Liberal boost in the polls hints at triumph of smiles over substance
Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau delivers his opening address on day one of the party's biennial convention in Montreal, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Friday, February 21, 2014 4:00PM EST
The sunshine sketch which opened Justin Trudeau’s new economics 101 video is actually THE central plank of his 2015 election platform.
The Liberals are planning and perfecting a don’t worry, be happy campaign with dark, smearing negativity left to the other guys.
If it sounds fluffy, it is. If you think it lacks a shred of substance, you’re right. But will it work?
Well, a new CTV polls finds 54 per cent of Canadians share Trudeau’s values. But there’s no mention of any values beyond legalizing marijuana.
That’s why the inexplicable Trudeau phenomenon is something, or specifically someone, the Conservatives are taking very, very seriously.
Their response is predictable. Project 18 months into a future and it will be a landscape of grassy knolls from which Conservative snipers have assassinated any Liberal hurting their re-election chances.
Retired general Andrew Leslie and his hefty but legitimate moving claim is just target practice to set up cheap shots against any and all Liberal stars.
But a concern circulating in the Conservative backbench is that war-weary voters will eventually rebel, deem it all too much overkill and look for alternatives embracing the more hopeful mindset of a country poised to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017.
The Conservatives know Pierre Trudeau’s son god is onto something. Their secret strategy, leaked last week, notes their cold-blooded boss needs his warm-hearted spouse on constant display as voter leverage.
But they’ll find it unnatural to shake loose from their default attack mode to sell a leader who can’t fake being friendly.
Hardcore policy does not compute until voters are ready to lock in their vote. Right now, no leader should go beyond posturing.
That leaves the Conservatives coasting on the economy and banking on Liberal demonization.
The Liberals seem to be betting on sunshine, lollipops, rainbows and legal pot.
So far, the polls suggest the irrational triumph of smiles over substance.
That’s what makes the Trudeau phenomenon so fascinating. And that’s what makes the frowning Conservatives so nervous.