Why oh why?

Brad Delong runs various families of posts beginning with the heading ‘why oh why’.  As in

Why oh why

– are we ruled by these idiots?

– are we ruled by these liars?

– can’t we have a better press corps?

and so on.

Why oh why do inane conventional wisdoms circulate in the media with such force. One such – rightly attacked by Paul Keating – was the idea that labour couldn’t win in one election – it would take two.  This seems to have gone the way of the dodo even though the ALP went backwards at the last election.  It was just a bit of nonsense doing the rounds.

Here’s Christian Kerr in today’s Crikey.

Who will be PM in 2010? If Rudd wins, its most unlikely hell be challenged in his first term. If Howard stays and wins, he might stay healthy and retain the will to continue so long as his party wants him to, but his position will be untenable even as Howard the Invincible.

Well I don’t expect Howard to be PM in 2010 either.  But that’s a completely different thing from saying that in 2010 his position as “Howard the Invicible” will be ‘untenable’.  Why (oh why) would that be?  He would have won five elections.

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4 Responses to Why oh why?

  1. Robert says:

    Not sure what you’re unhappy about here, Nicholas. Is it about being tired of the ‘Howard is invincible’ concept trotted out, or that it’s continually trotted out, or that it’s possible and thereby valid Howard could be seen as invincible having won five elections?

    Christian Kerr made some very interesting observations of Rudd at Crikey, and I agree with his suggestions that Costello and the Lib’s have to decide during the break what to do about their leadership.

    At any rate, my guess is that behind Kerr’s statement is a feeling the larger portion of the electorate has grown tired of Howard.

    I know you’re not given to puntidocracy, sensibly, but care to have a gaze into the yonder, Nicholas?

  2. Robert,

    You say that “behind Kerrs statement is a feeling the larger portion of the electorate has grown tired of Howard.” Well that is probably true (though it’s far from clear – it happens to be the sound bite du jour. But even if it is true how in God’s name does that make his position ‘untenable’. For his position to be untenable and self evidently so one would have to show that no-one was elected when ‘the larger portion of the population has grown tired of them’. Churchill, Adenaur, Thomas Playford. I mean really it’s ridiculous.

    As I tried to say said in my comment I have nothing (in particular that is) against Kerr’s general feelings on the matter – though they’re not much more worth listening to than anyone else’s. There is a complete disconnect between what is largely a speculation, which even if true would become just one factor in a situation with many things going on, and the air of incontrovertability that he invests his statement with. A disconnect between the body language with which he wants to invest his utterance – one of inconvertibility – and the nature of the speculation he’s offering which is anything but incontrovertable.

    If you want punditocracy from me on the subject you raise, I’d say that a bold switch to someone like Turnbull might do the trick for the Liberals – that the electorate are showing voting intentions against Howard rather than for Rudd, but that people don’t like Costello and switching to him wouldn’t be a good move for the Libs. But who knows? The thing is you can’t get that much from what people say – because many of them don’t know themselves till they step into that ballot box!

  3. Robert says:

    Nicholas, I’m with you on the uncertainties.

    When things are uncertain, who can say what will hold, and what won’t, electorally?

    I want very much to understand these words:

    There is a complete disconnect between what is largely a speculation, which even if true would become just one factor in a situation with many things going on, and the air of incontrovertability that he invests his statement with. A disconnect between the body language with which he wants to invest his utterance – one of inconvertibility – and the nature of the speculation hes offering which is anything but incontrovertable.

    I’ve tried several times to receive what seems a push, and context, and come up with in response to that questions and ideas. This is in respect of many of your other writings.

    Can I share a thought, meanwhile? What power of conviction? Or, even, seemingly so? Sit around (personally) a table, and spoken words become absolved into another language – one I imagine might be missing from the blogosphere – wherewith words of seeming conviction may become portals into something else and may speak of askance, or fear.

    Let me take some time, to receive your thoughts again.

  4. Ken Lovell says:

    My thoughts exactly Nicholas. If Howard wins the next election he’ll be the greatest politician in the history of the English-speaking peoples, still younger than John McCain who hasn’t even started his run for high office yet, still younger than St Ronnie Reagan who single-handedly won the Cold War and saved us from Communist annihilation, and the only way he’ll leave Kirribilli House is feet first.

    Christian Kerr is just another oracle wannabe pretending he can read the future by joining other pundits in the latest ‘insights’ to reinforce the perception that they are, like, in the know, you know. Two more gems from yesterday’s piece:

    “This could finally spell the end of the honeymoon …”

    What, another end? But wait, not only is it the end of the honeymoon:

    “This might be the beginning of the end for the Labor leader.”

    Yep … all because he accidentally left behind some notes at a function.

    File under ‘Meaningless drivel’. My word that folder’s getting big!

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