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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

oh my my « Previous | |Next »
February 3, 2004

Are those freedom loving conservatives who love a sunlight country going sour on John Howard?

Here's the Murdoch variety----one Andrew Bolt:

"THE fog of terror has lifted and John Howard's weakness is again exposed. The Prime Minister seems like an actor who's lost his lines. No wonder he's been urging his ministers to think up ideas for him to discuss....Labor leader Mark Latham, however, says a lot that's colourful, and quoted, even if it's as profound as graffiti. He sells optimism, and uses the word "opportunity'' as often as Howard says "terror''. I don't say Latham has the policies, smarts or appeal to win an election. But I do say Howard looks like a man who's run out of things to say."

Howard is running on empty and he lacks what it takes to be our leader. That's from Bolt. My my.

The spin doctors in Howard's office will not be pleased. Tony O'Leary is probably stunned. Isn't Bolt meant to be welded-on to the spin machine? No doubt O'Leary will dig into his bag of tricks to continue the mix of intimidation and bluster against perceived opponents, and the background briefings and extra access for the more compliant journalists. The resentful Canberra Press Gallery is offside with Howard because he bypasses them and talks to the electoral heartland via talk back radio ( John Laws & Alan Jones) and television (A Current Affair).

Rust never sleeps. Ya gotta remember that distrust and paranoia rules.

Is that just another little sign that the political landscape is changing? A landscape in which the repetition of lines of the imperial Presidency's White House war script is no longer working in Australia as it once did.

Remember that The MAN OF STEEL has admitted that there may be no WMD's in Iraq after all. Blaming the intelligence services for the bad information is not going to do much work in regaining the needed electoral momentum. What has been opened up is the Howard government's use of intelligence (ie., their deceptions and manipulations) to try to justify the Iraq invasion.

Blair can try to use the violation of "journalist standards" by the BBC to blur or conceal the national security state's own deceits. Not so Howard. With its head in the fog of fear and feet in the swamp of deceit, the spin machine of the Australian national security state cannot get very far with relentlessly pounding the line that its lapses in judgment can be pinned on the ABC's alleged lapses in journalistic standards. No doubt, Alexander Downer wil continue to bluff and bluster and look more of the clown

The issue is becoming clear. As Peter Osborne writing in The Spectator says that:

" There are three possible explanations for this tragic dereliction. The first is that the WMD did exist, but have not yet been found. Most intelligent judges now rule out that possibility. The second is that they never existed at all and that the intelligence services made an enormous blunder. The third is that intelligence services on both sides of the Atlantic yielded to political pressure. The most likely answer is that a combination of the last two were at work."

That means the invasion of Iraq took place for no reason and the Australian people were misled.

So what is John Howard going to do to regain traction?

Try working the fear & law and order couplet in WA. Selling the image of being strong on national security and tough on drugs--the old Man of Steel.

How about a good old fashioned spending spree that buys the swinging voters in marginal electorates: big money to shore up Howard's position?

Underneath that the conservative mesage is plain: national security, a strong economy and social stability. Oh and strong and united families. No reason to take risks or fret about the holes in the welfare state.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:41 PM | | Comments (0)