I was amazed he was willing to continue to stand for the job. It is six years since he first announced he would run for leader. In that time, two other candidates were chosen over him and then the party executive effectively boxed him out. His continuing interest in being permanent leader was a selfless act; the job ahead is to slowly rebuild a crumbling party, or destroy it in a merger with a stronger party, or watch it die. I believe he wanted to stand because he knew he was the best person to save the party.
Unfortunately, the party, or at least some influential parts, made that impossible. For Rae, personally, this has to be the best choice. As for the party, it is definitely a sad day. And let's remember this: it was Harper's attack ads that took down Dion and Ignatieff, but it was the Liberal party itself that brought down Rae.