25 November 2003

Bomber revs for another plunge

So here's the plan. Swan, Smith, Costello and the rest of Beazley's advance team will dispose, simultaneously, of Crean and Latham. Then they'll turn the attack on John Howard. No, it won't involve the vision thing, bold attempts to inspire the electorate. Apart from border protection, Beazley has never been all that excited by policy and his apparatchiks remain poll driven. So we'll have a real ding-dong as both sides of politics try to outdo each other in the war against terror.

I've always believed that Beazley would have been an even more willing member of the coalition of the willing than Howard, that his passion for military history would have had him wanting to make it. So it's odds on we would have sent even more troops to the Middle East had Beazley been PM - and it would have been him having the photo ops with George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

Talking of Bush reminds us that Crean, when feeling confident, can do pretty well. He got good press for his speeches during the Bush visit and I'm reliably informed that even Bush was impressed. But when Crean feels beleaguered, his performance drops.

Any analysis of the polls shows that although Labor's primary vote looks crook, the two-party preferred signifies a threat to Howard's third term. One might have thought that making the best of it with Crean, showing him a modicum of loyalty rather than constantly demeaning him, might have been a sensible tactic. Then Her Majesty's Opposition would be poised for victory.

I am unsure how credible this report is. If it is accurate it seems that Bomber has discovered the road to the prime minister's lodge runs through Baghdad, or Ashmore Reef, or Melville Island or somewhere. I am not sure it will go far. Somehow it seems unlikely to regain many of those voters who abandoned the ALP for the Greens and Democrats over precisely the same election strategy in 2001.

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