Monday, July 31, 2006

with a little help from their friend

As if Howard would've cut and run from the Liberal Party. He's their savior, their reinventor, their rat in shining armour. And they need to milk him some more first (as much as rats can be milked, anyway). As Liberal Jackie Kelly pointed out recently when she declared she'd quit if Howard did, "Why put [federal government] at risk until we’ve got some state governments in power?" Clearly, the strategy is to clone Howard at state level and work is already underway. Two weeks ago the Sunday Telegraph reported that "Howard will help Libs to oust Iemma", quoting Howard saying to Debnam, "We will do everything we can to get rid of the Labor government in NSW and install a coalition government under your leadership." In other words, move over Debbo, this job’s too big for you, the feds are coming in. But hey, don’t worry, they're perfectly happy to "install" you as a successful Howard clone.
It's embarrassing for the federal Liberals that their state colleagues have been caught up in all the recent factional dramas, when the Liberals prefer to be able to criticise federal Labor for the same thing. But that's where the Howard management style is evident, silencing dissent and displaying a veneer of unity at all costs. Much like that veneer of unity that Costello and Howard have maintained all these years.
Elsewhere, Howard has already been campaigning for the federal election. Saturday's Australian reported that, "Flanked by sitting MPs Stuart Henry in Hasluck and Michael Keenan in Stirling, John Howard showered praise on the pair at electorate functions, loudly congratulating locals for their good sense in having elected them. The two men beamed modestly...Howard’s prolonged attention was like a starter’s gun going off." They’re all desperately hoping they’ll be able to bask in the reflected glow from Howard's halo.
As if Costello had a chance.