Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Justin Trudeau and the "substance" question. . .

Everywhere (on blogs and in the MSM) I keep hearing people tell me that Justin Trudeau has to demonstrate that he has substance as well as style. They say that he has to prove that he has solid approaches and policies and that he is not just a "pretty face."

And I keep thinking, "Really"? Since when does a politician need to have any real substance? We have a Prime Minister who isn't even "a pretty face," let alone a coherent policy maker! And Haper has demonstrated that you don't need style or substance - all you need is a divided opposition. Harper showed that if you are in the right place at the right time you can have less charisma than a wet dish-rag and you can still be the Prime Minister. The Conservative ministers keep telling us over and over ad nauseum that they are focused on "jobs" and the "economy," but they have NO actual policies to create jobs. They have nothing, and they never even try to pretend. They just have the mantra "jobs and the economy" and they repeat it as though that is itself a policy. Meanwhile anything that they are doing is creating a low-wage third-world style economy and increasing the economic inequalities that are at the root of the problem in the first place!

In fact the entire Harper MO is to do as little as possible (at least at the public level) and that way try to stay out of the public eye. Harper has turned on its head Oscar Wilde's adage that no publicity is bad publicity and try to champion the principle that where politics is concerned "almost all publicity is bad publicity." Even in the face of a government of stinking wretched corruption, Harper's approach is to stay quiet and let the news cycle go by until it all blows over. The most that Harper and his ministers do is just lie over and over until the lie is taken for the truth. Case in point; as more and more people get sick from tainted meat and we see the largest beef recall in history, the Minister of Agriculture not only fails to be accountable but claims that the food inspection system has done a "tremendous job." In other words, the more incompetent your government is, the more you exaggerate its competence and success.

So next time someone tell you that Justin Trudeau has to demonstrate that he has good policy ideas, roll your eyes at their naiveté. In the new age of Karl Rove/Harper style politics, policy competence is probably more of a hindrance than a help. Rather than show how smart he is, Mr. Trudeau needs to demonstrate that he can resist talking about policies, and look good and simply sound like he knows what he is doing. That is where his real hope for success lies.  

1 comment:

Owen Gray said...

Steve over at Far and Wide agrees with you, Kirby. The truth is that, until voters demand substance from their politicians, they will get fluff.

God help us if we allow this situation to continue.