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

Cossie, why? « Previous | |Next »
July 23, 2008

World Youth Day is possibly one of the greatest misnomers of our times. It didn't cater to world youth, but to a small minority. It wasn't a day, but more than a week, and felt like a decade. It's all over now though, so Sydney can get back to its gridlock, crap public transport and other Iemma-induced brokenness and the rest of us can settle back into the daily news routine to which we'd grown accustomed, supplemented by the Rudd Government's fluffy new ad campaign. It shouldn't take long to settle back in, since nothing much has changed.

Given a whole week to tinker with, the Opposition could conceivably have come up with something new and tantalising to astound the public and confound the ALP, but it wasn't to be. Instead, Costello's media fan base appear to have spent World Youth Decade spit polishing their adjective collections and gathering whatever scant evidence available to justify the launch of a Pete remix. It's essentially the same story - anyone but Turnbull.

In the middle of dissecting poor Malcolm Colless, Andrew Elder suggests that Cossie's magnificent handling of the economy isn't the glowing set of credentials it's cracked up to be.


But Rudd's decision to throw down the gauntlet of economic management in fact provides former treasurer Peter Costello with the opportunity to re-enter the political debate instead of twiddling his thumbs on the backbench while he polishes off his memoirs.

Because writing is hardly work at all, is it Malcolm? You'd know. It might provide the opportunity, but will Costello take it? It's silly to raise a question and then dodge it. If you were a press gallery journalist, a Canberra observer, you'd have those answers.

There would be no shortage of forums for Costello to deliver a major speech responding to Rudd's challenge on economic management. This would send a signal to the electorate and the party that he was back in the game.

There are no such shortages and nor have there been for the past nine months, Malcolm. Anyway, what game are we playing at here? Costello has remained silent while Labor has blamed the Coalition for putting the country in an economic mess. Costello said and did nothing on carbon abatement. Labor have Costello's measure.

Costello has stopped being a politician and when it's Mr Elder saying that's because Labor have his measure, it's worth believing.

On the branding side of things, Possum notes that Cossie fans can dredge up all the Paleolithic Age stats they want, but none of it will alter the primary public perception of Pete as smug, snide, a weasel or a creep. Those perceptions are partly the result of the media's fascination with Costello's theatrical performances, back when he was a member of the Abbott and Costello forward pack under Howard and his main responsibility was being nasty on telly.

But when Joe Public sees 5 and 10 second grabs year after year of Costello’s politicking in QT, far from seeing Parliament as theater or the making of copy for newspaper columns – they see a smug, aggressive boofhead throwing the type of shit that would get his lights punched out in any self-respecting watering hole around the country.

It's just too hard to imagine said boofhead sitting in the gutter at 3am with homeless kids, or helping working families wrestle the wheelchair into the back of the Tarago. Sneering and smirking at our failure to produce excess children, yes, giving a hoot what happens to us otherwise, no. The only time I can recall Costello coming across as remotely human was when he said his Mum told him to always tell the truth, which isn't exactly a leaderly thing to say. Especially considering he slunk off into Howard's shadow shortly after.

There are very few reasons to think Costello would make a terribly good leader, let alone an appealing Prime Minister who's not Kevin Rudd. But considering the alternatives, the question Liberal supporters are asking themselves must be, why not?

| Posted by Lyn at 2:27 PM | | Comments (7)


Sometimes political parties seem to go through these periods where they make predictably hideous errors that are obvious to everyone except them and their core faithful. Think Labor in the 1950s and 60s. Let's hope Howard's motley survivors are entering such a period now and it's a good long one.

The Coalition is deeply split between the hardline Right and the more moderate strand and it is becoming ever more public around has emissions trading. So Boofhead is the healer.

They're hideous errors, yes, but you'd think with their enormous research and PR machines they'd make less of them now. They should be less predictable, surely? Given the options available that's not a bad thing, but it is a stupid thing.

If they see him as a healer they need their heads read. Nobody is more Howard baggage than Costello.

I have to admit that I don't really understand what Malcolm Colless goes on about. His columns seem to much ado about nothing.

that's why I'd rather read Elder. Why waste your time trying to work out what these writers are on about when you've got the option of someone far more articulate and entertaining doing it for you?

Costello was lucky to be a treasurer during a long economic expansion. He was unable to restrain Howard's big spending habits and so allowed inflationary pressures to build up. He deserves the attacks by the ALP that point the finger at the Liberals re inflation as well as tarnish Costello.

I gather that's what Elder meant by Labor have Costello's measure. He claimed to be treasuring all that time but now it looks very much as though he just sat back and watched the easy cash come and go.

Howard was also lucky to be Prime Minister for the duration. All the Liberals had to do was be there to take the credit.