Irony Shock: Howard hangs hopes on a compassionate nation

Last night on the 7:30 report Mr. Howard gave us the truth. We know this because he said so several times. He levelled with the Australian people last night. Its a new tactic to seize the initiative. The Honest John tactic. The question is will it work?

In a way its refreshing. Mr. Howard has discarded the old glib line Ill stay as long as the party wants me. Hes turning away from glibness.

I am not going to embrace the glib option. That was the approach taken by others, it’s not the approach that I am going to take…

And now were getting something else

I would expect well into my term, .. I would probably, certainly form the view well into my term, that it makes sense for me to retire, and in those circumstances, I would expect, although it would be a matter for the Party to determine if Peter would take over.

Gibberish.

Its an untried tactic, but it may possibly work. Especially when coupled with the whole new team oriented approach.

They’ll be voting for a team, and I think that’s good. I think actually this election if it’s a contest between teams as well as a contest between Howard and Rudd is a good thing. So they’ll be voting for Howard, Costello, Downer, Turnbull, Brough.

Same Team but different somehow. Lookout for this as the new theme.

Most of all though Mr. Howards performance last night was an appeal to the Australian People.

There’s a lot of things I want to do for the Australian people and that’s why I would hope that they might be kind enough to re-elect me because I want to serve them.

Thats nice. Mr. Howards offering to serve us again, but there’s no mention as to whether he’ll be holding out his hand for tips.

Phil over at LP believes that last nights 7.30 report was a signal from Howard that hes never leaving and hes going out in a box, ballot or pine, but I think not. I think Mr. Howard has been rattled, and so now its about preserving his imagined legacy as the greatest Liberal Prime Minister. To pull the rabbit out of the hat one last time and then glide into the history books. Lionised. Undefeated. And with the conservative project safely handed over to the next generation accompanied by the triumphant fanfares of the right wing opinionatii.

Surely Mr. Howard is trying to salvage a fantasy ending from the jaws of defeat. For Mr. Howard this election is not about the future. This is about securing his place in the history books. For him its a choice between receiving a Robert Menzies type crown or a Stanley Melbourne Bruce kick in the bum.

Will we give him his wish? Or will we reinforce the still-forming stereotype being trialled by the right wing columnists? That of an ungrateful nation.

In the run up to the election Mr. Howard will be frantically telling us hes got a vision for the future, but all the evidence suggests that this election is now about securing the past. His past.

This entry was posted in Politics - national. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Caroline
14 years ago

“I am the second longest serving Prime Minister in Australia”.

Did he really say that? And if so is that relevant to him being voted in again? Methinks the man’s delusional. But most surely he would ‘reject’ that.

Hmmm more politicking. I’ve had people telling me they quite like Rudd but they don’t trust Gillard. Summit to do with beady little eyes. Or possibly more likely because she’s a WOMAN and she’d be Deputy Prime Minister. Quelle horreur!

David Rubie
David Rubie
14 years ago

I’m not sure I buy the legacy thing. He’ll know, surely, that every Prime Minister is (somewhat) lionised by their parties after a few years.

I think there is a simpler explanation: he doesn’t know how to do anything else and doesn’t want to know. He can’t see a future past being the PM. This is a project he spent his entire life on. Perhaps he only sees things like Malcolm Fraser losing his trousers, Hawke losing his composure, Keating (temporarily) losing his marbles and respect (although that is slowly being rehabilitated). He may well think he’s too old to see the reputation polished up and restored.

I reckon, if that assessment is right, he has nothing to worry about. For certain, for conservatives, he’s the best thing that ever happened since Thatcher isn’t he? Even if he lost, it won’t take many “Australian” editorials from Paul Kelly to shift the blame to gutless, scheming deputies and some untold, behind the scenes story that Howard didn’t want WorkChoices to be so harsh (or some other self-serving revisionist fiction).

He’s got nothing to worry about and should just let it go.

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
14 years ago

Rex you are a very cynical.

The Prime Minister has said very clearly that he will probably certainly form a view well into his next term. He is being honest with us and I don’t know why you can’t see it. I think you are being very mean. I am probably certain that you are being mean.

Dr Troppo would sort you out. But he’s probably certainly no longer with us – or I suspect that he will form the view that he is no longer with us very shortly. He may already have formed that view. And I for one would not blame him.

My goodness me no.

Roger Migently
14 years ago

I am totally partially convinced, or may be at some point, or not, well into this comment – although it is hypothetical and I will not comment on that – that Howard certainly probably does not know how to tell the truth and probably certainly has forgotten how to pretend to tell the truth if he ever did know and absolutely, relatively-speaking, is having a lend of the other leg.

Contrary to what David says, the Liberals have never been kind to their own (except Ming, and he went of his own accord). Howard is going to go down in the worst avalanche in Australian political history and he is going to be blamed and his precious reputation and “legacy” torn to shreds by apparatchiks from the top to bottom of the party in order to attempt to claw some semblance of credibility back within the next decade. Although they are all, every one of them, to blame for letting him, for aiding and abetting him, to get away with so much appalling, hateful policy.

On the other hand, David is right. The man cannot be understood in any context other than the personal obsession and the desperate need to be PM. His politics, his determination and his bastardry were forged in the Peacock Wars. All of his politics are local and personal. Even his global positioning is entirely about the domestic outfall. APEC, for him, had nothing to do with global warming or trade or anything else. It was supposed to be his great re-election masterstroke. It was supposed to make him look big. And statesmanlike. It is why he couldn’t let Costello take it from him (although Rudd took it from him, as easily as stealing a mandarin from a fruit stall). It is why he was willing to sacrifice, if necessary, any or all of the conventions of civil society for the sake of his PM Ego – because that is his entire world. He has been the most disastrously, viciously and destructively selfish and self-centred Prime Minister the country has ever seen.

But don’t get me started.

Zander
Zander
14 years ago

I’m astounded that some people indicate less than inordinate faith in John Dubbya’s great effort to convince us all that his nickname of ‘Honest John’is anything but the truth. I’m probably reasonably certain of this, or I probably certainly would not express this.

observa
observa
14 years ago

The party simply missed the boat on a smooth succession a year ago (not that they could know that then but do now) and there’s nothing to do now but grin and bear it and minimise casualties. It’s been agreed Howard is to take the fall and the blame and he most of all would understand the debt. Allows Costello to wipe the slate clean and rebuild as the fresh face in opposition. Until the fat lady sings, Howard will give the party every last drop of blood on the hustings. There’ll be no tears from him I’ll warrant.

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

If one thinks back to the time, say, of Crean, and how the personage in the photos above was hailed all over the place as invincible – funny the two things weren’t aligned in reportage while that happened – the bloke in that 7.30 Report begging to be re-elected because he can’t bear to leave politics seems like from a different planet.

Check out Ms Grattan’s regard.

Maybe a quote or two from the barely movable long time reporter:

the man George Bush once dubbed the man of steel has been hit by a crowbar.

The “team” [concept as strategy] doesn’t give a struggling leader strength

the “team” pitch looks forced when it is so well known that the top players hate each other

What are we witnessing just now? This is the phase when, as reality hits home among the LNP MP’s, sentiment is the thing – a flourish here, a nod there.. thankfulness, loyalty, appreciation, love and care.. all those things MP’s are in duty to feel as brought upon by Howard’s provision and appeasement of their personal needs are washing through the party now. It has to be dealt with as part of the passing, and slowly it dwindles. To die.

Political reality, that uncompromising lifeblood our MP’s are, at core, solely suckered to, is now slowly replacing sentiment for their great leader.

Soon, they’ll take to him like rabid animals.

Caroline
14 years ago

” Theres a lot of things I want to do for the Australian people and thats why I would hope that they might be kind enough to re-elect me because I want to serve them.”

Kind? Kind? The man now wants us to be kind (FFS.) I think he’s done quite enough for us already and it is we who would like to return the serve.

The sad, old, (shorty), has-been,’act’ worked well enough to solicit sympathy and fear from his erstwhile timorous cabinet colleagues but I don’t think its going to go down well in the hard-boiled society economy he’s helped to create. Nevertheless when you’re desperate . . . I imagine Malcolm might be thinking it less onerous to nobly lose his seat then hang around with this pack of wolves.

Fred? Are you there? Can you answer my question. I would like to know if he actually said that.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
14 years ago

4: Judging by that post, Roger, I’d like to get you started.

I guess the good news is that nobody’s listening any more, as happened to Crean and Beazley. Though in some ways it’d be good if they were listening, after that pathetic effort on the 730 Report.

Let’s hope the Labor ‘brains trust’ now has enough sense to drop that pathetic, “A vote for Howard is a vote for Costello” line. Probably better to go for Workchoices and the vision thing. If they have to go negative at all, it should be, “A vote for Howard is a vote for Howard”.

Because if by some miracle he did win, he’d find some way of weaselling out of the succession half-promise. After all, 5 wins would make him more or less invincible, and he could resume focus on Menzies’ record.

Thank goodness it won’t happen … at least I hope.

Nicholas Gruen
Admin
Nicholas Gruen(@nicholas-gruen)
14 years ago

These op ed artists are clever sometimes are they not.

A nice example at the head of the article by Michelle au Gratin.

svoped_wideweb__4703300.jpg

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

Yes, very apt.

derrida derider
derrida derider
14 years ago

While I bow to no-one in my distate for Howard I actually agree with observa that he’s doing the right thing by his party by agreeing to be the sacrificial lamb. Mind you, I think Costello’s job won’t so much be wiping the slate clean as wiping the blood off the floor from the intraparty strife.

Whether Jeanette sees it all that way, of course, is another matter – I bet she’s dreading having him at home. An old coot yelling at the TV and boring everyone with “when I was PM ….”.

Caroline
14 years ago

Sorry Rex. I should have addressed my question to you. I got my Fred’s and my Rex’s mixed up.

observa
observa
14 years ago

Yes it could get ugly in terms of numbers left in the parliament derrida. However, a landslide against them would probably create a circling of wagons, rather than too much bloodletting. There just wouldn’t be the numbers to allow too much introspection and squabbling for long. The bloodletting might be more savage if they manage to claw back that 2pp vote and not lose too badly. We’ll see.

Their focus on contrasting the teams is probably the only logical fallback given Rudd’s popularity now. It remains to be seen if they can make any serious inroads on that account. Labor could be a bit vulnerable there. Howard vs Rudd in the Debate could yet prove interesting. Rudd wouldn’t want to waffle or stumble badly, as Howard is no pushover. It just might give some important voters second thoughts.

David Rubie
David Rubie
14 years ago

derrida derider wrote:

Whether Jeanette sees it all that way, of course, is another matter

Her lifelong project is finished too. One can only hope they fostered some interests outside of politics (although her invisibility in the last 10 years doesn’t bode well for a useful contribution to charity work, or even an ability to flog aspirin).

They will both need to be sent out of the country. My preferred destination for them is Nauru, but some minor appointment to the UK would suffice if Rudd is feeling magnanimous.

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

My preferred destination for them is Nauru

That’s nicely made to sound as though it’s a holiday lifestyle choice. Would they go by boat? Take their kids? Fun for all the working family, with free education about it all thrown in by its inhabitant.

If there’s no change over, how is it? The control and image freak tied hand in hand to Costello. Costello can’t take advantage of what would have been a massive make-over, indeed, the Libs can only inch him so far into that before the image works against the PM – unreal. Howard can’t present himself as the grand leader, statesman, man of vision, future, anything like that, though he’ll try, and the more he tries the more he’ll come across as an actor. Worse, he’ll not feel any of those things – he can’t, he’s sold them off – and not feeling powerful and trying to look it will make for a very convoluted face. This is no laughing matter, or to be enjoyed at all, it’s going to be horrible.