The politician who was beyond parody is farewelled in tributes that are, appropriately enough, also beyond parody. Almost...
The Professional Idiot :
Downer is a man who - like all rounded people - has a sense of humor and a keener sense of the ridiculous. Likewise, as Foreign Minister he could cut to the moral centre of an issue, and...never confused process with purpose. He is a true humanist, with all the passions you’d expect and want.Just Another Murdoch Pro-War, Pro-Violence Propagandist :
(Downer) always has the scent of combat in his nostrils, he doesn't hold personal grudges long and has to a remarkable degree the Scarlett O'Hara virtue of regarding each new day as a new beginning and a chance to do something great.Downer is like Scarlett O'Hara...
Downer was physically the more robust foreign minister.
This isn't political commentary from Greg Sheridan, it's a sobbing confession of man love.
He is blessed with a constitution that allows him to sleep whenever he's tired, wherever he is.
Downer has narcolepsy? Perhaps it was all the free booze...
He plays golf and tennis and until a few years ago played squash.
Mmmm, Downer in tennis shorts. Anyone?
In private he is great company with a raucous, witty and deeply literate sense of humour...
He knows a few jokes about beating the shit out of your wife.
You could only hope so. His public image is smeared with the blood of war and dirty money and dodgy dealings on Iraq and East Timor's oil.
Although Downer is in many ways very open and straightforward, there is a lot about him that is a distinct contrast to his public image....
Downer is a pretty avid reader of classic literature, history and biography. The book he has most recently read is The Return of History and the End of Dreams by American foreign policy neo-conservative Robert Kagan.If Downer's reading Kagan's latest book about why the West must immediately kill more Muslims, in Iran this time, before dealing with those commie bastards in China, we should consider ourselves entirely blessed that Downer has been removed from Australian politics.
So many things conspire against history judging Downer fairly. He comes from a distinguished family. There is some money in his family. He has a just slightly plummy accent. He was an unsuccessful leader of the Opposition. He is a self-confident conservative. These are the main charges of indictment against Downer...No, that's a cold load of old toad. The main charges of indictment against Downer are - trying to rip off the East Timorese with used-car salesman tactics during oil treaty negotiations; The Iraq War; Saddam's Non-WMDs; the AWB scandal; Australians held without charge for four years, and more, by our American allies; cracking jokes about domestic violence in front of victims of domestic violence; actively trying to ferment civil war and civilian slaughter in Fiji; having psycho-whiny phone-throwing temper tantrums in front of foreign diplomats...
Greg Sheridan's farewell to Downer is called : Regrets At Giant's Passing.
I'm not sure why Downer's diplomatic post to Cyprus is viewed by Liberals as some sort of victory. Rudd has effectively removed Downer from the Australian political stage when the Liberals need every loud, cutting voice they can get (no matter how whiny) to shred the Rudd government as they quickly roll out new and what will prove to be unpopular policy.
Downer making any kind of contribution to the political debate in Australia, from Cyprus, will look absurd, and desperate.
Downer is gone. He's irrelevant. Nobody's going to care what he has to say anymore, unless Cyprus explodes into fresh violence, and with dodgy Downer in town who knows what could happen.