Into a vacuum could step somebody that has never made a point of standing for anything (or behind anyone) in particular. From that angle, Labor might have just found its best candidate.
The problem Abbott faces is that there are real barriers to implementing his program but behind him is a party of which some sections are determined to make sure he does.
The end of that tension in Labor is because Rudd’s failure has meant there is now no one in Labor who can turn an attack on the party’s existing power structures into an electoral asset.
The debate showed how much Rudd, rather than maintain the aura of incumbency he so well established when he returned, has needed to take up the negativity himself. Shouldn’t the ads be doing that?
In failing to make its anti-political attack on the Coalition, Labor is seeing it rebound and they being the “political” operators.
The political agenda we see now are the leftovers from a time when the major parties represented clear social bases in the electorate which they no longer do.
The lack of a convincing reason on the source of Rudd’s popularity, is not because political commentators are thick, but because the answer is uncomfortable.
The problem that both parties now face is that having raised the asylum seeker “problem” for internal party reasons, the external conditions for solving it are no more favourable than they were in 2007-2008.
In Australia, a Prime Minister facing even the most inevitable of defeats still holds to the end one power of incumbency – deciding when it will happen. Now even that has been thrown away.
Wait till you see what is coming to Canberra this year.