Now that we’ve all read enough about Margaret Thatcher and her leadership capabilities I want to go back to the Liberal Leadership race. If you remember my blog on Monday, I said something about how there are three dimensions upon which a leader can be identified. Those are Policy, Politics, and Personality. Today, I want to look at Policy.
Marc Garneau tried to make his campaign about policy, going so far as to criticize Justin Trudeau for his lack of policy ideas. “Federal Liberal Leadership frontrunner Justin Trudeau has a responsibility to tell Canadians where he stands and where he intends to lead now, not after the leadership race is over,”
Garneau was a policy wonk’s dream. A doctorate in engineering who had flown in space and designed space flight simulators for fun. But he was dry and dense and for all his love of policy, it was hard to figure out what he stood for (gender equality, high-speed internet access, student-assistance reform, expansion of Pacific-directed trade, and telecom liberalization.)
The liberals’ had picked two very smart leaders in the recent past and look where it got them. They twice turned down the chance for a political expert with a likeable personality in favour of two intellectuals who couldn’t connect with people.
Sometimes you get leaders who are good at policy and have a personality. Rare but people like Pierre Trudeau and Clinton come to mind.
The thing about leadership is that it doesn’t matter how smart you are or how good your policies are, if you can’t connect with people, you won’t get anywhere. In fact of the three dimensions upon which a leader can excel, (policy, politics, and personality), policy is the one that matters least.
Never forget that this is why A and B students work for C students.