4 Sep. 2007

The Last Waltz?

Well, here we go. Bush has finally touched down Down Under, and on that bombshell the APEC media circus is finally underway. For John Winston Howard, this is it - the last opportunity to boost his flat-lining popularity before he calls an election.

Howard and Bush will be out on the water today, having lunch with their hand-picked military, political and media stooges. The story will almost certainly top the TV news tonight. There will be much more of the same over the coming week. And then, I suspect, there will be time for just one more Newspoll before Howard calls the election.

But what if that final pre-election poll shows that even APEC has not given Howard a boost? What then? I can't help wondering if Howard might not - even at this late stage - step down "in the best interests of the Party" and let Costello eagerly fling himself off the election cliff into political oblivion. It would be a short plank for Costello to walk - a five-week orgy of smirking self-congratulation, then into the hungry jaws of the post-mortem sharks. Meanwhile, Howard could walk off the political scene (stage right) still pretending his political legacy was intact.

Costello could tweak a few unpopular policies (esp. WorkChoices) and reshuffle the cabinet - well, what have they got to lose?