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Thursday, September 09, 2004

In the Cold Political Light of Day

Now we have had a chance to take a breath after yesterday's events it is inevitable that the political fallout will be considered.  By its very nature, the bombing makes JH look like a leader, with ML the follower, there is no equal standing.  The reality is that the spin doctors and strategists on both sides will be considering their next move when this uneasy ceasefire ends.  The pressure will be on Latham, he is now on the back foot and cannot be seen to be critical of the governments terrorism policies for the time being.  There is still a long time before the election and the longer that Howard can maintain the compassionate yet strong leader front, the less room Latham will have to move.  They will both have arguments for their case, the libs with, "you can't rely on Labor in these difficult times", and the ALP with, "the government's policies have made Australia more of a target".  At what point will either one crack?  Already the bipartisan facade is appearing to crack (via Tim Dunlop) with Kevin Rudd having to make his own way to Jakarta, and this morning Howard announced that Downer will be meeting with Indonesian government officials with no mention of Rudd.  Whether Rudd attends or not is not the point, the fact is that in times like this Downer is the statesman, Howard is the Prime Minister, and there are no allusions to "alternatives" even though the government is in caretaker mode.  Howard has shown before that the conventions that he holds dear can be cast aside to make political gains.  Hopefully it will be back to gloves off on Sunday when the neutered version of the great debate will be shown on Channel 9 (still the one in John Howard's eyes).

By the way one easy way to incur the wrath of the right is to do a Troppo Armadillo.  I wonder if  Ken's critics were so strident when George Brandis accused Bob Brown of being a Nazi?  Surely a much more henious comparison, but then as with all right wingers they can put on the biggest face of absolute indignation when the mud they usually throw is for once returned.

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