June 17, 2024
Campaigns are all about the leaders
It's about the foibles and failures a leader has put on the plate for opponents. Trudeau has been a real philanthropist in this department.
It’s about the foibles and failures a leader has put on the plate for opponents. Trudeau has been a real philanthropist in this department.

The campaign fabricators of all parties are in near full swing now, busy in the back rooms trying out attack lines, how best to present every other leader but their own as a moral defective or an incompetent slug. Campaigns are mainly about leaders, not platforms. Personally I wonder why journalists make such a big deal about the latter and accommodate the idea they’re little more than window dressing around the leaders’ campaigns.

I offer the hint that outside the dreary purgatory of media-sponsored town halls (tedium institutionalized) and the partisan puppet shows of strategist panels, no one gives a flying fig about what the parties say their platforms are. For the simple reason most of their promises don’t live past the day of the vote. Balanced budgets in four years? Absolutely last election with First Past The Post?

The cardinal purpose of all election advertising is to do in the other bunch’s leader. And the greatest leverage in taking down a leader is the faults, foibles and failures that he or she has, during the previous term, put on the plate for his or her opponents.

Justin Trudeau has been a real philanthropist in this department. The mad musical he put on in India (a bit of Kipling, some Gilbert and Sullivan, and a whole lot of Say Yes to My Delhi Dresses) might yet be the only leader’s visit to earn a Gemini nomination — and if it’s for costumes, it’ll be a winner. And if the Tories don’t make something out of his most recent tongue-tied, brain-abandoned, superb mangle of his “drink-box water bottles sort of thing” then we shall have to wonder why God invented videotape and the rewind button.

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