04.08.2013 09:57 PM

In Tuesday’s Sun: Trudeaumania – enough already!

Are you sick of media coverage about Justin Trudeau?

I know I sure am. And I’m a Liberal! And I know and like the guy!

I mean, the Liberal leader-to-be gets more ink than would a chance meeting of the newly minted pope, Justin Bieber and Ikea monkey.

Plug the Montreal MP’s name into Google and you’ll get a kabillion results in 0.23 seconds. Will it ever end? Make it stop!

I have it on good authority that Team Trudeau wishes it would, too.

Increasingly — and quietly — the Trudeaumaniacs are growing worried about the insanely high expectations being created by the insane amount of fawning coverage their man has been getting, for month after month.

For instance, if someone at the Toronto Star were to write a column suggesting the sun actually shines out of Trudeau’s behind, it would get printed. No one would blink.

In fact, CBC’s Evan Solomon and CTV’s Don Martin would thereafter seek out experts to discuss the beams of light emanating from the young Trudeau’s bottom and their political significance.

There is a long and proud tradition in Canadian politics. It is called “underselling and overperforming.”

Politicians who did so include Stephen Harper, Jean Chretien, Peter Lougheed and Bill Davis. All were pilots who knew how to fly beneath the radar.

Politicians who don’t — the ones who think it is a good idea to be all over the papers, all the time — tend to be the politicians who are found in political graveyards, stacked up like cordwood.

Generally speaking, voters elect leaders once every four years. Then they hope not to hear from said politicians for another four years or so. Just do the job we hired you to do, keep out trouble and keep out of the media; it’s a simple and simplistic formula and it works.

Justin Trudeau is messing with that formula. Through no fault of his own, Trudeau is getting media coverage of the kind that few of us have ever seen before.

(For instance, were the Messiah contemplating a return, we’d advise him to wait for the conclusion of the Liberal leadership race next weekend.)

The problem with Trudeau’s bursting media clippings file — and not all of the coverage is good, it should be noted — is this: It is creating expectations that no human being could ever, ever satisfy. Justin Trudeau, all evidence to the contrary, is human. Human beings are flawed.

Ipso facto, in the coming months, Justin Trudeau is going to say and do things that will disappoint untold legions of Trudeaumaniacs. It is inevitable.

If entering a witness protection program is not possible, Trudeau and his team need to start lowering the sky-high expectations, pronto.

To this point, Trudeau’s advisers have been the Maytag repairmen of Canadian politics; for them, nothing seems to ever go wrong. Their job has been an easy one.

It’s about to get harder. Team Trudeau must get their guy to step back from the spotlight, a bit, and focus instead on beefing up policy, membership, candidate recruitment and election readiness. They need to get him less media coverage, not more.

That’s unusual advice to give to a politician, but Justin Trudeau has had a very unusual campaign. The standard rules don’t apply.

Oh, and the sun shining out of his keester?

Team Trudeau have no comment.


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Once he’s become leader, as we expect he will do – then starts the usual political grind and it will settle down. First Question Period will be popular, but after that – probably business as usual. Or not usual.
    He’s getting a lot of attention, but a lot of negative attention as well, and he’s coping really, really well with it.

    CBC thought that he was “amateurish” when he posed the question about funding job training to Harper – (and Harper stumbled); and it’s true he did read from a piece of paper; but good clear delivery.

    What they didn’t comment on, was – after Harper finally managed to say he was glad to see the MP from Papineau show up in HoC; how quickly Trudeau shot back at Harper saying that he was “scoring cheap political points”.
    No amateurishness there.

    More to come, and meanwhile, I’ll change my FB banner back to Star Trek and Benedict Cumberbatch.

  2. Robin says:

    It’s a double edged sword. The lavish ubiquitous fawning praise in the media is kryptonite to Harper’s attack machine. Although devoted political hacks may be tired of reading about Trudeau many severely normal Canadians only get and retain a few droplets occasionally from this fire hose streaming news about every minute detail about Trudeau; the fact that it penetrates through the noise of daily family life and leaves a positive impression makes it harder for Harper’s attack machine to define Trudeau in the same way they did with Dion and Ignatieff. Expectations may be high at this point however Trudeau has two years before a fixed date election in October 2015 to manage expectations and prepare an election policy platform, that is, unless Harper calls a snap election to undermine Trudeau’s chances of winning. I wouldn’t rely on a law passed by Harper; he has demonstrated, already, that election laws do not apply to him and was re-elected. So, we should be thankful for the earned media that Trudeau has generated for the Liberal Party, have faith in the good sense of Canadians and the management skills of Trudeau and his team, and the intelligence of severely normal Canadians.

  3. Bill Case says:

    Warren, Justin is doing what comes naturally to him; he hogs the stage!

    Whenever we see or hear Justin he seems to be mimicking his father Pierre!

    Of course the starved media mavens eat it up non-stop and crow incessantly.

    I realize in his earlier career he was a drama teacher, and once a thespian always a thespian.

    Why doesn’t he show us some originality and come down to earth from his heavenly stage?

  4. Matt Parsens says:

    In for a penny, in for a pound
    This juggernaut is going all the way
    The horror, the horror
    Kool-aid time
    Everyone is going to get burned …

  5. james Smith says:

    Well put. He needs to take some time with his family then go hard on the boring stuff.

  6. thomas gallezot says:

    I have a problem these days. I agree with everything you’re writing. From Kinsellaphobic I became Kinsellamaniac. Over a few weeks. Is it me? Is it you? Is it because we entered the Year of the Snake? In any case, I am very impressed. Honestly.

  7. Michael says:

    “It’s the messiah”

    “I’m not the messiah”

    “Only the true messiah would say he is not the messiah”

    “Ok then, I am the messiah”


  8. JamesHalifax says:

    The coverage can be double edged as proven by the interview Trudeau gave to CTV. When questioned about the doubts about his intellect, Trudeau said that he “won’t go around citing Pi to the 19th DECIBAL….!!!

    Not really a good response when someone questions your intelligence. I expect we’ll see this clip in an attack ad.

  9. Cath says:

    The whole time I’m reading this WK I’m thinking of Sandara Pupatello.

  10. ray says:

    Warren, please say it ain’t so. Harper under the radar! Are you kidding me? Stop cutting him slack. The light out of his ass has been blinking over my house for seven years and as Bruce Cockburn famously wrote “If I had a rocket launcher” By the by there is only one Canadian alive who could totally rip Harper a new one day after day. With your influence could you maybe get him to run in Hamilton next election…. Yes, the one and only Martin Short. Be still my beating heart at the mere thought of Mr Grimly during question period. 🙂
    ray in kingston

  11. lance says:

    If Trudeau doesn’t define himself or what he stands for, and he hasn’t, then someone else will.

    The CPC did it to Dion and Iggy, the press and (ironically) supporters are doing it to Trudeau.

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