He said – She said: a secret weapon for Labor

Mungo MacCallum has an article in today’s Crikey which tends to take a similar – entirely pragmatic approach to the Parliamentary snarl that occured last Thursday. I happened to see edited highlights of it on “Order in the House” which confirmed all my previous feelings on the point. Btw, I think Julia G was by far the most impressive speaker. She spoke quietly, and commanded sufficient interest from her opponents to be heard in silence.

Costello was impressive too in the demagogic kind of way that the press race calling encourages – but not if you tried to pay attention to his arguments which were weak. Anyway, the press disagrees with me, and the press is the press is the press. The perception is the reality is the perception etc etc.

Anyway, this is a rambling introduction to a paragraph by Mungo which undoubtedly contains much practical – tactical wisdom.

The smart thing to do would have been to reply, that sure Rudd had had heart surgery, and so what? So had thousands of others. At least it proved he had a heart; John Howard would never need heart surgery, for the same reason that Phillip Ruddock was unlikely to die of blood poisoning, Alexander Downer would never succumb to a brain tumour and Peter Costello was forever safe from testicular cancer. With a touch of wit and style it could have been turned onto a political plus.

I’m sure he’s right though it must be added that MacCallum’s ripostes seem addressed to the latte sippers rather than the hoi polloi. Even so the ALP should get a humour unit to tackle the ‘dirt unit’ they claim to be fighting. Keating was good at it and the more humourless R. J. Hawke managed to do in Fraser’s suggestion that people keep their savings under their bed by quipping that they commies were already there.

Even so, I still find it infuriating that my outrage at what’s happening cannot be expressed without damage to those who are seeking to defend themselves against it.

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David Jackmanson
14 years ago

Hawke was fed his riposte to Fraser by Richard Farmer, the wine merchant. Maybe they ALP should hire him.

Amanda
14 years ago

Jokes about testicular cancer = electoral suicide.

Labor just needs to avoid drawing attention to itself in its response to the dirt, the impression which needs to be left in the collective mind is that its the Fed Govt desperate enough to stoop to it. If ever a small target strategy was a good idea, its on this one.

Bring Back CL's blog
Bring Back CL's blog
14 years ago

it has been interesting to see the journos write how brilliaant Costello has been in Parliament re Burke oe this yet the polls say the opposite.

Remember it was costello’s big mouth that led to one of his chief supporters resigning

Mangoman
14 years ago

I think Mungo was definitely on the right track. Use humour, be a little self deprecating if necessary but they should make sure that they are always putting the focus on Costello’s lack of courage, Howard’s slipperiness, Downer’s foolishness etc.

The hoi polloi will respond better to this type of approach than to the ranting of Costello.

observa
observa
14 years ago

“Even so, I still find it infuriating that my outrage at whats happening cannot be expressed without damage to those who are seeking to defend themselves against it.”
Relax Nicholas. It’s just a necessary evil in politics nowadays, what with an attack dog media and all of them wanting to be budding Woodward and Bernsteins. No way any of our leaders can hide anything past or present from the public anymore and Rudd’s handling the glare of the spotlight OK. Streuth, think of all the background, rumours and innuendo about Howard, Costello and Co over the years. They all need really thick skins. Someone, somewhere always has another piece of their experiences, background and pecaddillos to divulge at any time and it’s just a matter of if and when it strikes the media’s fancy to publish. Rudd and Cos time has simply come, because of those polls. He needs to worry more about tax scales for the big debate, than about past medical operations now. As for dirt files, they only get published if they’re true and newsworthy, or used in a campaign to paint another picture over some airbrushed, publicity portraits. Gillard seems a lot more paranoid about that process for mine. Has she got some political skeletons in the closet or is it just that she loathes being photographed without her makeup on, metaphorically speaking?

observa
observa
14 years ago

She’s not real popular with women voters from my casual observation, by the way. Could be some secret women’s business there, I wouldn’t know.

Yobbo
Yobbo
14 years ago

Mungo has the advantage of having all day to sit around and think up those witty responses.

Guido
14 years ago

Any jokes about cancer are not funny. But I think that the general standard of debate in Parliament is lower than what it was from what I gather, including humor.

I read somewhere that Menzies was talking in Parliament about being able to attract the ‘working man’ to the Liberal Party (Howard was not the first). Menzies told of an occasion where he was riding in his car and a truck driver called him and told him what a great job he was doing. “He should have been charged with drunk driving!” came the retort from the Labor side.

Maybe the next ‘star recruit’ for Labor should be a comedian.