Sunday, June 19, 2016

Making Three Point Shots

Justin Trudeau is changing the rules about how to do politics. Evan Solomon writes:

“We were perhaps behaving in a way that was resembling more the previous government,” Trudeau told stunned reporters as he explained that he would cede to opposition requests to more fairly distribute seats on his electoral reform committee—a sudden and surprising climbdown. Did Trudeau just compare himself to Stephen Harper? Yes, he did. This was after he’d already reversed course on the assisted-dying bill’s Motion 6, which would have limited opposition debate. And after he’d apologized—numerous times—for the infamous elbow incident. Trudeau was just doing what he has done since the campaign: breaking the five cardinal rules of political communication.

Those five cardinal rules -- up until now --  have been:

1. The flip-flop rule: Reversing decisions makes you look indecisive. Stick to your promises or people will stop trusting you.
2. The loser rule: Never repeat your negatives because you end up validating them. It goes without saying that you don’t compare yourself to the man you just defeated.
3. The blabber rule: Once you’re explaining, you’re losing. Keep messages simple.
4. The message-control rule: Never let the opposition or caucus take over the agenda. Leaders control; leaders look strong.
5. The wimp rule: Never give in to the opposition’s criticisms. Their job is to oppose. Your job is to lead.

Trudeau's approach, Solomon writes, is the equivalent of the three point shot in basketball:

Every time Trudeau fades back and launches another of his high-risk moon shots—legalizing pot, pricing carbon, buying navy ships, changing the way elections are won—you think he’s going to fail.

There are misses, for sure, lots of them, as Trudeau is the first to admit. But when he scores, he scores big. The age of political incrementalism, the policy layup shot, is over. Trudeau is breaking the rules and hitting all net.

There are a few other mistakes I'd like to see him admit -- starting with the Saudi arms deal. But, if he admits too many mistakes, his fans may not fill the seats.



UU4077 said...

I think he's stuck with the Saudi Arms deal. Trudeau knows it (even though he and many Canadians hate it) and it's time to move on.

As for the F-35? Lockheed Martin threatens the Liberal government. And did Trudeau, or anyone, bite back? Nope. They're just gonna do this their way. This should be interesting.

Owen Gray said...

Trudeau's whole approach is interesting, UU4077. We'll have to wait a bit to see if it works.

Lorne said...

It is refreshing to see a little humility in a politician, Owen, given its rareness.

Steve said...

Maybe not treating the public as idots works? Every word Jason. Rona and the team said was an insult to thinking. I belive Justin and Donald are riding the same mule, excpet Trump is beatkng it like its rented.

I think Wahabism is the root cause of global terrorism. Maybe Justin will be the first world leader to say that, Trump has already said it, but he is not the leader yet.

Owen Gray said...

If we're lucky, Steve, he'll go back to being a TV star.

Owen Gray said...

Perhaps humility will catch on, Lorne.