The Dauphin connects:
Justin Trudeau’s leadership team is attempting to bypass Liberal Party elites and allegiances, according to sources close to the campaign, using the same methods that Barack Obama’s campaign used to do an end run around the Democratic Party and make him president.
Ahem. Seriously? We are suppose to be believe that the Liberal Party Establishment, or whatever remains of it, doesn't want Justin as leader? The very same Party Establishment that genuflects at the mere mention of his father's name? So who are they backing instead? The Democratic Leadership wanted Hilary Clinton, at least until they could see that Obama had political legs. Who is the Grit Establishment's chosen candidate, if not Trudeau? Let's take a look at the prospective field:
Martin Cauchon - A Chretien-era retread who once served as Minister of National Revenue. An inspiring choice if you're a tax accountant.
Jean Charest - No one outside of Quebec cares. Inside Quebec he is not especially popular. I doubt the Grits want as their leader someone who has failed upward.
Martha Hall Findlay - Nice lady. Aside from a small clutch of dedicated supporters she is not taken seriously.
David or Dalton McGuinty - Aside from Warren Kinsella does anyone want either of those two names on the ballot? Didn't think so.
Debra Coyne - Like Martha Hall Findlay only more so. Well regarded among constitutional scholars but not regarded as a major candidate by either Liberal Party members or the MSM.
Marc Garneau - A decent and thoughtful chap. About as inspiring as boiled celery.
Pretending that Justin is some kind of insurgent candidate, rather than the Golden Boy of the Grit High Command, is very crude spin. Since the Sixties no one wants to an Establishment figure, everyone wants to be the rebel. This positioning reached an impressive level of absurdity earlier this year when Newt Gingrich, a man who has spent most of his adult life in American federal politics, tried to convince Republican primary voters he was an outsider.
Not to be outdone the Liberal Party's elite is now trying to add a bit more cache to Justin Trudeau by pretending he's some kind of radical. A more likely explanation for the Dauphin's leadership bid is that he is being used as a front by, wait for it, the Liberal Party Establishment. The Shiny Pony is a stalking horse for the Trudeau and Chretien era hacks still running the backrooms.
John Ibbitson concludes:
Most important, it remains to be seen whether Justin Trudeau can connect with potential supporters in the way Mr. Obama so famously did. But the rewards are worth the challenges: If Team Trudeau can replicate even a fraction of Obama For America’s achievement, politics in this country will never be the same.
Right. Hope and Hair You Can Believe In!
Whether you view Obama's oratory as overrated gibberish or grossly overrated nonsense, the American President has never engaged in quite the histrionic excess of the Son and Heir. It's hard to imagine high school drama Shakespeare coming out Barack Obama's mouth. That little voice in his head would probably pip up and say: "Oh, come on even your supporters aren't going to believe this!"
Canadian Liberals seem to be less demanding of their Saviours than American Democrats. This is perhaps because the former is far more desperate. American political parties tend to be very stable institutions. The last party to vanish beneath the electoral waves were the Whigs in the mid-19th century, whose political real estate was quickly occupied by the fast rising Republican Party. Canadian political parties are more ephemeral creatures: Social Credit, Reform, Canadian Alliance, CCF, Bloc Quebecois. Some of those parties merged with others, some just went away. Unlike Justin those who run the Liberal Party know some history. They also know that a few more missteps and they'll be history.
Thus the obsession with making Justin a politician for all seasons. He is the candidate for the young! Even if he is past forty. He is the candidate for the Quebecois! Even if his father's name is reviled in much of the province. He is the candidate of the poor and helpless! Even if his family has been rich and well connected for generations. Just to make sure he doesn't seem like too much of a shoe-in, the Trudeau spinners are trying to make him an outsider about to shake up Canadian politics.
The slender reed upon which they hang their hopes is explained by Mr Ibbitson:
Such a thing could never happen in Canada’s New Democratic or Conservative parties, where only a tiny number of dues-paying members can vote for party leader, giving party elites tremendous influence over the choice.
Now with spin like that, and it is spin and not commentary, you'd think that "tiny number of dues paying members" would be some kind of select group. A Grit Oligarchy towering over the political landscape! Nope. The qualifications to join this august group of Liberal Party members is going to this page and forking over the princely sum of $10.00. That's just under two venti lattes for those Starbucks addicts in the audience.
The reason there is a "tiny number of dues paying members" is that the Liberal Party is regarded as moribund. The Blue Liberals are drifting over to the Tories. The pragmatic Leftists now feel comfortable enough to vote for the NDP. The Liberal Party makes no sense. That's why no one wants to waste two coffees worth of spare change.
Understanding this the Grits have decided, in their time honoured tradition of subterfuge, to create a pseudo-class of membership called "Supporter." You don't have to pay anything, just say you agree with the party's principles, which is easy since the party has no principles except power seeking, and join their mailing list. Allegedly the "Supporter" class will get to choose the next leader. That's what it implies on the front page of the Liberal Party website. But if you read the FAQ it's a bit murkier. It seems they can help select the leader, but not any of the other key positions in the party.
Mackenzie King might be dead, but his dissembling spirit still lives. Perhaps Justin picked up the crystal ball.
Which leaves an interesting question about the Globe and Mail. We know the paper and the Liberal Party were both founded by the same man, but even George Brown would have hesitated to print press release re-writes and pretend they were an opinion piece.
But that was a long, long time ago. We have progressed since then.