Bob Rae was Ontario’s first NDP premier, elected in 1990. From the moment of the election of his government, the business community, and other allied groups, declared war upon him.

During his first year in office, he pursued a course more or less consistent with the policies of the Ontario NDP. This changed dramatically in the second year. Announcing at Provincial Convention, the governing body of the party, that he was “premier of all Ontarians,” he proceeded to remove himself from all party policy.

His volte-face did not do anything to change the opinion of the groups aligned against him. Adopting an approach much like Tony Blair and Blatcherism, and Bill Clinton and triangulation, he did succeed in driving activists out of the party.

An interesting observation: parties of the Left, even when proceeding pragmatically, are accused of being ideological--the former seeming to be a good thing, and the latter a bad thing. But parties of the Right, especially when proceeding ideologically are praised for being pragmatic. Rae, and his government were accused of being ideological long after they were being pragmatic--and no longer even attempting to follow anything resembling party policy; Rae has gone on to become a respected elder statesman.

How far into newspeak we have come!

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