Memo to Liberals: Bring Back the Rat Pack

bring back the Rat Pack

No, not that Rat Pack. In fact, I should apologize just for making you think of that Rat Pack. Your head is pounding now, isn’t it?

Sorry. I’m sorry.

(People forget this, but top researchers long ago concluded that the antics of Sheila Copps, Brian Tobin, John Nunziata and Don Boudria were so piercing and shrill as to be capable of transcending the time-space continuum to cause crippling headaches. It is this same principle that will enable Bill Clinton, on the 10th anniversary of his death, to impregnate Jessica Simpson’s granddaughter.)

As the 40th Parliament begins, some Liberals actually believe the party’s Rat Pack is an example worth emulating today – that a loud, hysterical opposition is an effective opposition.

They argue that, sure, there were those who wanted to smack the Rat Packers around a bit, to hurt them, to make them suffer intense, lasting pain – and that was just John Turner. But, they say, these four MPs helped create an impression of the reigning party that culminated in 1993 with the Progressive Conservatives being reduced to two members, neither of whom could do a thing with their hair.

That said, what the Liberals need now isn’t the old Copps-Tobin Rat Pack. For inspiration, they need to look to the original Rat Pack – a group defined by cool, by an above-it-all world weariness and by the ability, currently foreign to the Liberals, to come across as likable.

Stephen Harper is so cheerless and his ministers are so fearful and enfeebled that there has just got to be some public-opinion reward awaiting a party that showcases its humanity, displays a sense of humour and stops acting as though the fate of the free world depended on the government’s response to the second report of the third meeting of the Standing Committee on Whatever the Hell.

Calmly ask questions that are actual questions, not allegations. Heckle only if you’re got a killer one-liner. Don’t shriek like a little girl who’s skinned her knee. Don’t theatrically declare Stephen Harper the Worst. Prime Minister. Ever. (Do rob five casinos in one night, but only if you can get away clean.)

To answer the question forming in your head: Iggy is Sinatra, Rae is Deano, Dion is now Sammy and Dryden is the 15 minutes too long that each of the Rat Pack’s movies went.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.