Dr. Dawg

Trouble with Trudeau

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Justin has put his foot in it a couple of times this past few days, and if I were a Liberal, I’d be worried right about now. Heedless remarks about China, a patronizing “Ladies Night,” and pundits from every part of the political spectrum are all over him. In over his head? Just how deep is that, again?

If Justin possessed the surname “Lacroix,” or, for that matter, “Smith,” would we ever have heard of him? Name-recognition can get you only so far, and no further. In the killing-fields of Canadian politics, you’ll be cut down like a new-born lamb if that’s all you’ve got. And the first deep wounds have now been dealt.

Liberals just never seem to learn. Those of us who have been following Trudeau’s foray into leadership politics with somewhat less than desperate hope have been shaking our heads, pretty much from the get-go. It may seem unfair to harp on his matinee-idol good looks, but let’s be honest: that, plus the name, is what the Liberals have largely been trading on. They played the public intellectual card with Michael Ignatieff, who turned out to have the political acumen of a centipede, and the green angle with St├ęphane Dion, who looked nervous and awkward all the time. It was to no avail. It’s as though they collectively said “OK, we tried substance. F**k it. Let’s just go with appearance. That’s all anybody cares about anyway.”

And the predicted bounce in the polls did take place. But—because even for the jaded Canadian electorate appearance isn’t sufficient for long—matters now appear to be righting themselves. After all, he had to open his mouth sometime.

He did OK when he just travelled across the country, ate BBQ and signed his name to a dreary collection of op-ed talking-points focussing on the “middle class.” I was taken to task at the time for suggesting that he didn’t write those things himself, incidentally, and now I wish I’d put money on it. His actual public utterances since then bespeak a political rookie, but worse than that, a completely undisciplined mind, an empty vessel waiting to be filled with policy by his handlers, who are even now filtering responses from the current Liberal policy-seeking vaudeville show. (Creating policy by asking Canadians what policies they want seems to appeal to some, but to me, at least, it indicates a party not standing for much else but gaining power.)

And readers, please take note: I’m talking real politics here, not making thinly-veiled homophobic comments about his “tresses” and his “strangely pretty” appearance. I’d love to argue his political positions further, but thus far we only have pot and Keystone, and a little Palinism from his star candidate in Toronto Centre. The Maximum Programme has yet to coalesce. I can’t wait.

In any case, there will be, at some point closer to 2015, leaders’ debates. Trudeau will have to take part in them. There should be a viewer advisory for those of delicate sensibilities: for the rest of us, be prepared to watch the blood flow.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on November 13, 2013 3:18 PM.

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