The Liberals are pushing their star players onto the election game field this week, hoping that with a little back-up, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion will be able to better woo voters and quiet the growing tide of discontent from within the Liberal party’s own ranks. In Halifax yesterday to announce plans for a new pharmacare system, Dion was flanked by Bob Rae, who loudly endorsed his party leader and took several comical shots at Stephen Harper. Many of the Big Seven today point out that the Liberals are stacking their offensive line with Liberal heavyweights Michael Ignatieff, Scott Brison and Bob Rae in the hopes that shifting the focus onto the Liberal Party brand rather than on their flailing leader will kick start their campaign. It is believed that this will also help to quell dissent among Liberal insiders who have been criticizing their party leader’s poor performance and handling of the campaign. Feeling emboldened by Rae, who acted as a feisty warm-up act to Dion, the Liberal leader yesterday spoke directly to the current economic problems ailing the country, and even joked about his awkward handling of the English language admitting that “Mr. Harper, he speaks better English than me. OK. But I say the truth better than him in English and French.”
Not surprisingly, it is the Star and the Globe that devote the most space in today’s paper to the campaign tactics of the Liberal party. The Star’s Chantal Hébert urges the Liberals to focus on the economy, and says they shouldn’t be pulling Bob Rae out of the closet, as his track record as premier of Ontario won’t help on the economic front. An editorial in the Globe points out that having Bob Rae as the warm-up to Dion before he spoke in Halifax yesterday had the negative side effect of underscoring “Dion’s lack of charisma and his comparative weakness as a public speaker.” The media’s political pundits have been criticizing the Liberal party at every turn in this election, tearing apart their Green Shift plan and the party’s uncharismatic leader. That has had the effect of making it difficult for usually centrist media outlets, like La Presse and the Globe, to stand behind their usual man. But as Rick Mercer jokingly pointed out on The National yesterday evening, it would take a lot to completely tarnish the Liberal party’s brand name — as he says, “The Liberal party is one of the most successful brands in the Western world. They’re like the political equivalent of Coca-Cola.”
Quite apart from the fact that it makes Dion look bad to have Bob Rae come out to try to save his ass – and because I couldn’t care less if Dion’s ass gets saved – it really does burn my ass to hear Bob Rae rip into jack Layton for helping to elect Stephen Harper last time ’round. Bob Rae. Ripping into the NDP. His former party. BLECH!