Still nervous

Mark at LP wrote an excellent post yesterday on how Howard is now looking so bad in the polls, pointing out in part that margins in the last two elections were closer than is generally acknowledged and Howard would have lost those elections had the ALP had a credible alternative leader to offer that truly appealed to the electorate.

The truth is that Howard’s own permanent campaigning style has almost certainly done him in. If he’d largely ignored Rudd from December last year, and projected the image of a steady and responsible government, he might be in better shape now. But his self-belief in his own “cleverness” wouldn’t allow him to do this. So we’ve had nigh on a year of increasingly shrill and hyperbolic ranting and a veritable plague of rabbits escaping from his empty Akubra.

Howard’s been on borrowed time for years, and it’s caught up with him. Various commentors take the theme and run with it.

“Rudd looks like the kind of bloke Howard’s mum would have liked Howard to be.”
“Rudd has given voters permission to acknowledge that they always despised Howard.”


“Now, Howard is not only disliked (or has at least lost whatever halo he might have had), but the ALP have now elected a leader without any obvious personality disorders, who has the added bonus of speaking Mandarin. That makes him both safe and interesting. Which is the exact formula that opposition leaders need. It’s the election cycle, stupid”

Steve Edwards

“Rudd has already become PM in the minds of most people and it seems like the electorate like him.”

Greensborough Growler

I’m still nervous about the ALP’s track record of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, but the end of the Howard government truly does appear to be in sight. We still need to balance the Senate with non-majors to ensure the proper legislative review, of course, but at least Howard will have to move out of Kirribilli House.

Mark refused to add to the speculation of whether Howard will indeed resign, so I’ll do it. Unless something drastic changes, it won’t matter who the leader of the LibNat coalition is, they will lose to Rudd. The honourable thing for Howard to do for the sake of his party is to suck it up and be the leader who loses this election, so that the party has a chance afterwards to find a leader who’s not tainted immediately as a loser. It will be a measure of just how much he really, really, loathes Peter Costello if Howard does actually resign and hand him the poisoned chalice.

Categories: Politics


2 replies

  1. Howard has been preparing the poisoned chalice all the way along this particular campaign (or in other words, since the end of the last one). I have a strong suspicion he has no plans on remaining in the Lodge after this campaign, even in the highly unlikely event that the Lib/Nats (or more likely Lib/FamFirst) win again. There’s just too many things which are going to be electoral dynamite in the wind, and too many things which have absolutely no possibility of ending positively. A good example is the intervention in the NT (there is no way known this can work positively – it was organised too hastily, there wasn’t anywhere near enough planning, it involves far too many departments to be workable, and it’s already showing the signs of this). Howard is planning to get the hells out of the PM slot, and he’s poisoning the water for whoever follows him – and he doesn’t care *who* that is, or which side of politics they come from.
    It’s the sort of shallow narcissism which is typical of his politics – it’s concerned with how *he* looks at the time, and none of it is really concerned with what is best for Australia and Australians as a whole. The really annoying thing is that the Liberal party appears to be letting him get away with this sort of malicious politics (despite what it implies about his own opinion of the likelihood of being re-elected). This implies that either they don’t think they’re likely to win this one either, or that the various members of cabinet and parliament are daft enough to believe that it won’t come back to bite them on the arse.

  2. Today the Canadian PM made a couple of interesting observations which reflected unintentionally on Howard’s problem that he is stagnant and past it.
    The role of ‘The Australian’ has been fascinating in all the leadership white-anting. How did the PM offend Murdoch? Or is the king-maker losing his touch as well? Mustn’t forget that he supported Whitlam editorially in 1972. What’s he going to do this time?
    ‘Labor View from Broome’

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