Thursday, February 21, 2013
A Personality Cult?
Andrew Coyne --with some justification -- is frustrated. The Liberal Party, he writes, is preparing itself for Justin Trudeau. And, to that end, it will "transform itself into a personality cult. Anything but define itself."
I confess that I have reservations about the younger Trudeau. His support for the oil sands is a little too full throated for me. But, the oil sands aside, Coyne's knock against Trudeau is that he has no platform -- except for some vague defense of the middle class.
But let's be realistic. The way politics is played these days is different than the way it used to be played. We live in the era of the 24/7 campaign. And that means you must define your opponent before he or she defines him or herself. Unveiling a platform during a leadership race gives your opposition all kinds of time to frame you as they wish.The time for a platform is not during a leadership race. It's during an election.
There are more important questions to be answered during a leadership race. Does a candidate possess the character and temperament to be prime minister? I would argue, for instance, that Stephen Harper possesses neither. More importantly, does a candidate possess the communication skills to connect with Canadians? Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff -- for all their their academic brilliance -- did not.
And then there is the matter of experience -- which seems to be Justin's short suit. How he deals with that problem will either make him or break him.
Like Coyne, I would like to hear more ideas coming from the Liberal tent. But I don't expect to hear them until after the leadership race is over.