ObNerd: I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
Except it’s not the one that the MSM pundits want me to have, which is an ever-increasing negative regard for the Rudd government. Go back through the archives here to see that I’ve never been Mr Centre Right’s biggest fan, but apart from Conroy’s dogged attachment to the mandatory internet filter I’ve not been especially shocked or disappointed by the Rudd govt either – they’ve been almost exactly what I expected them to be.
The ETS was gutless and deserved to be gutted, but I was unsurprised both by its failure to pass parliament and by the decision to drop further action on CPRS until after the next election. The roof insulation scheme was a net economic and energy efficiency benefit for the country and the people responsible for the deaths are dodgy employers, not Peter Garrett or Kevin Rudd. The BER was a net economic and infrastructure benefit to the country, and a few dodgy builders with budget overruns don’t spoil that, either. The mining tax is highly unlikely to stop a single mine proposal from going ahead, so that doesn’t bother me. The current failure of the Rudd govt to spell out its message that they’ve been good economic managers and remain a safe pair of hands on the economic and social levers does concern me, but not so much that I’m panicking. But why is everything so quiet on the Abbott front at the moment?
Why has everything suddenly turned into a howl of disenchantment with Rudd so far as the media is concerned? The media narrative of the moment is all noise and fury about the drop of Rudd in the polls, so who’s paying any attention to Abbott? Other than spinning the efforts of GetUp! to ensure a winning bid at a charity auction for time with Abbott (so that they could set him up to meet a refugee) as somehow indicating electoral approval of him (because that bid was more expensive than the successful bids for time with Rudd, Swan or Gillard) of course.
I did think the soundbite stonewall from Labor MPs after the first poll (where the Libs inched ahead of Labor on a 2PP basis for the first time in years) was a brilliant bit of media management – “yes, on the basis of these figures, if the election was held today Tony Abbott would be the next Prime Minister of Australia”. Tedious as it was to hear it over and over again that day, it worked. Since Rudd is still comfortably ahead on preferred Prime Minister, this was logical and a very effective way of starving the media monster of the story it wanted about a govt in panic and instead showing it a govt displaying merely mild contempt for the media’s darling.
Still, they’ve kept on beating it up over the last week, and the intense nature of the media storm about Rudd’s shortcomings plays perfectly into today’s story from Abbott: Government is in total disarray: Abbott. According to Phoney, Not only does Rudd personally have bad judgement and poor processes, the Rudd govt’s policies are “crackers”, apparently.
The MSM’s problem as I see it is that no matter how long they keep quiet about Abbott in order to focus attention on their confected this-is-the-end-of-Rudd storyline, eventually he will open his mouth. And put his foot in it.