That is all well and certainly a debate to be had, but let's all take a step back and focus on the real issue here. The focus shouldn't be the ads, but rather the continued waffling we have come to expect from Rae.
I was among the first to openly criticize Rae in my November 29th article in the Hill Times for, among other things, the way he has mishandled his leadership issue. Since that article, the Liberal convention took place in Ottawa on Jan 13th-15th.
The Liberal party was in the spotlight. The convention, like most political gatherings, portrayed a mood of unity, excitement and perhaps signaled a need for change in the election of a young reformer for party president.
Unfortunately, the Liberal limelight was shunned by a number of insincere and at times awkward interviews with Rae who couldn't give reporters a straight answer about his political ambitions. Despite many interviews with Rae over the course of the convention weekend, there remains no clarity surrouding his leadership.
Peter Van Dusen of CPAC repeatedly pressed Rae about his leadership intentions at the convention floor. Van Dusen reworded the question several times to the point where Rae was visibly becoming uncomfortable in his seat. Global TV's Tom Clark also did a good job of pressing the interim leader on his show, but again Rae managed to get away with no clear answer.
Rae's indecision, or his decision to not share his decision with the party, has truly become an embarrassment and distraction for Liberals.
Understandably the decision and the rules will be made by the party, as Rae continually likes to remind us, but his plans will also influence that decision making process and how the party moves forward in the coming year.
Rae seems more concerned with his future and doesn't realize his current actions are only serving the conservative war rooms should he lead the Liberals in 2015. The real ads are in production and they will be destructive.
At a time of historic crossroads, the Liberals can't afford to gamble with a reckless leader who can't grasp the significance of his indecisiveness and inability to answer a simple question.
It's time Rae understood that this is not about him but about the future of the Liberal Party. The party will unite behind its leader, but that leader must in the least be sincere and transparent with supporters.
As for the one MP who decided to play the media at the convention, I can only say that the Liberals don't need a dull David McGuinty to lead them either.