Like Wow Wipeout

Its a repudiation. Its a rejection of Mr. Howard and much that he has stood for, and behold it is good.rudd_wins.jpg

The Labor victory is so emphatic that it makes a mockery of the conservative vanity that somehow they were more attuned to the pulse of the nation. Yesterday Mr. Howard turned from political sharpshooter with an uncanny sense of the electorates mood to Elmer Fudd taking an unsteady potshot at a waskally wabbit.

I had the pleasure of observing the Howard capitulation and the Rudd ascendency at a Labor Party electorate gathering here in Melbourne. The mood was, as you would expect ebullient. As Mr. Howard gave his last hurrah, and entrusted the keys to Kevin 07, there was (aside from many middle digits raised to the big screen), a grudging respect, especially in his acceptance of responsibility for defeat. But still, even in this final bow, the habitual pettiness poked through briefly as he struggled to acknowledge his replacement as Liberal Party leader, Peter Costello.

In truth I cant blame him for that because Mr. Costello has proved himself over the last eleven years to be the most loudmouthed cocksure gutless wonder ever to walk the Australian political stage. Mr. Costello will be just as loudmouth and cocksure as Opposition leader, and just as piss-weak as he ever was in government. The sooner the Liberals discard him for someone with a heart (like Malcolm Turnbull) the better for them, and the better for us all.

The mood for change has been in the electorate for years and I would argue that it has been there since before the 2004 election. Mark Lathams effort deferred the inevitable. Ever since the last election the pressure has been building. The pendulum had swung way beyond its natural limits, and the movement could only be one way. Toward restoring equilibrium.

All that is not to diminish in any way the achievement of Machine Rudd, and especially its obsessive, driven, leader. Yesterday in his victory speech Mr. Rudd gave a foretaste of what his staffers and the Labor cabinet can expect. Hes allowed them just enough time to have a cup of tea and an Iced Vo-Vo before they get to work. Its a sure thing that Mr. Rudds expectations of his staff and Ministers in the years ahead will be extraordinary. Probably brutal. I for one, am glad I will be safely out of the way in the far less demanding world of private enterprise. My only concern is that Mr. Rudd at the same time can demonstrate that he does have a heart, and that he can deliver a bit of soul along with his Key Performance Indicators.

But back to the repudiation thing that I started with. There will be many claims as to why Mr. Howard lost. The union movement will claim that it was Workchoices. The Greens will claim that it was stupid dumb stubbornness on Climate Change, Others will claim that Mr. Howards manipulations on Iraq and Asylum seekers were finally acknowledged, or the ugliness of the self-serving culture wars exposed. Personally Id like to think of it as a repudiation of the appalling political bias of our print media especially of The Australian, who caved at the last and editorialised in favour of Mr. Rudd in a transparent attempt to save their reputation for journalistic impartiality, and to ingratiate themselves with the new leader. (Props to the Herald Sun by the way for eschewing sycophancy and for being open about the c**ts that they are. And as for The Age, well The Poll Bludger said it. Ptuh). I also fancy it as a repudiation of the whole RWDB thing which these days is reduced to getting its jollies and scoring political points through supposedly amusing variations on the spelling of Global Warming.  But hey, that last bit’s just my jag.

The truth though is that it isnt any one of these things. Its all of them. To a greater or lesser extent all of these things have built up over the last eleven years to the point where the majority of Australians couldnt lake it anymore. It was indeed time. And Mr. Rudd and his team harnessed that emotion and gave the people confidence that it was a safe bet.

The Liberal years have been no triumph. The Libs have just been lucky. They were lucky that the economic times were good to them, and they were lucky that the events unfolding during their tenure suited their bigoted nature. Yesterday their luck ran out.

Two days ago Mr. Howard warned us When you change the government you change the nation. Well, let me just say – Thank God for that!

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Ken Lovell
14 years ago

Unfortunately it’s hard to see the key economic indicators doing anything but deteriorating in the near future, or flat-lining at best, thus reinforcing the myth that the Libs are the Keepers of the One True Wisdom when it comes to all things economic.

Highlight of the night was Costello boasting of how there’d been a swing to him in his electorate … and then spending a couple of minutes trying to force his mouth to utter words conceding that nationally, his party might not have … done as well … as it needed to … to form government … for a record-breaking fifth term.

But he was very consoling in a patronising kind of way to the idiots in the party who’d not been prepared to kick Howard out and install Costello last year his colleagues who had not been clever enough to match the personal swing that he had achieved.

Vee
Vee
14 years ago

The question is how long until we can say the economic indicators, whether they be good or bad, are the effect of Labor?

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

Yes, The economy may indeed turn. The always insighful George Megalogenis maps out Mr. Rudd’s strategy for insulating himself from such an event.

If Rudd becomes prime minister the last thing he will be thinking about on Saturday night is perpetuating the Howard era.

The first order of business for Rudd would be to demonise the vanquished. In the past, this was done by telling voters that the other mob concealed the true state of the budget.

This is no longer possible because the charter of budget honesty means the numbers were updated when the election was called.

Rudd would need another device to shatter the Coalition’s economic credibility. And shatter it he must, because he can’t allow the idea to take root that Howard had left the nation in good shape because that would tie Rudd to the Coalition’s agenda.

This is the part of the mutually agreed duplicity that always irks the losing side. Voters want to be reassured after the election that they did the right thing in tipping out the government. They want to see the books thrown open.

The question then is from where will Rudd draw his alternate mandate?

He can’t dishonour the Coalition’s personal tax cuts or the pensioner handouts, because that would too obvious. So he is stuck with a first term IOU of $35billion.

But Rudd can order a review of government handouts. He can also undertake a serious study of federal-state duplication. There are surely billions to be saved.

Treasury secretary Ken Henry would no doubt have a few issues of his own he would like to raise about the role fiscal policy should play at this point in the cycle.

The trick, of course, is for Rudd to feign sufficient shock. And to explain to voters that the wind-back of the handout society could only be contemplated in government, that is, once Labor had access to Treasury advice.

Peter Costello would be the real target here, not Howard, just as it was Kim Beazley, not Keating who bore the burden of the discovery after the 1996 election that the budget was in deficit.

Remember, the Coalition called it the “Beazley black hole”. The exercise is always about the new Opposition leader, not the nation’s former ruler.

In other words a stitch-up job on Peter Costello, is not only strategically necessary. It is good for the country.

wilful
wilful
14 years ago

Of course, the stitch-up on Costello gets neatly avoided by Petey, refusing to play ball like a man.

The Worst of Perth
14 years ago

Caroline “The Slapper” Overington is not helping things with The Oz either.

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

Yes wilful. It is indeed a craven and cowardly surrender. Why can’t he hang around for a few years and take his humiliation like a man?

cs
cs
14 years ago

Lazarus, karks it at last.

observa
observa
14 years ago

“Yesterday Mr. Howard turned from political sharpshooter with an uncanny sense of the electorates mood to Elmer Fudd taking an unsteady potshot at a waskally wabbit.”
Actually watching their concession and acceptance speeches reminded me of the coyote and the sheep dogs toon- ‘night Ralph..night Ralph..good morning Ralph..good morning Ralph.

Sam
Sam
14 years ago

Ralph & Ralph? Wool the other one!

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

Well if we’re getting into Warner Bro’s cartoons. I think the Liberal Party will be Planent X. And the leadership battle is between Marvin and Daffy. Marvin has claimed the planet in the name of Mars, but Daffy’s having none of that. Whilst trying to destroy each other they obliterate the planet.

The script is already written. We just need to wait to see whose playing in the roles.

Caroline
14 years ago

That gave me so much pleasure to read. Especially liked this bit. Very apt.

Mr. Howard turned from political sharpshooter with an uncanny sense of the electorates mood to Elmer Fudd taking an unsteady potshot at a waskally wabbit.

It was such a lovely day today. Especially colourful, bright, hopeful.

hip
hip
14 years ago

I hope you people realize that, in about a week from now, a million new political junkies are gonna run out of old newspapers! Rupert could drive us all crazy just by extending the honeymoon for a month. Psycho-semantic withdrawal from one’s grumble-bummery may require patented medicaments…

Niall
14 years ago

The economy will continue just as it is currently. Booming. The RBA will be forced to apply the Monetary Policy sledge-hammer one more time causing anti-Labor business interests – read Helen Ridout and Peter Hendy – to again raise the spector of Labor incompetence. I’d say that one more belt around the lug’oles with Monetary Policy should cause the economy to head for a good lie down and a Bex. Flatlining is a good analogy. I’d prefer the term, ‘plateauing’. We’ll see a cash rate of 7% for quite some time to come, with an A$ oscillating between $0.85 and $0.90. It’ll be steady as she goes for the next twelve months as investor confidence paddles ankle deep in the newly rising tide of Labor governance.

Kate Carroll
Kate Carroll
14 years ago

This was the election we had to have. Finally with volumes of scientific evidence on our side, grassroots action groups popping up left, right and centre, and the changing tide of public opinion swinging our way, the stars were aligned for a climate change election. This was an unprecedented campaign, where every party was forced to take a position on climate change. And in our two-party preferred system, Kevin Rudd with climate change policies significantly better than those of the Coalition, reaped the rewards.

While Labor got up big time, the climate change sceptics got the boot. And Howard, the most prominent sceptic of all, even lost his own seat. Its clear Aussies care about climate change, and with the issue central to the ALPs winning campaign, the nation will want and expect to see real action on the issue, and fast.

The Prime Minister-elect has committed to a renewable energy target of 20% by 2020 and has promised to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a move that will change global climate politics and leave the US isolated. But the biggest challenge is yet to come quitting coal in order to achieve the deep emissions cuts necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.

This election brings an historic opportunity to end coal-driven policy and its crucial ALP is not subject to the ‘carbon capture’ the Liberal Government suffered. Despite significantly better policies, emissions will continue to skyrocket under the ALP, unless Prime Minister Rudd starts phasing out coal-fired power stations and replacing them with renewable energy.

Ratifying Kyoto is a good first step. But the key indicator of the new
Governments success will be if emissions begin to decrease during this
term, and the only way that is possible is to rid Australia of our filthy coal addiction.

While Kevin 07 was about winning the election, Kevin 08 will have to be about winning the battle against climate change, and this means quitting coal.

Liam
Liam
14 years ago

*Heather* Ridout. And I don’t think she’s particularly anti-Labor, certainly not a Tory stooge like Hendy.

zap brannigan
zap brannigan
14 years ago

howard hating is an illness…..please seek professional help.

FDB
FDB
14 years ago

howard hating is an illness..please seek professional help.

We have Zap, from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Nabakov
Nabakov
14 years ago

“howard hating is an illness..please seek professional help.”

Check your spam. I’m sure there’s a pill for limp snark by poor losers.