There’s at least one commentor over at LP seemingly put out by the fact that Kevin Rudd’s latest reported socially conservative utterance doesn’t have left-leaning bloggers rending their garments and wildly exclaiming “how could we have been so wrong about him?”.
But the thing these tightie-rightie stooges have never understood is that actual Leftists were never the ones who bought into the Kevin07 hype. We acknowledged it as an effective electoral campaign, and we were happy to see an effective electoral campaign from Labor for a change. We always knew Rudd was a centrist with socially conservative leanings, but his value to the Left in Australia was that he was a Not-Howard who was appealing enough to the swinging voters to stand a good chance in the 2007 election and rid us of the spectre of WorkChoices. End of.
(Remember WorkChoices, Lib stooges? Remember that this was actually what lost you the last election? Aren’t you at all nervous now about the electorate’s response to Abbott’s idea to abolish penalty rates?)
So, Rudd’s allegedly said something that is appallingly socially conservative and anti-feminist. Oh wow, what a huge surprise and disappointment, are these scales I see falling from my eyes?…NOT. He’s still Not-Howard, and, even better, he’s Not-Abbott.
It would be wrong to think that the swinging voters fell hook, line and sinker for the hype either. Swinging voters tend to be either apathetic and cynical or jaded and cynical: being reached by campaign rhetoric that manages to cut through the electoral business-as-usual schtick is not a sign of a conversion on the road to Damascus, FFS. Especially here in Australia where one has to turn up to the polling place anyway, so one might as well put a mark against the name of the candidate whose party pisses you off the least.
Rudd’s campaign was effective because of three things: his team came up with some innovations that got people’s attention, by comparison Howard’s campaign was all about the same old message as the last 3 electoral cycles with a superficial spritz of look-at-my-safe-pair-of-hands (booooring), and the rhetoric about Howard’s safe conservatism jarred terribly with the radical nature of the proposed WorkChoices reforms that people felt threatened their financial security. Rudd successfully positioned himself as the MORE socially conservative choice in 2007, as the leader who would ensure more dollars in the hip pocket, and the electorate responded. So it’s hardly a terrible surprise now whenever he says something socially conservative – that’s him, it’s always been him, this on its own is simply Not News.
So, message to tightie-rightie stooges playing the Fallen Messiah card: quit coming the raw prawn, you bunch of nongs. It’s vicariously embarrassing to watch you flail about like this.
1. There is a strong possibility that the PM’s remark to Nina Ferrell was a failed attempt at wit. Apparently the Queensland ALP die-hards who’ve known him for decades still can’t get over how a socially inept uptight policy wonk reinvented himself as the nation’s Uncle Kev in the eyes of the media in the first place.
2. For anybody afflicted with analogy-fail, this is exactly why Leftists in the States aren’t collapsing from disappointment with Obama either. Wanting Not-Bush to win the Presidency for the Democrats, and appreciating an effective campaign that would achieve that goal, is not the same thing as buying into the Obama hype. Treating the Left as if they have suffered a crushing ideological blow via Obama’s feet of clay is blinkered analysis and insulting as well.
Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, parties and factions
Yes! Bravo! Excellent Post!
Perfect. I’m sending a link to this article every time someone says “are you glad you voted for Rudd now?”. Because the answer is yes. The night of the election I was deliriously happy that Howard was gone, but at the same time was preparing not to expect much from Rudd. Whatever he is, at least he isn’t doing all of the horrid things I could imagine Howard would be up to if he was in office.
I agree with your post, but what’s with the neuro-snark?
“socially inept uptight policy wonk”
.-= Kowalski´s last blog ..Disability & Sex Blog Carnival: You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory =-.
It’s not meant as neuro-snark, Kowalski. It wouldn’t be right to jump to the conclusion that any/everybody with those personality traits is on the autistic spectrum.
I don’t want to go back to that LP thread, the people insinuating that “he said, she said” + no immediate witness = “wimminz is lying”. Or alternatively, too dumb to interpret the Great Man’s utterances, due to abundance of ladybrain hormones.
I was discouraged by it too, Helen. Very fortunately for me, LP is refusing to load at the moment, so I can’t take a look.
tt, I was thinking various Scylla and Charybdis thoughts in the shower this morning, and then I realised it was really only Scylla and, well, Odysseus maybe. The version where he takes 10 years to fight a war, and another 10 years to get home. I’m just not sure that I’m prepared to be Penelope for more than another term or so.
I’m not jumping to that conclusion, because it doesn’t matter whether he is on the autistic spectrum, those personality traits are autistic traits.
They also have nothing to do with his social conservatism.
I come across this kind of excuse all the time, people say it’s okay to mock this or that inability, or impairment when the person isn’t disabled to our knowledge. But it’s like calling someone a sissy and saying it’s not homophobic when the guy isn’t gay.
.-= Kowalski´s last blog ..Disability & Sex Blog Carnival: You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory =-.
They are not EXCLUSIVELY autistic traits.
False equivalence. “Sissy” is a misogynistic slur – it classifies certain behaviours as non-masculine and therefore inherently inferior. Whether one is actually gay or not matters little – the judgemental core is all about failing to be perceived as masculine enough while engaged in competitive machismo display.
By contrast, social skills are far more variable and fluid than gender stereotypes, with many more niches to fill than simply male or female or “not-quite-right”, and there are many possible explanations for people being socially inept and/or a policy wonk and/or uptight – autistic spectrum disorders are merely one of them. There are many high-IQ individuals who display one or all of these traits because they feel socially isolated on a purely intellectual level, and only a fraction of these individuals are actually autistic.
I don’t suspect every single person I meet who’s not the most effortlessly charming person in the room of being on the autistic spectrum. Rudd’s demonstrated skills at political manipulation and diplomatic strategies make it less likely that he is in fact on the spectrum as I understand it.
Thank you – I am so tired of the US right crowing over every Obama delay or slip as if we’re all going to suddenly vote Republican in our disappointment. It’s insulting.
As to the social skills and the use of “wonk” – I am a statistics “wonk”, and proud of it – it describes the kind of person who immerses themselves in a particular field to the exclusion of considering aspects related to the job, such as political/corporate maneuvering, and it’s not an insult any more than “nerd” is much of an insult. I prefer to avoid office politics as much as possible, with the result that I am not high on the radar, and I like it that way. But anecdote is not the plural for data, as they say.
I can’t get on board with the “poor social skills = autistic traits” analogy because poor socialization happens for a number of reasons, including upbringing, personal experiences, lack of teaching, and other things that have nothing to do with neuro-typical or -diverse traits. In my culture, direct eye contact is challenging, in the US, it’s seen as welcoming. I get a reputation for being unfriendly because of cultural differences, and I can choose to change to fit in or not, but it doesn’t have anything to do with being on the autistic spectrum, which I am not. I’ve known lots of non-standard people through my hobby, including people on the autistic spectrum, and while a difficulty with learning social skills is certainly an autistic trait, it is not at all exclusive to the neuro-diverse. A lot of poorly socialized people I meet are simply not taught how to negotiate society, because their interests are not mainstream, and they miss out on a lot of the social opportunities that more mainstreamed people get. I was similarly poorly socialized, because I did not know how to behave socially, since I was ignored in groups, or bullied. It has nothing to do with my neuro status, and everything to do with upbringing.
In Rudd’s case, a huge number of things, including education, may have contributed to his “wonk”-ness. He may have had a similar upbringing to mine, where academic success was valued over social success. It’s too broad a category to decide that everyone who is poorly socialized may be autistic, or that commentary on someone’s social skills can be construed as a slur on the neuro-diverse.
I am so tired of the US right crowing over every Obama delay or slip as if we’re all going to suddenly vote Republican in our disappointment.
I’m reminded of Shakesville here; for months after Obama’s election, anything critical that Melissa (or the other contributors) wrote about him was greeted by people thinking it was the first time she’d slipped from adoration and worship, and didn’t she now feel small.
Then why did you vote for him? Why not vote for a true left voice in the Greens? Instead of a Centre-Right ALP?
Anthony_: This post is a response to rhetoric from the right directed towards ALL “lefties”. Do try and keep up.
I did not vote ALP in the last election.
However, like most Australians I have a realistic look at how the possibilities for PM are limited to the major parties and in the last election my preferred PM (from the selection on offer) was Rudd.
Edit: plus what Lauredhel said. I too live in a safe Labor seat, and no matter what leftist party I vote for in the Lower House, the Labor candidate is going to get my preference. (Edit the second) Therefore, because of the preference distribution, I do feel some ownership of the Rudd for PM issue despite not being a Labor voter.
Anthony_: I doubt anyone here literally voted for Rudd, unless they happen to live in Griffith.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I did vote  Green in the last election, and don’t mind saying so. I consider my lower house vote still to be a “Vote for Rudd”, because the Labor candidate got my preference, just as I knew they would.
Please see my comments here
It is quite simple, Rudd looked good compared to Howard, who was worn out from so many years in office. Now in contrast, Tony Abbott looks much hotter. Rudd was always a nerd, he just managed to look relatively fresh next to Howard, a man many years older. Next to Tony Abbott, Rudd is very, very unhot, and the young of Australia have started to see it. Tony is very cute, by far the sexiest male polly we have had since Keating was at his peak. Poor Rudd, his brief moment of hotness is over, and I think he knows it. Julias cry’s of ” no more lyrca Tony” are because she has to put up with Rudd’s resulting bad moods.
BananaPrincess, your analysis relies on assuming that people vote according to the freshness of a pollie’s sex appeal rather than on the freshness of the way they present their policies (let’s take it as read that the policies themselves are very rarely genuinely fresh).
I think that’s a very wrong assumption.
The responses to me were extrememely condescending and a case of “you explained yourself clumsily therefore you’re wrong!”
I’m not very good at communicating in such an atmosphere, so my response to that is on my blog, a place where autistic people are treated with more respect:
In which I introduce a new word and defend Kevin Rudd, the man who eated his earwax.
.-= Kowalski´s last blog ..In which I introduce a new word and defend Kevin Rudd, the man who eated his earwax =-.
Kowalski, you’re not the first autistic person to tell this autistic person that I’m doing it all wrong. I appreciate your courtesy in moving the discussion to your own blog instead of continuing to derail the conversation here. I will read your post. I may or may not leave a comment.
lol BP! (I’m assuming you’re joking.)
The overlap with Obama is striking, but to be fair, there were a sizable group of people deluding themselves about how progressive Obama was going to be in office (and now a sizable group of Republicans who’ve convinced themselves that Obama is a terrorist commie anti-christ, but that’s not really here nor there).
Next to Tony Abbott, Rudd is very, very unhot, and the young of Australia have started to see it. Tony is very cute, by far the sexiest male polly we have had since Keating was at his peak.
Right. A guy (Tony) who inspires comment threads about sticking posters of him up on our daughters’ walls… as a warning. And a contraceptive device. 😀
C’mon Helen – it is quite obvious that at least some people in the media do genuinely find Abbott very sexy indeed (à chacun son goût and all that) and it’s hard to deny that for those who respond to that sort of thing, the man does possess a certain chest-thumping charm. For those of us who find the chest-thumping offputting he is repellent, but we’re not the only voters out there.
The point is that while one can’t discount looks entirely in politics (try getting elected for the first time if one is not moderately good-looking (electorates can be more forgiving once one has been around for a while)) it seems a very long bow indeed to say that sexiness per se is a major deciding factor. For all the onanising going on over his alleged awesome appeal at the Opposition Organ, Abbott’s current figures are not any better than any other new Opposition Leader in the first few months of tenure.
Abbott doesn’t have a hope in Hades of winning the next election. I wonder whether he realises that he’s the Libs’ sacrificial goat for this year’s polls’ and if he does I wonder what Hockey has promised him for chucking such a huge lot of mud around in the hope that some of it will stick all the way through to the polls in 2013.