Alexander Downer is almost gone, but he's not forgotten. His star will shine brightly on and on and on. At least until Friday.
We remember Alexander Downer, the extraordinarily floppy, sooky and comically petulant foreign minister of the now all but forgotten John Howard government.
We remember Alexander Downer, yes. But do YOU?
Do you remember when Alex and his buddy John stood up in front of the Australian people and told them they were under bio-terror attack, when they both knew this was clearly untrue, and they had both been repeatedly advised against claiming white powder found in the Indonesian embassy was a biological agent?
Do you remember when Alex told the mostly unarmed people of Fiji to rise up, in violent opposition, against the military after a bloodless coup?
Do you remember when Alex was banned from visiting Fiji and how the people of Fiji refused to follow his advice and how there was no tide of violence, and the Australian military, ready and waiting, didn't have to launch an invasion to save Australian citizens?
Do you remember when Alex quietly set about signing Australia up to the US Missile Defence Shield, which would have cost Australians hundreds of millions of dollars?
Do you remember when Alex, during APEC, tried to claim that hosting a franchise of the US Missile Defence Shield would cause absolutely no problems or tensions with Russia and China?
Do you remember when Alex spent Christmas spattered in the blood of war dead?
Do you remember when Alex pledged Australia's "absolute commitment" to Israel and offered to send Australian troops into Palestine to stop the democratically elected government from ruling?
Do you remember when Alex tried to stir up trouble with Pakistan by selling nuclear fuel to India?
Do you remember when Alex was busted ignoring numerous memos pointing out than Australians were involved in bribing the Saddam Hussein regime some $300 million before the War On Iraq began? Do you remember the catastrophic memory failures he suffered during questioning about the corruption scandal?
Do you remember when Alex used up the government's total emergency stockpile of "I don't recalls" the day before John Howard suffered the most humiliating day of his prime ministership?
Do you remember when Alex, growing ever more desperate as polls showed Rudd would win the coming election, started using Paul Keating insults in Parliament?
Do you remember when Alex became incredibly petulant and rude to Australian and international high school students and refused to answer their basic questions about his government's position on climate change?
Do you remember when Alex said that withdrawing troops from Iraq was "abandoning your mates", shortly before the British announced they were withdrawing troops from Iraq?
Do you remember the intense gibberish that Downer consistently spewed about the Rudd plan to withdraw troops, even though it was to a timetable that defence chiefs believed, even then, was appropriate and timely?
Do you remember when Alex cracked under the pressure of knowing his government was about to lose and made a complete idiot of himself by turning up on Lateline, half-pissed out of his mind, slurring words and speaking yet more intense gibberish?
Do you remember when, after losing government, Alex tried to blame the solid and humiliating defeat on "The Timing"?
Do you remember when Alex decided to give up his booming career in morning talkback radio for a quickly aborted return to the front benches?
Do you remember when Alex called a cartoon of himself being rutted, or "dominated" by John Howard "offensive"?
In all fairness to Alexander "Cyprus Doesn't Have An Extradition Treaty For War Crimes, Right?" Downer, I do like his take on Kevin Rudd, back on February 20, 2007.
Downer, not suprisingly, had Rudd's number way back then. Fuck lot of difference that made in the end, however. Downer couldn't stop being sooky, whiney and smarmy long enough to get his message through to the Australian people, without making them feel like they needed a hot bath after watching an entire interview with him. From Lateline :
TONY JONES: Alright, a final quick question. On today's Newspoll I see you've accused Kevin Rudd of flouncing around like a celebrity. Now, are you surprised at the way the Australian voters at this point appear to have taken him to their hearts?So very, very sooky.
ALEXANDER DOWNER: Well, I'm not surprised because I think in the very short term it's somebody different from the leaders the Labor Party's had before and, you know, I mean whether it's fair - - -
TONY JONES: Different to the Prime Minister, the leader of the Liberal Party as
ALEXANDER DOWNER: Let me answer the question maybe, rather than you answer it.
The test for Mr Rudd is going to be in the end a quite different test than the ephemera of opinion polls. The test for Mr Rudd is going to be whether he can establish a credible program and the Australian public in the end conclude that he actually believes in something. The problem for Mr Rudd says he doesn't believe in something, he believes in everything.Kevin Rudd is "Mr Incomprehensible". That other Mr Men character.
In the end it becomes incomprehensible to the public and that is the challenge for Mr Rudd. I think at the moment he's new but he's incomprehensible.
Shows how much attention anyone in the Liberal Party is paying, as they still, all but fruitlessly, seek the weak links in Rudd's armour. Downer delivered them a heaving tray of ways to precisely and permanently re-brand Rudd, back in February, 2007, but they don't seem to have noticed.