Tells Liberals 'You're Nothing Without Me'
Finding out that half of his cabinet couldn't be arsed to muster up a strong message of support during the APEC summit must have really got under the skin of John Howard. In fact, we know that it did.
He's none too subtly begun to point out that while the Liberal poll numbers are tanking, he's still doing pretty well, with most recent approval ratings hovering around 50%. It's not me they hate, Howard is telling his senior ministers, it's you bastards :
Expect more such 'observations' from Howard about his many deeply unpopular Liberal colleagues (yes you Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer) soft-peddling the line "You're a bunch of losers and I'm sick of winning elections for you wankers."
The Prime Minister said that if the party was as popular as him, the Government wouldn't be in trouble.
Mr Howard insisted he would go into the coming election as a team with Treasurer Peter Costello, but underlined his own attractiveness to voters."...my level of personal support is significantly higher than that of the party's," he told Melbourne radio. "If the party's level of support in the opinion polls was as high as mine is, it would be a different story.
"I'm not drawing any particular comfort from that. I'm just making the observation."
By the way, it should be becoming clear to Australian voters by now what the New Howard Style will be for the coming (official) election campaign : Peter Beattie with more pouting, and more earnest whining for "just one more chance to really prove myself".
Here's some lines that we expect Howard to start, or keep on, spouting over the next six to eight weeks :
"Well, yes, we were wrong on (insert humiliating scandal or dirty rotten lie)"
"I won't say 'I've Got A Dream', but I will say 'I Have A Vision For Australia's future."
"We could have handled (insert scandal, dirty rotten lie) a lot better than we did, and for that I apologize. I really do."
"I will be stepping down, but I will make sure that when I do, Australia is even a better place to live and work (emphasis work) than it is today. That is my vision."
"Most Australians already know that Australia has become the greatest country in the world (thanks to me), but before I go I want to make sure the rest of the world knows it, too."
"It's not about me, it's about our team, and the nation's future."
"I'm sorry...I apologize...I never meant to mislead anybody....I always had the nation's best interests at heart....I always had the national interest in mind when I made that decision."
"I do have regrets. But I've only ever wanted what's best for the country, and what's best for all Australians."
"I had to stay and fight this election, because our entire team is united in wanting all of Australia to know that they cannot afford to make a bad choice they will come to regret next year."
"I didn't mean 'Australians have never been better off' financially, I meant we've never been better off as a country."
Enough of that.
We'll finish up by tipping next week's Newspoll results.
Howard will stage something of a comeback, five or more points, with a slight drop off for Rudd. The Liberals will regain three or four points. Labor will stay about the same.
In some book about five years from now, we're going to find out that last week's tumultuous Liberal Party Leadership Melt-Down was not all that it appeared to be.
If Howard does gain some noticeable ground in the polls next week, it will be much harder for his traitors to toss him over the side, just as he planned, and it will prove that what happened was less scandalous and explosive than what we've been led to believe.
We figure Howard's wife, Janette, saw the signs of a coming betrayal from his colleagues and told him to cut it off before it gained steam by forcing them to make a move.