Folks in the American media have been gushing in their comparisons between Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy, but some Canadian commentators, me included, have noticed another, more striking resemblance.
Back in the 1960s Canadians witnessed the rise of a politician with incredible charm, and panache, who charmed a generation into a mindless swoon that still exists to this day.
That politician was Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Like Obama he played on his mixed heritage (Scottish & French) to make himself a figure of reconciliation for Canada's 2 solitudes and more importantly an agent of change.
No one knew exactly what that change was supposed to be, Trudeau avoided any specifics, but it was the 60s and any change was considered an absolute good.
His opponents tried to play up his radical leftist leanings, but the popular press ignored it, because he was just so playful, witty, and above all charming.
Now he became Prime Minister on this wave of popularity, held office for 15 years, and he tore the country apart.
His lite-socialist policies wrecked the economy, racked up enormous debts, crippled the military, created unconstitutional human rights tribunals, ruined the Canadian national identity, turned Canada from a post-WW2 major power, to a global non-entity. He even once suspended the constitution and instituted a state of near martial law that made the Patriot Act and FISA look like an ACLU wish list. Ironically, that brought on his only real success, the crushing of FLQ a Francophone separatist terrorist group. Ironically the FLQ, many say, was borne from Trudeau's alienation of the people of Quebec.
To this day, the same baby-boomers who voted him into office would gladly do it again. Sure everything he touched was a disaster, and he stomped out centuries of common-law liberty for mainland Euro-cratic top down rule by judicial fiat, but if his zombified corpse rose from the grave muttering for brains, they'd vote for him.
Now the major difference between Obama and Trudeau, like with everything else associated with Obama is experience. Before running for Prime Minister, Trudeau was an attorney, a political theorist, and activist, with numerous writings and senior ministerial positions.
Obama's record is a knack for getting elected, and the authorship of two books. Now these two books weren't about politics, or anything like that, but mostly Obama telling you about how great Obama is.
So the next time you look at Barack Obama. Think about Trudeau and how Canada is still cleaning up after him, over 24 years after his retirement.