Well, the 7.30 Report was highly amusing tonight. From the way Kerry was chuckling by the end of it I think he got more of a laugh out of his interview with PM John Winston Howard than I usually do! (I love 7.30's political interviews and often view them as pure comedy, all the dodging and weaving, it's like a cerebral game of tag!)
KERRY: Peter Costello thinks your record as Treasurer was poor ... and [your] pattern of spending your way out of trouble as Prime Minister.
Can you understand why he would have done this knowing it would be published ... in the shadow of an election?
HOWARD: Kerry, [f*ck that] I'm not going to comment on those matters. They are matters for others to comment on.
Rambles on about his stewardship, I'm great, blah blah, Libs = me, great; Labour = unions, baaad, and repeats 'stewardship' enough times to have me picturing him in shiny white suit and cap as Captain Stubing.
KERRY: ...what does it say about Mr Costello's political judgment that he would allow his personal feelings about you to potentially jeopardise your chances of winning the next election?
HOWARD: Kerry, I think others are to speak of their personal feelings.
KERRY: You mean him?
HOWARD: Well, others. ... blah blah blah, economy, blah surplus after surplus after surplus... blah blah, I'm so great, etc... Hey! *points* Look over there! What's that?!!!
KERRY: On your day to day political skills, [the book says] Mr Costello... "chose to remain silent on the question of Howard's ability to govern for the future as well as for the present."
HOWARD: Kerry, I'm not going to comment on that. I mean, that's the author's observation
KERRY: Well then how about this, there's another point...
HOWARD: I wasn't there. Kerry, we're not going to play that game. I prefer tag.
Dodge weave, dodge weave...
KERRY: Except that you were very cooperative on the book ...
HOWARD: I was prepared to talk to the two authors. .... I was prepared to talk and I'm not sorry that I did, 'cause we do live in an open society and if people want to write books, good luck to them.
But equally if the subject of that book chooses not to make a comment on the author's comment, then good luck to him [me].
This really is a bit [of a pain], I'd rather deal in [dodging questions] the substance of what concerns people for the future. [trying to convince people to vote for me and ignore my sorrowful and bitter Treasurer]
KERRY: I would suggest to you that the true and honest nature of the relationship between you and the other most important person in your Government would be a point of intense interest for people concerned about the future of the country?
HOWARD: I agree with that and if you want, in the words of Christopher Wren, I'm making no sense at all now, er, did I mention the economy? if you want some evidence of that look around you... [waves arms, wiggles his eyebrows, does a little tap dance...]
KERRY: You see, [I will spell it o-u-t f-o-r y-o-u...] some of the quotes I'm putting to you are Mr Costello's personal judgments about you and your record and ... they're not flattering.
HOWARD: *clickety-clack... soft-shoe shuffle... tips hat* Ta daaa!
HOWARD: Kerry, I didn't
HOWARD: Well, Kerry I didn't
HOWARD: ...But hello ... *waves*
HOWARD: I don't choose to comment on that. [Hey, look! Behind you! Behiiind yooou!!!]
HOWARD: Kerry, as I say, they are not matters on which I am either competent or willing to comment.
KERRY: [...]"You can trust me on interest rates," you said. Now Mr Costello has put on the public record in the shadow of this election that you had a poor record on interest rates and inflation. How helpful is that?
HOWARD: But Kerry, the relevant thing is the attitude of the public. When I spoke...
KERRY: You don't think your Treasurer's attitude is relevant?
HOWARD: Well, I am a servant of the public and so is he, we all are and we are accountable to the Australian public [...]
Oh good grief! He is SO BAAAD at pretending to be humble... I don't know why he bothers. Stewardship, servant... next he'll be turning up at my door in his Captain Stubing/butler uniform to offer me tea and to give my shoes a spit and polish! (No worries Guv'nor.)
HOWARD: Of course people have a right ... to say to the Government, "It's our money, will you please return it to us by good expenditures or by tax cuts, don't horde it for no purpose." Of course, it doesn't mean I'll listen to them! *heh heh*
*wiggles hirsute brows in a cheeky manner*
Yes, we really believe this polite, I'm-only-here-to-serve attitude when he has never ONCE invited his closest work colleague over for dinner... "Perhaps it's a Sydney thing," Mr Costello muses as he sniffles into his hanky.
Kerry concludes the interview: "Mr Howard, at the end of all that I'd still love to be able to read your mind on what you're really thinking". *chuckles*
ie. Mr Howard, at the end of all that BS, I still don't believe a word - but jeez, it gave me a damn good laugh you cheeky sod you. *wipes tears out of his eyes*
You know, after hearing Costello's comments today - and recalling how Howard fucked him over this time last year* - I think I felt just a small shiver of pity.
Well, mayhap it was merely a shudder of revulsion...
But (and am I the only one who sees this?) I think he has more charm than Howard... (Actually, that's not really saying much is it?)
I reckon if Costello milked this for all it was worth he might, although it's very late in the game, have a (slim) chance at taking leadership.
What do you think?
(And, of course, all this is just making things even easier for Labour. They just have to sit back and watch; let Libs dig their own hole.)
* JANETTE HOWARD: You talk about a whole lot of things when you're trying to convince people to do things, but you don't go back and honour every single one of those unless you have made a firm commitment about it and John wasn't making firm commitments.
In conclusion; I think I can imagine tomorrow's cartoons:
JOHN HOWARD: Well, Kerry I remain of the view that if I went under a bus overwhelmingly the most competent person to take my position would be Peter.
We might REALLY see some dodging and weaving then...
(Can't you just picture Howard jogging across the road in his green tracky-dacks? And... looming in the distance... with a crazed-Costello... white-knuckled and crouching over the wheel...)