut prejudices of the left or right.
If the new prime directive in Canadian politics is that gut prejudice trumps reason, then we are, indeed, in deep trouble. Those who operate on that principle should be exiled to their farms.