"It" can be defined a number of ways -- intelligence, the common touch, gravitas. The main knock against Justin Trudeau is that he doesn't have what "it" takes to be Liberal leader. But Lawrence Martin writes that previous leaders -- who had "it" -- didn't fare very well:
Michael Ignatieff had intellectual heft. Sank like a stone. Stéphane Dion had policy gravitas. Sank like a stone. Paul Martin was a policy wonk. Didn’t last long in the big chair.
The Conservatives have hit pay dirt when they chose youth over experience:
For the Tories, there was Brian Mulroney. On becoming party leader in 1983, he was young, had zero experience as an elected politician, and only a glossy grasp of the issues. By contrast, Robert Stanfield, a previous leader, was a deeply conscientious issues type. Mr. Mulroney won two majorities. Bob Stanfield lost three elections in succession.
But that strategy has also failed. Joe Clark was an excellent Minister of Foreign Affairs. As prime minister, he lasted as long as a summer dandelion. So where does that leave Justin? Perhaps what really matters, Martin writes, is a strong behind the scenes operation:
If he enters the race, [Justin] will need something the Grits haven’t had since Eddie Goldenberg and Jean Pelletier stood guard for Jean Chrétien: a first-rate management team.
I can remember when Pierre Trudeau was an unknown quantity. Jean Marchand was supposedly the man to watch. Say what you will about them, but Keith Davey and Jim Coutts had a lot to do with the elder Trudeau's success.