Bob Rae is being painted as a traitor to the party because he gave some money to NDP candidates in the last election. I checked the government disclosure database, and Rae gave donations of $250 and $300 (a total of $550) to two NDP candidates, along with $300 to a Liberal candidate. It's a personal thing whether this bothers you or not, but it doesn't bother me because: (1) All three donations are probably to friends; (2) I have read a fair bit of political biography and I understand that politicians make cross-party friends, and often aren't as partisan as they may seem in a debate (and thank god for that; they need to be able to work together after all); and (3) it's not enough money to make any difference.
Rae's comments about ideas are being misinterpreted to mean that he is not a man of ideas or that he doesn't believe in ideas. It's so ridiculous to say that Bob doesn't have ideas that I don't even know what to say to this one. Go take a look at bobrae.ca. Bob Rae is all about ideas. A leadership race is about choosing a leader, not choosing a platform.
Lots of bloggers are claiming anecdotal evidence that Bob Rae is a disaster in Ontario. There have been three large, independent, credible surveys recently, all showing that Bob Rae has very strong support across the country and especially in Ontario, both in the general public and among Liberals. See here, here, and here. Here are some quotes from the survey results:
* "Dryden and Rae are significantly ahead of other contenders among the general public"
* "Rae does comparatively well in Ontario, where he is in first place"
* "NDP voters are disproportionately attracted to Rae"
* "Bob Rae continues to hold a lead in the number of people who say they would vote Liberal or consider voting Liberal if he was leader... In Ontario, Rae enjoys a wider lead..."
* "Bob Rae has increased his potential to draw soft NDP support, which is a very important segment of voters for the Liberal party to focus on."
* To the question, "Which candidate would make the best Prime Minister?", Liberal party members who said they were going to vote in the candidate selection ballots answered Igantieff 16%, Rae 15%; and in Ontario they answered 18% for both. These were the highest scores of any candidates.
Finally, some people persist in saying that Bob Rae was a disaster as Ontario premier. He was a very good premier. A North America-wide recession struck during his first year, and he was vilified by his own party by coping with it in a fiscally responsible way. The Ontario NDP is still bitter that he didn't embark on a $10 billion auto insurance program while the deficit was skyrocketing. Rae did the right thing. For more information, see here. For my personal recollections of his premiership, see Why I Left the NDP.