What might have been

Monday, 22 October 2007 

Rudd’s performance in the debate tonight was solid, but there was little sign of the anti-politics panache seen occasionally from him this year, showing that he has yet to break out of the constraints of the campaign ritual.

Probably more interesting was the performance of Howard. The contrived bravura we have seen in the opening week to rally the troops fell away and he was again looking as though he was about to be unjustly dealt with by the Australian electorate.

It was notable that the two areas where he looked a bit more confident were those where he has had to recently shift to new positions, reconciliation and climate change. Both at least were fresh stances and gave the government an appearance it still had the capacity to respond to political developments. Both were a result of Howard needing to prevent Labor’s agenda eroding the government’s core supporter base. What a shame he didn’t develop his agenda earlier as a response from a real challenge within his own party to modernise his programme. Unfortunately the only one in a position to do that was incapable of contributing anything more than some heckling for which he was told off, leaving Howard to close his final debate by going back to where he started, with a cultural war as though he was once again debating the last Labor Prime Minister all those years ago.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Monday, 22 October 2007.

Filed under Political figures

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