Tuesday, March 13, 2007

standing corrected

How embarrassing watching John Howard on the news scratching his head as to why the punters are deserting him. He seems so pathetically clueless.
I reckon Howard made two fatal unforced errors in recent years that will be his undoing. First, for the sake of the party and to avoid inevitable Howard-fatigue, the PM should have quit while he was ahead. His vanity led him to refuse to gracefully hand over the leadership to Peter Costello, which was basically a vote of no-confidence in his sidekick. After all, despite the strength of the economy and Liberal claims that this success is directly attributable to the Treasurer‘s brilliant management over a decade, the PM was indicating he believed Costello still couldn‘t be trusted to run the country. And once Rudd replaced Beazley, the case for Costello is even more obvious. The advantage for Howard personally, of course, is that his "legacy" would’ve been to some extent protected, with Costello having to bear the brunt of any election defeat.
Secondly, despite running on a platform of having so wonderfully managed the economy and prevailing over such good times, Howard introduced risk into the mix with his radical IR reforms. This is the dealbreaker, in my opinion; the thing that results in the public saying to Howard, "Thanks very much for apparently not screwing up the economy too much while you were in charge. But actually, we’d like to try and keep things how they are, so let’s not tinker with something as unpredictable as crazy-brave IR reform at this stage. Sorry, mate, but so long and thanks for all the fish."
And now, post-Burke, the public is surely--understandably--asking itself: why the hell does the PM seem to care more about Brian Burke than global warming or the failed foreign policy experiment in Iraq?

Elsewhere, in the mainstream press: Christopher Pearson reading tea leaves trembling legs (hey, Christopher, maybe he just needed to pee?); George Megalogenis confirming my suspicions that the strength of the economy could prove to be a headache for the Government; and Dennis Shanahan suggesting ‘morality politics’ is a dangerous game for politicians because the truth will out; and that it ultimately leads to voter dissatisfaction with politics. (I think I disagree. Seeing allegations of corruption brought to the surface and defended (or not) will surely give the public more confidence in the remaining body of politicians, even if a few bad apples are rolled away. Even if people get mightily sick of the sledging when it is used as a method of drowning out genuine policy debate, as seen lately, the net result is still greater transparency on both sides, and voters have got to be happy about that.)

Oh my god! My son has met Brian Burke! My son must resign! Oh, hang on, sorry...that's just Opa Luis (left, with Harley’s other grandpa Lionel, who sadly passed away last year).