Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Stalemate

I attempted to start this post a dozen times but I couldn't quite work out what to say. Now, I realise why. Essentially, the story hasn't moved. After a day filled with such anticipation and excitement, the whole thing's ground to a halt.

For now.

Howard's press conference today on The Leadership Issue was a classic Teflon John performance - a clear attempt to steer the agenda back on course without answering any questions whatsoever. When it comes down to it, Howard is essentially asking both the public and his party exactly the same question he asked at the last election: who do you trust? It's the question he's been asking since becoming Prime Minister. The implied answer is what has kept him there: There's nobody you can trust but me.

Currently, the general consensus is that the turmoil has damaged Peter Costello's ambitions far more than it has helped them - perhaps even dealt them a fatal blow. The real worry for Costello is backbenchers like Peter Lindsay, who has gone on record as a strong supporter of Costello, who saw him as a worthy heir apparent - until the events of the past 48 hours. Costello's backers have always used the argument of a `seamless departure' to push their case, and this is now impossible. Worse for Costello, as ANOP pollster Rod Cameron put it, Costello's conduct makes him look like a `weak and vacillating man with no leadership credentials' (thanks again to PM).

The great irony in this is the fact that it was Howard, not Costello, who was duplicitous - Howard who implied or told Costello he would bow out after two terms to win his support but then reneged on his deal. As always, he dives into the dungheap and succeeds in coming out smelling like roses.

However, the ticking time bomb in his cabinet room has still not been defused. The longer Howard holds out, the larger that elephant in the room is going to become. As we've long known, John Howard is a Prime Minister who has always been very unwilling to detail an exit strategy. Or say sorry. Pretty soon, he's going to have to do both.

3 Comments:

At 9:59 am, Blogger Armagnac Esq. said...

I found this issue hard to post on even as it was breaking.

It was so hard to call. I immediately suspected that the media's almost cross the board hysterical assertion that something would have to give was not necessarily the case.

Howard handled it deftly, demonstrating why he is the Libs' master politician.

I'm loath to call it any further yet, but there's a good chance this is the end of costello's career.

 
At 12:33 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

I've realised that all us bloggers can do at the moment is describe rather than interpret. Now that Howard's `resumed normal transmissions' as he described it, a lot will be going on behind closed doors, and we will be the last to hear about it.

Still, the mere fact of the most unified government in years disintergrating is a fascinating thing to describe ...

 
At 12:55 pm, Anonymous milltown pete said...

Regardless of who's career is finished, the government is severely damaged. Economic prowess has always been their mantra, and a second choice Treasurer does not project that. Who can forget John Kerin's excruciating performance as Keating's hasty replacement, and Hawke's subsequent fate?

 

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