Howard Was As Much Of A Loser In March As He Is Today
Good God, can the Last Days Of PM John Howard be any more humiliating or hideous for the old man?
The same night that his foreign minister Alexander Downer was reduced to endlessly repeating the words "climate change", "energy efficiency" and "carbon reduction" on Lateline - like Bob Brown after three month long beer and burger binge - John Howard must have been hiding behind the lounge in Kirribilli with his fingers in his ears trying to block out the staggeringly terrible news pumping out of the box.
Not only has Kevin Rudd leaped ahead to his best favourability rating yet, But Howard's has plunged, along with the vote for his government.
He won't just lose the election off these numbers. Howard will be slaughtered like a goat at the end of Ramadan. He will lose office as prime minister and as a federal member of Parliament.
So will Alexander Downer, and about eight to ten more senior government ministers.
These are not just bad numbers. Not "Oh yes, well, it's just another poll isn't it?" numbers. Not even "It just means I'll have to work harder than ever" numbers.
These are "Hand me that pistol and leave the room, darling" numbers :
...Labor's primary vote soaring to 51 per cent and the Coalition's falling to 37 per cent.The longer Howard leaves it to call this frigging election and get the gruesome end of his political career over and done with, the more voters will want him to be gone, kaput, exito Kirribilli.
On the basis of preference flows at the last election, the two-party-preferred vote gives Labor an 18-point lead, 59 per cent to 41 per cent.
The Labor leader also stretched his lead over Mr Howard on the question of who would be the better prime minister.Mr Rudd's support lifted two points to 48 per cent and Mr Howard's fell from 39 per cent to 37 per cent.
There are so many demands for Howard to announce the date of the federal election today over at the once rock solid, Howard-hugging 'The Australian' that they might as well have just run one big fat headline across their entire broadsheet front page : "Bloody Howard! Call The Election For Christ's Sake!"
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I still wouldn't be surprised if Howard quit a day or two after the APEC summit ends, and disappears for a few months with the wife on a farewell world tour. Or maybe he'll just throw himself in Sydney Harbour on Sunday night when the final dinner and show of the $400 million-plus APEC summit ends.
Howard showed which party he was most truly committed to last year when he refused to handover the reins to Peter Costello, as promised, as requested, as expected, as would have been the honourable thing to do - exit while still a winner, and a respectable politician (well, kinda).
But the party our rapidly fading prime minister is most loyal and committed to is the Federal Howard Party.
The only thing bigger in Sydney yesterday than that horrendously ugly security wall was Howard's ego.
There probably won't be much left of it by Sunday night after he spends a week gritting his teeth as 20 world leaders who can read newspaper front pages and know what the words "Faces Crushing Defeat" mean, shrug their shoulders and bid him an early farewell, and then get on the phone to Australia's next prime minister.
Why, some of the APEC leaders will ask Howard, did you not invite Kevin Rudd to address the APEC summit?
Howard will quiver with disgust and horror in reply.
Maybe he can announce his resignation as prime minister and leader of the Liberal Party on Saturday afternoon, and then hitch a ride to the US on Air Force One with President Bush?
It's clear that the United States is where Howard's heart truly lies.
Oh, but that's right. Even Bush can't stand a true-blue loser.
UPDATE : Here's a few excerpts from a six month old take on the last days of prime minister John Howard from 'The Orstrahyun'. Howard's poll numbers were appalling in March, and have not improved an iota. But he still refuses to go :
Howard's numbers aren't falling, they're plunging into the basement like a lift crammed full of concrete blocks that's snapped free of its cables. He's almost in George W. Bush territory. And Rudd has led Labor to their best numbers in two decades.
The decline of John Howard's political kingship has already become an amusingly harrowing spectacle. But the laughs won't last. The cacophony of lies, deceit and fear mongering that have punctuated his reign have deafened the masses and deadened their souls. Now they want their revenge. They want to scrape the filth off their shoes and put the past decade of derision and division, of Tampa, of Truth Overboard, of legitimate refugee toddlers razor-wired into desert prison camps, of Australia-funded missiles slamming into Iraqi civilians, of propping up Saddam's hideous regime by plausibly-denying the bribes of the AWB, all of it, all that muck and filth, Australians in the overwhelming majority now want to push it all deep into the back corner of their memories.Australia has been transformed under the War On Human Decency waged by John Howard for 11 solid years, and many of us have become more like Americans than perhaps even John Howard and Tony Abbott and Piers Ackerman and Andrew Bolt might like to realise.
The Fair Go For All has faded. Give The Little Bloke A Chance is not so popular anymore. But most of all, we don't seem to like Losers as much as we once did, even the ones who try really hard. That's the chief reason why the Iraq War is so vastly unpopular in the United States today. America is losing, and Americans don't like to lose. And now, neither do we.
Howard is a Loser. And everyone knows it. When you're a Loser in Australian politics, you don't get a second chance anymore, as Mark Latham so comprehensively learned.
The stumbling, bumbling, simpering, whimpering decline and fall of John Howard is really going to be almost too cruel to watch. Alan Ramsey called the coming spectacle of Howard's downfall "delicious" in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. Maybe. But there's nothing pretty about a six month long autopsy.
Peter Costello and Malcolm Turnbull must do the decent thing, the humane thing. The only thing that can and should be done. They must feed Howard a handful of sugar cubes and coax him down into the back paddock and...put him out of his misery.Politically speaking, of course.