Back home after his trip to the United States to collect six figures worth of Iraq War blood money from his NeoCon backers, former prime minister John Howard has offered a "helping hand" to demoralised, PTSD-crippled Liberals.
But did Howard offer a "helping hand" to temporary Liberal leader Brendan "I'm Going Nowhere..." Nelson?
Sydney's Daily Telegraph says yes, he did :
Howard Offers To Help Embattled Nelson
FORMER prime minister John Howard says he is willing to help the Liberal Party and its embattled leader Brendan Nelson with the "difficult job" of being in opposition.But The Australian newspaper says no, he didn't :
Howard Slow To Offer Helping Hand
JOHN Howard helped the Liberal Party raise much-needed funds at a dinner thrown in his honour in Brisbane last night, but there was no helping hand for his successor, Brendan Nelson, as he battles through a fierce bout of leadership speculation.The Sydney Morning Herald offers up this Howard pearler from the speech :
(Howard admitted) his diplomacy needed work. Asked at a function at the George H. W. Bush presidential library in Texas to name his top three achievements, he started with gun control.Howard won't offer his total support for Brendan Nelson because he probably believes that if the chaos, back-stabbing and plunging poll numbers for Nelson and the Liberals continue, he just might get another shot at running for prime minister. Just like his hero Menzies.
No-one in the Texas audience clapped.
He won't take the offer (well,probably not), but he sure is going to get a chub when they ask him, or when the rumours begin that Howard might be making a return to politics.
UPDATE : The Australian lead editorial sinks a hilariously righteous boot into Howard for being too conservative and not embracing the "symbolism" that is supposedly making Rudd so popular right now :
...the popularity of the Prime Minister and Labor is going through the roof because it has taken a whole lot of easy symbolic actions that were easy to identify years ago. Mr Howard's long-standing refusal to offer an apology to the Stolen Generations or sign the Kyoto Protocol may have limited his ability to act. A change of heart by Mr Howard on these issues may have been seen by voters as a sign of political desperation. But given the opportunity, Mr Costello may have been able to freshen up the image of conservative forces to reflect the expectations of modern Australia and take some of the easy benefits now being showered on Mr Rudd.
With Brendan Nelson struggling to get out of single figures in the opinion polls, what does this say about the long-term assessment of the Howard years? That by being too conservative and refusing to reflect contemporary views, Mr Howard has destroyed the conservative side he served.
The Australian rails on Howard for being too conservative....what more needs to be said?