Remember the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza visits the ‘Bubble Boy’? The boy lived in quarantine due to an immune deficiency and was therefore confined to a vacuum type environment to prevent against germs and viruses. He is never seen fully on-screen, except for a pair of gloves that he uses to reach through the barrier.
That episode is being replayed today with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. We see him in the House of Commons occasionally reading questions from cue cards but then he disappears again from Parliament Hill. We do know however that he is alive and well as his picture appears on Facebook and Twitter posing with people.
He is being kept away from the daily give-and-take of the House. Contrast Trudeau’s style during the Senate / PMO affair with NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. Mulcair took a meticulous approach to questioning Prime Minister Harper, dismissing the PM’s answers. Mulcair asked almost every question allocated to the Official Opposition.
It was interesting to watch the leadership style of Mulcair versus Trudeau’s proxies of Goodale or LeBlanc. Unfortunately Trudeau wasn’t always in the House as he was attending parties and even went to Washington to be part of a panel discussion. After asking the Prime Minister to testify about the scandal under oath, Trudeau’s priority became something else outside of Ottawa.
The Liberal Leader’s handlers must believe that it is important Trudeau not be caught up in the daily Ottawa grind. Trudeau is being placed in a bubble so to speak.
With the Liberals currently leading in the polls, Trudeau is running a front-runner campaign. Albeit the election is two years away.
At some point Trudeau will need to put some ideas out to Canadians to support the notion that he is ready to become the next Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition. At this point there has been no evidence he is ready.
Besides Rob Ford, the other politician that didn’t have a good week was Trudeau. There was the ‘Lady’s Night’ in which he reaped praise on the Chinese government and then he delivered a flat campaign style speech in Montreal.
There needs to be more to Trudeau than kissing babies, shaking hands and posing for photographs.
In television advertisements that are currently airing, Trudeau states that his priority is the middle class and not the political elite. Really? Yes, the Liberal Leader worked as a teacher but Trudeau’s life has been the farthest thing from middle class as he grew up in privilege, benefiting from the family’s wealth.
So as Trudeau speaks about representing the middle class, he does so without the understanding of the issues families are facing on a daily basis and without suggesting or offering alternatives to the governing Conservatives.
No doubt Trudeau is political royalty in Canada. No different than the Kennedys in the United States. Trudeau has used his last name to ascend to Liberal Leader but the ‘Bubble Boy’ will face scrutiny in the coming months on multiple fronts: yet to be developed Liberal policies, leadership comparisons versus Mulcair and PM Harper, and the comparison between Justin and his father.
We have yet to see very many speeches of substance from Trudeau. We may hear in the coming months the same line Lloyd Bentsen used on Dan Quayle in the 1988 US Vice-Presidential Debate: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
It’s time for the handlers to deflate the bubble and release Trudeau. Canadians need to know if Trudeau has substance or if he is only a celebrity. Was the PM correct when stating Trudeau is better suited competing for Canadian Idol versus becoming Prime Minister?
Time will tell.