Friday, July 02, 2004

beating around the bush

I think it's on. This talk today about 'acting on instinct' certainly clears the way for John Howard to announce that he's made a snap decision this weekend.

"In the end you go on instinct. I am by nature an instinctive politician on a lot of issues," he told Melbourne radio 3AW...Mr Howard also said he would be in Canberra this Sunday – potentially opening the way for a trip to Government House to call an election for August 7.

I'm sure he'd dearly love to announce that the election was actually held yesterday, to pre-empt any possible election-time terrorist attack, but since he can't do that, I reckon he'll settle for pulling a swift one. This would leave terrorists with little time to carry out an attack; just as it would leave Labor with only a month or so to bring out all its policies, explain and defend them, and convince voters it has an overall vision. Meanwhile, Howard will be able to ride on the coat-tails of the handover of Iraq's 'sovereignty'--whatever terrible things happen in Iraq can be painted as a natural consequence of the handover of 'sovereignty'; as well, he can make the most of the goodwill created by seeing Saddam in the dock. Locally, he'll get mileage out of any mud sticking to Mark Latham at a time when Howard's Teflon is newly scrubbed and there's no negative imagery surrounding him (unless your memory works, as Tim put it).
And Howard thinks the Government is 'travelling better' lately. After all, there's that lovely $600 of our own money that he gave many of us back recently. Not to mention the newly hatched $3000 baby bonus being handed out from this week.
I also think Howard and Bush will want to put distance between their elections to avoid a domino effect. Since Bush's date is fixed, that would mean Howard would have to run as early as possible. A Howard victory, of course, could then be milked by Bush for as long as possible as representing vindication of the COW.
Anyway, I guess we'll soon find out.