Monday, 22 October 2007
The debate looks as though it could be the circuit breaker – for Rudd.
It is not so much that his performance last night was exceptional, rather that Howard threw all he had and nothing much happened. It is a sign how the government has been living in a one-sided debate bubble that Howard thought the first question he could ask was about Rudd not bringing up climate change with George Bush! The government had been going on about it before, but it was the first time it could be directly countered by Rudd in public and was easily brushed aside. He is likely to now feel much less restrained by the ritual of the campaign as he appeared to be in the nervous start to last night.
Howard failed to achieve his objectives in the debate. He did little to cheer up his own side and the media perception that the government was back in with a chance has now dissipated, especially after another bad Newspoll and we know how important they are. The debate undid any benefit he got from the start of the campaign. What a waste of $34bn.
While all the media attention has been on whether Rudd will slip up in this long campaign, it is the mood of the Liberals that is the critical factor in this election. Having played all his cards, Howard has left the party open to further demoralisation and fragmentation for what is still a long campaign left. With little to bind them as a party, there must be a great temptation for government MPs to now run off back to their electorates and fend for themselves as best they can.
Posted by The Piping Shrike on Monday, 22 October 2007.Filed under State of the parties