Well, Troppo readers like Homer Paxton might think I’m full of bovine excreta, but at least Kim Beazley’s former chief-of-staff Michael Costello is on the same wavelength as this armadillo. Costello should certainly know all about “small target” strategies if anyone does, having presided over a failed one not so long ago. Great minds, as the cliche goes, think alike. The trouble is, a great mind and a small one can often reach similar conclusions by mere coincidence. Nevertheless, it’s reassuring for a blogger who keeps getting assailed by commenters who tiresomely label you “M’Lud” and apparently think it’s funny. Costello makes exactly the same point I mentioned yesterday about Mark Latham’s “ban fast food ads on kiddies’ shows” initiative. It’s a classic example of a Dick Morris tactic, where:
[T]he goal is to constantly put forward new, powerful symbolic ideas not necessarily of high cost or policy complexity, but which touch core voters’ concerns. …
Thus we had Latham’s signature symbol of reading to children. Then we had things like banning plastic bags. And for the last two days, talkback has been dominated not by debate over the energy statement but by Latham’s proposal to ban advertising fast food during children’s programs as a way of dealing with the serious problem of child obesity.
Costello also emphasises another point I made the other day: John Howard’s ‘environment’ initiative has rather more to do with an electoral pitch to rural and regional marginal seats than with the environment itself (although most of it, except the diesel fuel excise reductions, is environmentally sound as far as it goes).