Rudd’s anti-politics coup de grâce

Friday, 24 August 2007 

There is no reason to suppose that Rudd is any better at managing a hospital than Mike Rann.

As the AMA has pointed out, nor does the $2bn allocated really mark a change in funding priorities from what the states are already doing. Indeed the proposal to take-over the nation’s hospitals exposes no real political difference between Rudd and the coalition, as Abbott was proposing a similar move three years ago.

Yet Rudd’s proposal is highly damaging to the coalition because it exposes the flaw in Howard’s disastrous ‘failed states’ strategy. Howard has presented his attack on the states as a major political struggle. But in reality they are about minor issues with no political content whatsoever. Beattie has already exposed this by dropping his objection to councils holding plebiscites that was supposed to be the important principle Howard was upholding there. What Howard was really doing was feeding off anti-politician discontent at the state level.

However, a fight where there is nothing really at stake is the most annoying type of politics and has left Howard open to an anti-politics move at the federal level by Rudd (or “ending the blame game” as he calls it). The states, normally resistant to such a take-over, are only too willing to agree to Rudd’s proposal so as to shift the anti-politics agenda away from them. Against this, Howard has nothing positive to throw at it except his meaningless ‘aspirational nationalism’, which incredibly, some commentators are still taking seriously. As said at the start of the week, add on the profound damage from its constant humiliations at the hands of the judiciary over Haneef and there are grounds to believe that the government’s current standing in the polls looks vulnerable.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Friday, 24 August 2007.

Filed under State and federal politics

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