Well, it’s that magical time of year again, when we all hunker down in our homes in the face of yet another December COVID onslaught.
True this is somewhat depressing, but on the plus side the isolation gives us an opportunity to ponder things.
For example, right now, in the wake of Erin O’Toole’s disappointing showing, I’m pondering what it would take to create the perfect Conservative leader.
Yes, I know, this is a total waste of time, but hey, it’s a fun holiday exercise.
And right now, with everything that’s going on in the world, we need all the fun we can get, right?
So, let’s begin the frivolity.
First off, I’d argue the perfect Conservative leader would need a strong dose of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s sense of gravitas.
I say that because Harper’s strength as a politician was that he exuded seriousness; he actually had deep intellectual thoughts and was therefore able to offer leadership that went beyond vapid superficial glitz.
I mean, admit it, wouldn’t it be nice to have a political leader again who actually came across as an adult?
Of course, to complement his (or her) seriousness a perfect Conservative leader would also need to manifest former US President Ronald Reagan’s geniality.
Indeed, one chief reason for Reagan’s political success was that people tended to like him and people who liked him also tended to vote for him.
In short, likeability works.
Hence, the perfect Conservative leader would be somber, yet likeable.
Plus, in order to ensure he (or she) got a good hearing in Quebec, the perfect Conservative leader would also have to possess former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s fluency in French.
As a native Quebecor, Mulroney could speak the lingo with more authenticity than any leader who learned the language in French immersion classes.
Besides, as someone whose name escapes me once put it, “immersing yourself in the French language for more than five minutes can be fatal.”
At any rate, another quality a perfect Conservative leader would need in my opinion is the ability to brawl.
After all, politics is a blood sport and if you can’t duke it out in the political arena, odds are good, you’re going to lose.
Just ask Andrew Scheer or Erin O’Toole.
That’s why my perfect Conservative leader would also be imbued with former US President Donald Trump’s willingness to give as good as he got.
As a matter of fact, Trump is a master at concocting what American cartoonist Scott Adams called “linguistic kill shots.”
For example, in 2016 Trump brilliantly dubbed his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton as “Crooked Hillary”.
Sure, it’s not exactly Disraelian-style rhetoric, but it’s effective.
And finally, my perfect Conservative leader would also have a strong commitment to a true conservative ideology, that’s to say a doctrine that stood for “more freedom”, “less government” and “free market” economics.
For this, he (or she) would have to be blessed with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s personal courage and steely determination.
Recall, for example, how in 1980, when she was being urged by powerful voices to abandon her pro-free market agenda, Thatcher famously declared, “To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the ‘U-turn’, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning!”
In other words, just like the “Iron lady”, a perfect Conservative leader would bravely stick by his (or her) principles even if the political situation got rough.
So, there it is, that’s my recipe for a perfect Conservative leader.
Mind you, I’m under no illusions that the media would share my view.
In fact, if my perfect Conservative leader actually existed in reality, I’m certain the Canadian media would hate him (or her) with a red-hot intensity.
But then again, unlike the people who currently run the Conservative Party, pandering to the media’s prejudices is not my top priority.