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.
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.