Imperator Howard's Tenth Year.
March 1, 2006 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Today marks Australian Prime Minister John Howard's tenth year in the top job. The event has sparked the usual calls of when, if ever, he will step down to make way for his annointed successor, Peter Costello, and has also opened the flood gates on a range of editorial criticisms and praise from the usual suspects. But even with a new poll released today claiming that he is the most popular PM in Australia's modern political history, will the continuing AWB scandal (previously discussed in one of my own FPP posts here) and an unhappy Coalition partner finally end his seemingly endless run of political good fortune?
posted by Effigy2000 (28 comments total)
 
He is a con artist.
posted by tellurian at 4:18 PM on March 1, 2006


will the continuing AWB scandal (previously discussed in one of my own FPP posts here) and an unhappy Coalition partner finally end his seemingly endless run of political good fortune?

In a word, no.
posted by Wolof at 4:20 PM on March 1, 2006


Hmm, Saddam Hussein was involved? Well, now that makes for a good scandal. Still, it's just about money.

Honestly foreign scandals just seem so damn quaint. Look at what killed the Canadian Liberal party: Something most Americans practically expect from their government (as far as I can tell).

Anyway, whatever. Thank god the Aussies arn't oil rich themselves, or they'd be insufferable.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 PM on March 1, 2006


AWB won't touch 'Honest John'. The little toerag will employ his "la-la-la I'm not listening" approach, as he has with all the other scandals laid at his door.

Ministerial responsibility is dead in this country.
posted by pompomtom at 5:21 PM on March 1, 2006


Ministerial responsibility is dead in this country.

That's what I dig about these clowns. Nobody knew anything, ever. Weren't never there. Never happened. Wasn't told.
posted by Wolof at 5:26 PM on March 1, 2006


As long as mortgage repayments don't skyrocket, most Australians will "be happy" with the government.
posted by bunglin jones at 5:41 PM on March 1, 2006


As long as mortgage repayments don't skyrocket, most Australians will "be happy" with the government.

Which is further evidence of how totally moronic they are. Housing affordability is worse now than it ever was under Keating.
posted by wilful at 5:59 PM on March 1, 2006


Oh, and the correct dismissive for John Winston is "the rodent". (330 000 google hits for Howard rodent)
posted by wilful at 6:01 PM on March 1, 2006


will (anything) end his seemingly endless run of political good fortune?

Um, not until there's someone else to replace him with - I mean, I laugh at the thought of voting for Latham and Medicare Gold, which is why Howard won the last election, and Beazley isn't fantastic, although he could do it with a lot of work (ie; policies). I'm waiting for Kevin Rudd to be an option.
posted by jacalata at 6:10 PM on March 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


If mortgage rates rise, then it must be time to blame the "boat people" again! Anyone know how many beds Nauru has to spare?

It's incredibly depressing to realise we've reached a point where the opposition are so inept that no matter how bad a scandal, to the majority of the populace they still don't look like a reasonable alternative.

Nobody I know will actually admit to having voted for Howard, so don't bother asking me to explain why people like him.

jacalata: I think Labor are actually scared to disagree with the Govt. On anything. The party of "me too!" doesn't exactly make a compelling alternative.
posted by blender at 6:16 PM on March 1, 2006


As long as mortgage repayments don't skyrocket...

You do have to give some credit to the toerag (sorry wilful, but I'm sticking to it) for somehow getting out the idea that the commodities boom was all his idea. Of course, all his skill is as a polly... not as a human.

(I still hate the cunt though, don't get me wrong....)
posted by pompomtom at 6:22 PM on March 1, 2006


will (anything) end his seemingly endless run of political good fortune?

A .303 with any luck....
posted by pompomtom at 6:23 PM on March 1, 2006


So obviously, that whole scandal about him and the queen has blown over.
posted by TedW at 6:47 PM on March 1, 2006


I don't think that that even rated as a scandal beyond Royal Watchers, TedW.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:49 PM on March 1, 2006


"The most popular PM in Australia's modern political history"?!?!?

That poll was asking current voters which PM had done a better job, out of Howard & his four immediate predecessors. Leaving aside changing political and economic circumstances, and ignoring peoples' short memories, that was in no way a *popularity* poll. You can do a decent job and still be hated, and I would dare say that Howard could well be the most hated recent PM, in that his supporters mostly tolerate him at best, but his detractors hate him with a passion.

The other result from that poll is that nearly 2/3, or 64%, think Australia is the same or worse than it was ten years ago. Hardly a commendable achievement, is it?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:52 PM on March 1, 2006


Well, I'm not a watcher, and certainly not royal, but I was scandalized.

In any event, politicians like Howard and Blair (and Berlusconi) make me less embarassed about Bush, although they dont give me a lot of optimism concerning democracy or the human race in general.
posted by TedW at 6:57 PM on March 1, 2006


That poll was asking current voters which PM had done a better job, out of Howard & his four immediate predecessors

Er, actually it wasn't. Because Robert Menzies scored 13%.

Some sloppy reporting there on the part of Reuters.
posted by Wolof at 7:04 PM on March 1, 2006


It's incredibly depressing to realise we've reached a point where the opposition are so inept that no matter how bad a scandal, to the majority of the populace they still don't look like a reasonable alternative.

The majority of the populace don't think there have been any particularly bad scandals over the last ten years.
posted by Jenga at 9:35 PM on March 1, 2006


The majority of the populace don't think there have been any particularly bad scandals over the last ten years.

Well, there was Warney with the text messages... and, um, Warney with the Sudafed... and then we lost the Ashes.
posted by pompomtom at 9:39 PM on March 1, 2006


that Australian article reads like something out our NYPost--is it a Murdoch paper?

I can't believe you guys don't have term limits. (and how soon til you have a majority minority population who will ensure a change?)
posted by amberglow at 9:47 PM on March 1, 2006


amberglow - Yes it is a Murdoch paper.
posted by tellurian at 10:08 PM on March 1, 2006


ahhh

So people really are happy with the same guy for so long? (he seems like a jerk to me)
posted by amberglow at 10:15 PM on March 1, 2006


We don't have term limits because we have a totally different structure of government - he is not elected as the Prime Minister by the populace. He is elected by the Liberal Party of Australia to lead the parliamentary Liberal Party.

Hre's the crikey editorial for today:
"Forget the unresolvable arguments about whether John Howard is Australia's best prime minister. They are rhetoric. The real point, as he celebrates his decade, is that John Howard is the best politician ever to lead Australia. As Laurie Oakes nailed it in The Bulletin yesterday, "part of Howard's genius is to look like a reasonable man even when he is engaged in the rankest political opportunism …he just happens to have been the smartest politician of his generation."

The Prime Minister may not prefer to have those words engraved on his epitaph – "Here lies the smartest politician of his generation" – but it all gets back to that line. After a decade in power, and still seemingly unbeatable, the verdict on John Howard is as a practitioner in the business of politics – as the elected CEO of Australia. And measured by that professional assessment Howard can be judged highly. He has recalibrated and reconstructed the practice of politics in Australia. He is utterly pragmatic. He gets results for the majority of his stakeholders (while a minority of them are driven wild by his pragmatism). He is a master of the brief. He knows about everything he needs to know about and he explains his views better than any other CEO or politician in the country. He is simply the great political operator of his age.

As for whether that makes him a great prime minister, or a great leader, well that's quite a different issue – and one which nearly every Crikey reader will have a strong idea about. But unlike John Howard's political performance, there isn't and will never be a consensus over his performance as a shaper of society. If, indeed, you think that's his job in the first place."

posted by wilful at 10:17 PM on March 1, 2006


That Crikey editorial absolutely nails it. Absofuckinglutley nails it.
posted by bunglin jones at 11:44 PM on March 1, 2006


Burn the fucker! How's that for sedition! Ha!
posted by sjvilla79 at 1:08 AM on March 2, 2006


He knows about everything he needs to know about

...and maintains (barely) plausible deniability about the things he needs to not know about.
posted by pompomtom at 2:29 AM on March 2, 2006


So people really are happy with the same guy for so long? (he seems like a jerk to me)
1. He is a jerk, and an embarassment.
2. Australia is well known for our sporting achievements, perhaps not as well known, is our gold medal performance in the sport of apathy.
posted by fullysic at 3:29 AM on March 2, 2006


That's your reference for apathy?
posted by wilful at 2:34 PM on March 2, 2006


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