The honeymoon is over

Tuesday, 15 May 2007 

So the pundits were right, the honeymoon is over.

Another Newspoll showing Labor with a landslide lead is starting to suggest something more enduring. The excuse of some that the positive reaction to the Budget will seep into the electorate over time won’t wash. As said earlier, the Budget was a political failure. It was the coalition’s chance to change the momentum with a new agenda and it did not work.

In reality the only agenda for the coalition to attach to is climate change. It is now becoming the new basis for international relations and that is something no Australian politician can ignore. Howard is too wedded to the old War on Terror and, as in the US, a new figure would probably be needed to make the change. Costello had his chance with the Budget, but as this would have implicitly meant a challenge to Howard, the iceberg-less Treasurer was not up to it. The irony of this electoral cycle is that Howard’s best chance for survival would have come from the building up of an internal challenge.

If there is anyone who has been enjoying a honeymoon with the commentariat it is the coalition and especially Howard. As in March, the resilience of Labor’s lead is likely to lead to another bout of uncertainty by the pundits of Howard’s re-election, but doubts this time are likely to be more enduring. Given few are still prepared to challenge the myth of Howard’s political acumen, it is probably going to take the form of the fairly unhelpful observation that the electorate has simply stopped “listening” to the government.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Tuesday, 15 May 2007.

Filed under Media analysis

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