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Sunday, September 09, 2007


It’s civil war in right-wing punditland! Andrew Bolt and Janet Albrechtsen believe John Howard - currently being mauled in opinion polls - should cede the Prime Ministership to Peter Costello ahead of the next election; Piers Akerman and Christopher Pearson think Howard should stay.

Put me in the Howard camp ... not just because I believe he can win, but because the argument that installing Costello would reduce post-election chaos among the Liberals presumes too much will remain static between now and whenever the election is held. It’s also defeatist and excessively tactical; you fight the battle in front of you, not the battle beyond. Besides, the debate is largely irrelevant. John Howard isn’t inclined to quit, and that extends to matters beyond domestic politics:

“Our commitment to Iraq remains, and Australian forces will remain at their present levels in Iraq, not based on any calendar but based on conditions on the ground,” Howard told Bush. That rock-hard statement underlines the fact that he’s the last man standing.

As Howard renews his commitment to winning, allies within the original coalition of the willing have fallen away over the years.

Some, like Spain, have reneged out of fear of al-Qaida. Others, like France under Jacques Chirac, sought to undercut us even before the war started. Others, like Honduras and the Dominican Republic, only stayed for the length of their commitment and no more. Still others, like Italy and England, tired of the effort and elected new leaders far less committed to finishing the fight.

Not so John Howard. He has held fast through all the military setbacks and is now taking a hit in the polls as Australia’s election season beckons next spring. But he’s not for turning.

That quality may prove useful during a campaign against bendy Kevin.

UPDATE. A Howard lifeline from Margo Kingston:

On August 3, Penguin’s publisher Bob Sessions rang me with a shock request - could I update Not Happy, John! in three weeks? Huh? I said I could if my old Webdiary friend and collaborator Jack Robertson  agreed to come on board. He did, and the book goes to the printer this week.

That’ll help.

UPDATE II. Rudd forgets the most important issue facing all of humankind:

US President George W. Bush was shocked that Labor leader Kevin Rudd did not seriously raise climate change during their private chat at APEC, sources close to the meeting claimed yesterday.

Sources said Mr Rudd never mentioned the topic during his 45-minute chat with Mr Bush on Thursday, despite Labor’s strong position on global warming.

Maybe Kevin only mentioned it in Mandarin.

Posted by Tim B. on 09/09/2007 at 11:09 AM
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