The media dived into this issue two weeks ago expecting a rerun of 2001. When none occurred, it conducted it on its own, starring in a morality play of one.
Rudd was calling the bluff that Turnbull and the Liberals had been playing, namely that Howard had a real policy that they could return to rather than a political game whose time had passed.
While Rudd’s Indonesian solution looks like Howard’s Pacific one in practice, in political terms it indicates a shift.
What’s worse, earning a trade out of human misery or making politics out of it?
Chris Uhlmann castigated Rudd for not using his political capital to take a less populist line on asylum seekers, but in reality there is no political capital.
At no time has the party ever had its leadership calculations so openly determined by their complete loss of confidence in their ability to recover government in the foreseeable future.
The irony is that Abbott is doing what Turnbull did in reverse, but with the same negative consequences.
Now when Turnbull, the only one in the Liberal Party who seems to have actually wanted to lead it over the last few years, is gone, the vacuum is likely to come back with a vengeance.
Unless Turnbull actually wants to lead the Liberals for the sake of it, which is unlikely, his threat over the Liberals adopting a negotiating position on the ETS is not a death wish but simply a matter of fact if the Coalition is to have any hope of getting a reasonable result at the next election.