December 12, 2007
ANYONE who thinks Brendan Nelson will lead the Coalition into the next federal election missed his interviews on The 7.30 Report and The Insiders.
"Pitiful" was the word that came to mind. There was no resemblance between the answers and the questions. Both interviews were accompanied by TV clips of Nelson screaming, "I've never voted Liberal in my life." That should warm the hearts of Liberal supporters already alarmed at his earlier membership of the Labor Party?.
Which brings us to the morning after the night before and Peter Costello's impersonation of LBJ's "I shall not run" speech. Now that was a surprise.
Since entering Parliament in 1990, at the ripe old age of 32, Peter Costello has been the spoilt brat of Australian politics.
The golden boy of the Victorian Liberal Party, he arrived in Canberra well known for his successes in student politics and his legal battles with the trade unions. He immediately gained a place on the Coalition front bench and within four years was deputy leader of the opposition.
It was heady stuff for one so young, but he took it as his due. He was not used to being denied anything he believed was rightfully his.
Six years after entering Parliament, Costello was treasurer, a position he held until a short while ago. He made it clear, however, that while others might consider his rise meteoric he considered it a mere stepping stone to becoming prime minister.
But while John Howard kept winning elections, Costello's accession to the
throne was deferred, thus ensuring periodic tantrums that did nothing to enhance his reputation with his colleagues or voters.
The punters liked Howard while not caring much for the pretender because he always looked so pleased with himself. He tried to get rid of the smirk but the sincere look was worse.
Costello's critics accuse him of lacking the stomach to challenge Howard, but that's a bit unfair. While Howard kept winning elections, Costello couldn't muster the numbers. His mistake was in continually getting his troops up to the start line then failing to charge.
His ultimate act of political cowardice was the mother of all dummy-spits after the election. Just when his party needed him most he paid them back for not making him PM?.
Barry Cohen was a federal MP from 1969 until 1990. He was minister for the arts, heritage and environment in the Hawke government from 1983 to 1987.
Most of what follows in a rant. If you don't want to read it then don't post some pathetic whine afterward about how you hate rants. If you simply wish to disagree, by all means do so.
I should point out that I have a much higher regard for our politicians than most people. They do a job few of us would be prepared to do - long hours, long months away from the family and the abuse of millions of ignorant strangers. While I am happy to attack policies & political personas, I try to avoid personal attacks on politicians. I am going to make an exception here because Costello himself has been happ
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