Friday, April 28, 2017

Canada no longer has to worry about a Trump-esque O'Leary

America's Donald Trump and Canada's Kevin O'Leary are scarily similar in many respects. They are both mega-rich reality show celebrities with zero political experience. They are both narcissistic prima donnas with unpredictable tempers, and come armed with a conviction that they are right and the rest of the world must be wrong. They are both intelligent, but they have no empathy and no thought for their fellow man or woman. Basically, it's all about them.
In Trump's case, as we have seen all too often in his first few months of power, this translates into a political MO which is very difficult to deal with. His policies tend to begin with a blustering middle-of-the-night tweet, which his policy wonks then try to formulate into something halfway workable (which, as we have seen from the number of Trump edicts that have back-fired and either been abandoned or legally blocked, is no easy task).
The so-called "dealmaker-in-chief" has a very stressful and inefficient method of dealing, which usually starts with promising the moon and then gradually paring it back to something more practical. Thus, he will initially bluster that he is going to pull out of NAFTA or NATO or the Paris Climate Accord or whatever it might be. But then, after a conversation or two with more reasonable and seasoned individuals (which usually means someone outside his own cabinet), he will tone down his demands substantially, or often withdraw them completely. This must be incredibly frustrating for other politicians, who are not used to having to deal with the temper tantrums of a six-year old.
Kevin O'Leary is another such soi-disant dealmaker, and Canada should consider itself very lucky that he has recently decided not to pursue the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. Not that the Conservatives are in any danger of running the country again for quite some time (even most Conservatives are admitting that Trudeau is going to be unbeatable in 2019, and they are meekly setting their sights on 2023).
O'Leary's rationale for quitting the leadership race at this late stage is that he is "a numbers guy" and his extensive private polling has shown him that there is no way he can possibly win enough seats in Quebec to defeat the Liberals, and he is really not interested in being the leader of an opposition party. Why it has taken him this long to figure that out is a moot question, as is why he thinks that Maxime Bernier, with all the baggage he is bringing to the position, is in a better position to do so. O'Leary is portraying his decision as the best one for the party and for the country, as of course he has to do. But, in reality, it is the response of another megalomaniac six-year old, along the lines of "it's my ball, and I'm taking it home".
Now, I'm no fan of Maxine Bernier, and I am really not convinced that his libertarian vision is going to resonate with Canadians. But I consider that the country has dodged a bullet by not having to contend with a Trumpian monomaniac like Kevin O'Leary.

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