I thought the worst bit was when he was asked repeatedly about his reasons for extinguishing Native Title claims and creating harsh laws that apply to Aboriginals only. Howard, who could not provide a real answer, protested that his intervention "in aggregate" was neither racist nor unfair (thereby all but conceding that parts of it are indeed racist and unfair).
He also bristled at being labelled "dishonest", as if Kerry O'Brien were the only person in Australia suggesting it! And he voluntarily raised the issue of WMDs:
I'm not dishonest. There are many examples thrown up by my critics in relation to that but let me take one of the most egregious of all and that is weapons of mass destruction in relation to the war in Iraq.Eh, how's that? They only believed it was an "empirical fact" because of the intelligence presented to them, which was carefully cherry-picked by Dick Cheney & Co. (ably abetted by John Howard and his heavily politicized Aussie agencies).
I believe there were weapons of mass destruction because that's what the intelligence said, so did Mr Rudd. He said it was an empirical fact and not based on available intelligence. So did Tony Blair and George Bush and Jacques Chirac and most members of the United Nations.
You'd think Howard would just leave the whole thing alone, but he even started jabbering about Children Overboard again. Methinks he is scared of the looming shadow of accountability. A Rudd government will no doubt have a lot of smelly political skeletons to dig up (should they choose to do so).
Howard's efforts to close the interview with a hit on the States also fell flat. This morning, even Paul Kelly in Teh Oz is pissing on Howard's new anti-state campaign:
Howard and his advisers are driven by the prospect of wall-to-wall Labor governments if Rudd wins. In many ways this is Howard’s final political resort...If you think about it, anyone who really wants to see major changes in the federal-state-council heirarchy of power would probably be better off voting Labor, and giving them near-total control of the whole system for a few years.
Howard’s pragmatic attitude towards federalism is driven by politics. He has no interest in reform of the federal system. His outlook has varied between action and inaction depending on political advantage, with the consequences of his action usually being to increase federal powers.