Sunday, 16 September 2007

The wreck is going down...

"I think it's the most spectacular disintegration of a federal government on the threshold of an election we've ever seen..." said Bob Carr.

I haven't needed to blog about the Libs lately. I mean, they've been digging their own hole...


Labor's latest slogan is "New Leadership", which is probably less effectual now that Libs are attempting to promote a 'new' leader... well, kinda ...well, sorta.

So, should people have faith in Costello as leader? He hasn't acted too ballsy so far; hasn't taken that shovel and belted the PM with it any time in the past few years to nudge him out of the way. Let's see what he and his wife think of his political prowess:

Mr Costello laughed when asked about his own wife's role in matters of policy and state.

"I think her political judgment is better than mine, and she takes a dim view of mine. She's much much more sensible than I am. And much more level-headed."

Hyuk! I'm hoping to be leader of the party but I'm really that crap my own wife could do a better job! Hyuk, hyuk!

And the public! Too easy. They're not even paying attention!

"I think for most weeks of the year people are very disinterested in politics, and for a couple of days a year you grab their attention. Maybe one of those days was this week, but I have a feeling by the weekend they'll settle back into football and their kids' lives which they regard as much more important."

Hyuk! Fools! Fools, all of them!



And how committed do you think Howard sounds about actually handing over the leadership to Costello (or at all!)?

[7.30 Report] HOWARD: .... Peter is an ambitious man. One day he will lead the Liberal Party. I believe he is my logical successor. Now, that is a matter for the Party to decide, not for me, but that is my belief. Now, I can't say any more than that.

HOWARD: .... [re meetings] look, this is all trivia, frankly. It really is trivia. I don't think your viewers are very interested in it, they're interested in what I've got to offer them in the future, not anything else. Although, quite frankly I've ignored talking about what I have to offer them, I only care about saving my own arse Kerry baby; clinging onto leadership as best my wizened old, sharpened claws can. It's about me! Me, me, me, MEEE!!!

O'BRIEN: ... you've always said that you'll only stay for as long as your Party wants you, you also said in your party room today as I understand it, you added: 'and in the best interests of the Party'. I mean, you don't...

JOHN HOWARD: No, I've used that line and abused that line, but obviously I can't anymore because, quite frankly, as every man and his dog knows, no one in my party wants me as leader! I'm a loser! A lame duck! We all know they're trying to get rid of me but they're weak as piss, a bunch of children, I just speak to them firmly and they fall in line. No worries.
... but look, can I just say something about it. I've given a lot of thought to this, and my position to the next election, and this is what I'll be telling the Australian people is, is very simple. If the Australian people are good enough and kind enough to re-elect me again, there are a lot of things I want to do, *crosses fingers hoping no one actually asks him what these 'things' are or that they notice he's had 11.5 years to accomplish them* and I would want to approach those things with enormous energy.

But I would expect, well into my term, and after those "things" have been implemented and battered down, I would probably, certainly form the view well into my term just repeating that cause, well, I really mean near the end of it..., that it makes sense for me to retire not saying that I actually would retire, and in those circumstances which will never happen, I'll never complete my invisible list of 'things' you know, *heh*, I would expect, although it would be a matter for the Party to determine if Peter would take over. So look, it doesn't matter a fig what I say about it, but it suits me right now to suggest the party actually has some balls, er, power.

... I've thought this through, and what I'm saying to the Australian people is I want to be re-elected, there are a lot of things I want to do for them. But well into my term er, perhaps you missed that the first two times, I would [stay vague..] come to the conclusion [vague...] that it would be [vaaague...] in the best interests of everybody if I retired, - regardless... I'll stay on of course - and in those circumstances, I would expect Peter to take over, but that would be a matter for the Party cause there's no bloody way I'll ever back him as leader, quite frankly I cannot stand the man Now, that is the honest skirting of the truth...

HOWARD: ... I won't find it easy if I am re-elected to retire. I won't find it the least bit easy because I am very committed to this job, and I will not like leaving it. This is why I've left myself a way out by being so damn vague about it. *Heh*

The following was about a possible by-election in Bennelong; he's since said he will serve the term in full - but no one is believing him - although many would love to see him sitting in Parliament as a backbencher raising his hand and asking questions of Costello or whoever, "Er, I have a question for the P-p-pri- *sob* Prime Minster..." *blows nose loudly into hanky*

HOWARD: Well, the position in ... the position in relation to that is ... I mean, I'm very, very upfront. I mean, whether ... depending on when I ... whether there would be a by-election or not is something that I would determine then...

Verrrry convincing...



Of course, by featuring Costello so prominently in Lib's election campaign - as finally, Howard cannot ignore that the party is heading for a major defeat - Howard is sneakily avoiding full responsibility for such a loss.

... if Howard recognises that he's on the nose enough that he can't win without having Costello prop him up, how can he continue to argue that staying on is in the best interests of his party?

And there's this: if the Government loses, Howard will have effectively hog-tied Costello to the defeat. He would emerge from the other side of an election loss as damaged goods.

It's a measure of how twisted the politics of Liberal leadership have become that some government MPs were suggesting this week that that might even have been the intent of Howard's strategy.

Yep, keep pushing that TEAM spirit:

Liberal MPs begin airbrushing John Howard out of their local campaigns after the damaging leadership chaos of the past week. frontbencher told The Sunday Mail. "We're not going to want Howard anywhere near our seats during the campaign.

"And don't expect to see many pictures of him around voting booths on polling day either," they said.


Lame, lame duck(s)

"John Howard is making a mockery of the prime ministership," Bob Brown said. "Australian voters see that, and the pity of this is (that) it is a lame duck prime ministership and a lame duck government that's now presenting itself to the election."

It will be interesting to see how the Libs react to the results of the first poll since the PM's announcement. They will know of the poll results Monday night.

Do you think they may still be considering making Costello outright leader? At the moment there's most likely around 8 weeks before the election, but if they brought Costello to the fore now they could easily delay the date to January. When a week is a long time in politics, what's wrong with a few months?

This will test the balls of the party, and of Costello.

Two really very fanciful thoughts:

1. If you were a senior minister of the Coalition, wouldn't you be tempted to see this as an opportunity to throw your hat in the ring (rabbits or no rabbits)?
No one else is standing up, yet the entire cabinet wants a change of leader. Why not stand up, announce a challenge to Howard? Ain't got much to lose.
[Don't think this will happen of course, but why not eh? How interesting would things get then?!]

2. Howard may recognise that he's in a lose/lose situation and could look for a way out, one in which he could save face.
How convenient would it be for him if dear Jeanette suddenly developed a serious illness? One declaration of the line, "At this difficult time *sniff* I think it is best that I spend as much time as I can with my wife and family..." and he's outta there!
And we know Jeanette would do anything to help!

Let's hope Howard stays in though. They'll be much easier for Labor to beat that way.

UPDATE: "a Morgan poll overnight pointed to Mr Howard losing his Sydney seat of Bennelong." *grins*