News today that Prime Minister John Howard is on the nose in New South Wales must surely be a big blow to the morale of the Committee to re-elect the PM, that has been trying desperately to claw its way back into the game at this point of the election cycle.
Machine Rudds steady advance to the finish line, sits in stark contrast to the skittish behaviour of the Howard front bench, who despite the habit of haughtiness and pomposity by which they deliver their pronouncements on Rudd appear unable to hide what looks very much like a total unravelling.
Ironically, its the Howard governments supposed strengths that are proving to be its Achilles heel. On national security the conservative preference to kick arse first and ask questions later has bought us the Iraq fiasco and its massive ramifications on security and oil prices. This wasnt just a miscalculation. This was lunacy through ideology, and Mr. Howards statements are just coming across as finesse which quite rightly is being interpreted on the street as arse covering.
On the economy Mr. Howard and Captain Costello keep telling the people theyve never had it so good, and whilst the numbers they produce continue to surprise and delight the columnists of The Australian, the vast swathes of suburbia seem not to be so impressed by, for example, the June quarter seasonally adjusted CPI results. They just know that fruit and veg has gone up, petrol is going crazy, child care and education is outrageous and as for getting a house well forget it. Mr. Costellos quoting of obscure economic statistics to demonstrate the economys rude good health seem like just so much bullshit, and the easy blame the States excuse is failing to cut it any more.
Theres a mood out there in the community a mood that has the definite feel of being locked in. The Rudd machine is disciplined, controlled and not given to overreach. Its not a small target strategy they seem to be adopting, they cant, because the country is asking for ideas at this time. The ideas they are presenting though seem to be tight. To have a moral weight, and a focus on the future that has completely evaporated from the desultory Howard offering.
The Indigenous Intervention, you would think delivers all the moral brand power that Mr. Howard needs at this time, but the reality is it has delivered nothing at all in terms of political benefit. Some say its because the punters have come to see it as just another Howard election winning ploy. Perhaps thats true, or perhaps the Howard battlers dont really give a stuff about the Abos, and wonder why hes wasting all that money trying to buy off the doctors wives. Whose to say? Whatever the reason it hasnt worked. Big moral initiatives like this are just not the natural ground of conservatives (unless it involves lots of punishment), and so the whole action just somehow doesnt sit right with the Im alright Jack shtick weve been getting for the last decade.
Some pundits may get the collywobbles from time to time and although you may be able to produce evidence that your humble correspondent has also suffered from this I completely deny it. Let it be known, that like the best of the News Corporation opinion makers. I completely reserve my rights to carry on commentating with credibility whilst blithely ignoring all idiotic and completely unjustifiable positions I have held in the past.
Having thus expunged the historical record, I am now in a position to say that I think Rudd is going to win, and Ive been saying it all along.