26 Aug. 2007

Howard's End: Time To Pull The Plug?

Even a massive budget surplus cannot lift Howard's standing in the polls (voters decided it was proof that we have been over-taxed for a decade). And even Galaxy polling cannot turn endless spin into good numbers for the PM:
The Galaxy poll published in News Limited newspapers today shows the Federal Coalition's primary vote has fallen by a further three points to 39 per cent...

And despite Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd's prediction that revelations of his visit to a strip joint four years ago would damage him in the polls, 85 per cent thought the incident showed he was "a normal bloke".
Even the attack dogs in MurdochWorld are smelling the PM's fear and folding their cards:
For months the PM has been warning there’s unlikely to be any favourable shift in the polls until he calls the election, but by then the Coalition is likely to be so far behind Labor it won’t matter.
Personally, and despite the urging of several prominent Oz bloggers, I cannot help concluding that Howard's end is indeed nigh.

It's now obvious that nobody in the Conga Line is going to challenge him before the election, so what we are seeing is lots of clever Liberal faction positioning for the post-election fracas. For example, Mal Turnbull's half-assed visit to the Gold Coast last week was co-ordinated by local devotee Steven Ciobo, who is aligned with George Brandis, a key player in the "lying rodent" scandal some years back. These people are NOT Howard-lovers. Former NSW Liberal Party president Bill Heffernan seems to be on board with this boatload of Canberra wannabes.

Then there's the Iraq War, which is going nowhere in a hurry for Howard. If there is a single reason why Howard has delayed announcing an election date so long, this is it. But the much-anticipated turnaround from the much-hyped "surge" remains nothing but a neoconservative "invent-your-own-reality" illusion. Did Howard really expect anything better? Is he being advised by Arthur Chrenkoff?

Rod at Cross-wire today had a link to an increasingly typical story with the title Is This Howard’s End?:
Petty get-even politics aside, the Iraq tragedy raises the very important issue of excessive alliance loyalty, if not dysfunctional geopolitical co-dependence. Sure, President Bush had put it on the line when the unwise decision to invade was made. ‘You are either with me or against me,’ was the un-nice way he put it. And, as if in response to the snap of the President’s fingers, three Prime Ministers were in short order at Bush’s feet: Blair of Great Britain, Koizumi of Japan and, of course, Howard of Australia.

Each calculated that it was in their country’s national interest to leap at their master’s command. But with the benefit of hindsight (which admittedly always does put tough issues into perfect focus), we can now ask the question: was it in America’s interests to have allied leaders who were such yes-men? Might not it have been better for the United States to have had friends courageous enough to challenge the Administration’s thinking, instead of pimping it to their domestic publics and around the world?
Well, d'uh. But I do get tired of this "benefit of hindsight" meme - it is not JUST hindsight, but also the steady disclosure over the past four years of a heckuva lot of pertinent information from Washington, London and Canberra, all emphasizing how "intelligence" was cherry-picked to support a pre-determined decision to invade Iraq. You can't blame "hindsight" for that - it was willful, calculated, intentional misleading of the public, not to mention the UN!

That is a War Crime.

IMHO, Australians are not just tired of John Howard, the man. We are tired of having a War Criminal for a PM. We are tired of the lies, the web of deceit that has been spun wider and wider, till it threatens to overwhelm our society. Some of us are tired of our own complicity in this horror, others are just tired of the story itself, which plays on and on and on ad infinitum. We are tired of the guilt and the horror. We don't want to think about it any more.

So while Howard daily shrieks his primal political Death Scream across the nation's TV screens, radio waves and newspaper front pages, Australians are sticking their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes and whispering quietly, "Please, make it stop."

ABC Online has an interesting blog post today from a jaded journo on the Israel beat:
The consensus of a group of Israeli journalists I spoke to was that Israelis are sick and tired of their own conflict. They want to forget about it. Have a beer while watching the surf roll in.

The syndrome reached its height one day last week when Israel's leading current affairs radio program opened with the hosts declaring - dumbfounded - that there was no news to report from Israel.
It's funny, isn't it? For years the plaintive cries of the anti-war crowd in Australia have been met with a collective yawn from the "relaxed and comfortable" populace-at-large. Now, that same populace is yawning at Howard's demise.

It's like one of those science fiction movies where the evil alien leader meets his fate, dwindling away into nothingness with a plaintive cry:
No! Stop! Wait! You need me! A great evil is coming! Only I can protect you! Listen to me, I command you! I can help you! Aaarggh! Help! How could you do this to me? No! Save me from the pits of (gasp!) oblivion - ! Aaaa--aaa---aaa--aaarggh!!!