Justin Trudeau, Barack Obama and the liberal media

Two summer predictions: Justin Trudeau will run for the leadership of the Liberal party and win. And Barack Obama will win a second term as president. Why? The media can't help themselves.

Here are two of my lazy hazy days of summer predictions:

Justin Trudeau will run for the leadership of the federal Liberal party.

He will win.

Barack Obama, of course, is running for a second term as President of the United States.

He will win.

Some of my friends who are still upset that I contribute to the CBC will be reading this column thinking that I now really have taken leave of my senses. (For the record, political leanings notwithstanding, I have found the CBC to be very fair and accommodating to me.)

Let me be clear: I believe my predictions will come true. However I am not at all happy with that prospect.

My lack of joy has nothing to do with either of these gentlemen as individuals.

Justin Trudeau will run for and win the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, former Conservative minister Stockwell Day predicts. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

In my time on Parliament Hill, I came to know Justin Trudeau as a colleague and fellow parliamentarian. As a matter of fact, we each had a condo in the same residential building in Ottawa for a while. I consider him a friend and always enjoyed our conversations and occasional discussions together. He is genuinely amicable and engaging. He also shows genuine respect for the parliamentary process and for MPs, regardless of party affiliation.

In a three-round boxing match against him I believe my fate might well be the same as that of Sen. Brazeau. If it was a 10-rounder, I think I could use my marathon training as an advantage to wear him down. However, his left jab would always be a threat.

And that is why I am not happy with the possibility of him becoming leader of the federal Liberal party and eventual Leader of the Official Opposition. His moves most threatening to the nation would always be from the left.

For all of his good intentions, he clearly has his father's propensity to diminish the danger of deficit spending and its depressing effect on any economy. I believe he is a diligent worker. However, he is a member of that part of society which has enjoyed inherited wealth. That means he may be less understanding of the effects of raising taxes on people who are working hard to become upwardly mobile.

His lack of understanding of "how the world works" will not, however, be a political detriment to him. That is because he will enjoy what most conservatives can only dream of: mainstream media emotional attachment.

No, I do not suffer the paranoia of believing there is a "vast" left-wing conspiracy in the media.

I am simply a realist when I reflect on the fact that by their own internal polling "vast" numbers of the mainstream media claim to be small-L liberal in their philosophical worldview. Therefore even the strongest intellectuals among them (and there are some) cannot help but having a certain emotive edge in their reporting. This tends over time to present a warmer picture generally of liberal personalities and policies than is the case when they are reporting on the conservative world.

Don't worry, I acknowledge that right-of-centre journalists are only human also. The problem is that they are nowhere nearly as numerically represented in the mainstream mass media. Therefore the overall volume of news that drenches us daily is significantly weighted leftward. This does not mean we are "controlled."

It does mean, however, that the bloc of undecided voters in the "mushy middle" will usually be influenced to the left. I'm not whining, just giving you my right-of-centre bias, which of course I believe has the added benefit of being true.

Dreams of a Canadian Camelot?

To this clear tendency we can add another fascinating dimension of the Canadian media world over the last generation.

Many of them, as they gaze southward over the border, have always had a distinct case of "Kennedy Envy." (Though they wilfully ignore the fact that JFK was one of the most aggressive presidents when it came to either Vietnam or deep tax cuts.)

They want to write the Canadian Camelot story. Somehow, Pierre Trudeau and his family at the time was their hoped-for channel of that desire. They now are subliminally stirred at the possibility of writing that script with a newer, taller and young Trudeau as the eventual holder of their Holy Grail.

Certainly, even among mainstream media there are mixed reviews on the prospect of Justin Trudeau running. There are those who doubt his abilities. However, most of the doubters will begin to change their views once he heads down the road to leadership. They will find themselves overlooking and even excusing his deficiencies in ways they might not for others. The tractor beam of Trudeau Redux will pull many of them along.

That groaning commotion you hear in the background is the sound of a horde of writers and reporters denying everything I am saying and professing their professional ability to report beyond their own biases. If you accept their protestations, you are not fully aware of the power of the media-engendered Trudeau  mystique. And you probably have not had the opportunity to meet the charismatic Justin.

Stockwell Day's advice to supporters of Barack Obama is 'don't worry, be happy' - media support will ensure Obama's re-election in November. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

I felt the same way the first time I met President Obama. He also exudes a natural and easy-to-like persona. I do not say this in regard to him or to Justin in a detrimental way. These are very positive human attributes which serve both of these men very well.

Obama has also taken positions which I admire. For instance, his unequivocal declaration that one of the greatest causes of family poverty in the United States is a result of absentee fatherhood is a position that is both courageous and accurate. His deficiency, in my view, is a similar lack of the understanding of the detrimental and eventual devastating effects of ongoing deficit spending, high debt and high taxes.

Obama similarly enjoys the underlying adulation of the mainstream liberal media. They even accept without questioning his intriguing usage of the term "quantitative easing." Over the last decade, as the term "deficit spending" finally began to emit its appropriate odious aroma, new terminology had to be found. "QE" (not to be confused with Her Majesty) has become the mantra of all of those who are not willing to face up to the eventual disaster that unchecked public debt always brings to those who practise it.

The emotional support of most in the media, along with the temporary stimulus effect of another round of QE, will sway most of the undecided voters in the United States by November and will give President Obama his victory.

For those of you who look forward to that prospect, all I can say is "don't worry, be happy." For the rest of us, we can only hope that the internationally recognized strong fiscal position in which Canada now finds itself will continue to provide some protection against international policies to the contrary.

P.S. On an unrelated item, the unsung heroes of the London Olympics are the thousands of men and women in national and international security forces who performed amazing covert and overt work in preventing terrorist activity at the Games.


Stockwell Day, a senior federal cabinet minister from 2006 to 2011, when he chose not to seek re-election, has been minister of public safety and international trade, as well as head of the Treasury Board. He is a regular contributor on the CBC News Network's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon.