Furey

Not awesome, dude: Trudeaumania replay defies common sense

By Anthony Furey, Postmedia Network

Federal Liberal Party leadership candidates Martha Hall Findlay, Justin Trudeau and Martin Cauchon (L-R) laugh during a leadership candidates debate in Halifax, Nova Scotia March 3, 2013.  REUTERS/Devaan Ingraham

Federal Liberal Party leadership candidates Martha Hall Findlay, Justin Trudeau and Martin Cauchon (L-R) laugh during a leadership candidates debate in Halifax, Nova Scotia March 3, 2013. REUTERS/Devaan Ingraham

With the bowing out of Marc Garneau, the Liberal leadership process continues to unfold in a completely nonsensical fashion.

It truly is becoming an anointment of Justin Trudeau in ways even the most cynical of observers wouldn’t have predicted.

Naively, I assumed Trudeaumania would wear off at some point. After all, his pseudo-celeb lustre could only propel him for so long. Eventually people would start paying attention to the actual content of his pitch and then realize Garneau was the wiser choice.

Despite becoming an MP the same year as Trudeau, in 2008, Garneau brought a wealth of real world experience that was a refreshing change to the usual career politicians.

He also carried more gravitas. A debate between Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Garneau — three men of more or less the same age, look and personality — could be a debate of ideas.

Yes, a novel approach to doing politics in Canada, but one long overdue. At least it wouldn’t be about their hair.

But then again, this recent development should surprise no one when you consider how Trudeau survived two scandals that would have devastated any other candidate.

The first was when he proudly proclaimed such campaigns weren’t the place for policy discussions.

Let’s reflect on that. Someone who polls have given a good shot at becoming prime minister doesn’t want to talk policy!

The second was Trudeau’s speaking tour income, much of which he earned while an MP and from not-for-profit and public-sector organizations. Another news item that would see a less self-absorbed campaign team at least apologize if not throw in the towel.

Then again, a recent poll shows 57% of Canadians think Trudeau should return some of the fees.

So perhaps it’s just the magical thinking of the Liberal brass still waiting in the wings for their triumphant return to natural governing party status who are strong-arming this blind run for Trudeau.

If Canadians persist in giving Trudeau a free pass for this stuff, we might as well just cut to the chase and install Kim Kardashian as prime minister.

Look, none of us should have any personal grievances with Trudeau.

He’s incredibly charming in a way reminiscent of a Fast Times at Ridgemont High character. But dude doth not a prime minister make.

I wish I could be more generous, but that’s all he’s offered.

Part of his popularity lies in how he’s a blank slate people can project whatever they want onto.

The most disheartening part of all this is Garneau throwing his support behind Trudeau despite being his harshest critic. Sure, there’s the usual stuff about strengthening the party. But you should only do so for a candidate you believe can genuinely achieve that.

Dion, Ignatieff, Rae — all men with sizable resumes and rigorous political philosophies. Yet somehow it’s Trudeau who is left standing?

Do Canadians think so poorly of their country that when a man asks to be put in charge, we can’t be bothered to ask for an even napkin-length pitch?

In a political landscape dominated by sober assessment, Trudeau would have simply enjoyed a lengthy flavour-of-the-month status.

However, in the immediate but thoughtless pace of our social media-driven public sphere, Canadians apparently have no patience for such assessments.

As King Arthur sings in Camelot, the musical frequently used as a metaphor for the Kennedy dynasty: “I know it sounds a bit bizarre, but in Camelot that’s how conditions are!”

 


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