Democrats depart stage…as does some snotty little Liberal…

It’s all over for the Democrats, including the blogosphere’s very own Andrew Bartlett. True to form, the man has penned a political epitaph for the party with considerable grace and style:

Politics being what it is and people being what they are, no doubt there will be many people at the ready to point out past mistakes the party made and where things went wrong (although personally I think that’s mostly so obvious it barely needs discussion). But I would rather note the vastly greater number of things that the party did right and the very many positive impacts it has had. It is a legislative and political legacy that will live on for a long time – albeit in ways that will probably be mostly unacknowledged – regardless of where the party’s members chose to take the party from here.

Whether those things are properly acknowledged or not, they are certainly very real, and they would not have been achieved without the selfless efforts of literally thousands of people doing it mainly because they believed in an idea and wanted to help change the world for the better.

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Andrew now has a few months more to serve in the Senate. Whatever he chooses to do next, I for one that he continues to share his thoughts with the blogosphere.

Meanwhile, Peter Costello has set the stage for some fun and games in the remaining conservative rump, with his decision not to stand for the Liberal leadership. I’d like to belt him around for lacking political courage, one last time, but considering how the Tories preferred to stick with Howard with annihilation staring them in the face, not to mention the almost certain fate of the next Liberal Opposition Leader, it’s hard to blame him for deciding enough is enough.

Turnbull has stuck up his hand for the job. I wonder who else would want it? Would the crazies in the safe rural seats be dumb enough to go for Tony Abbott?

Posted in federal election '07, politics
20 comments on “Democrats depart stage…as does some snotty little Liberal…
  1. Andrew E says:

    Robert, you talk of “the remaining conservative rump” as though the Rudd government won’t be conservative in many respects.

    In the ’70s, Paul Kelly wrote of Malcolm Fraser: “they (the Liberals) hate him, they fear him and they mistrust him – but sooner or later they’ll vote for him”. The same applies to the latter-day Malcolm: he is an itch they will have to scratch, sooner or later. His administrative skills are non-existant and I doubt his ability to deal effectively with lesser mortals.

    Someone has to work the nightshift for the Liberals. If the Liberals had been routed(say <30 seats) they might have turned to Abbott, but otherwise no.

  2. wasjotoo says:

    Mr Turnbull may well be open to scrutiny for his personal seat, election winning tactics. He won but it is not a good look when you spend so much money to put your main opponents nomination in doubt. That kind of behaviour needs to be looked at for future elections.

  3. Andrew E says:

    Byelection watch:

    Wannon Vic (David Hawker, Speaker)
    Berowra NSW (Ruddock)

    Any others? Costello has said he won’t quit Higgins just yet, so I’m looking at those former conservative lions likely to tire of public life before the first Swan Budget is due in May.

    Probable: Curtin WA (Julie Bishop)

  4. […] Robert Merkel created an interesting post today on Democrats depart stageâ¦as does some snotty little Liberalâ¦Here’s a short outline […]

  5. […] post by Robert Merkel This was written by . Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007, at 12:31 am. Filed under […]

  6. David Rubie says:

    Would the crazies in the safe rural seats be dumb enough to go for Tony Abbott?

    You’re kidding, aren’t you? We aren’t all crazy out here you know. Most of the really crazy party support (One Nation, CDP etc) has been in suburbia. Those guys are the frightening ones – like our pamphleteer friends.

  7. Vee says:

    Well the Crazies would but most would not.

  8. David and Andrew: I’m referring to the hard-right faction in the Liberal Party; think Bill Heffernan and the like. I’m not claiming all country people are crazy!

    As for the likely conservatism of a Rudd government, I expect to be disappointed with them on a regular basis. But even the NSW Labor Right aren’t nearly as scary as Alex Hawke.

  9. mbahnisch says:

    I’m feeling a lot more positive about the Rudd government than I was at the start of the campaign.

    The Libs’ only decent option is Malcolm Turnbull and a return to the centre. I hope they don’t take it, because I think a lot of what needs fixing will take a lot of time to do and I expect that Rudd will follow Blair’s lead and concentrate in the first term on establishing economic credentials and not frightening the horses and then putting more interesting stuff forward for a third term. The “culture wars” crap has had its day, and so, probably has immigration/war/terrorism – if the Libs choose to concentrate their guns there, they’ll be like the British Tories and it’ll take them at least a decade to realise that they need to move back to the centre and that the people have moved on from right wing nonsense.

    So, much as I believe that good opposition is a good thing, I’d be happier at this point in time if they went for someone like Abbott or even a complete joke like Dolly or Nelson.

    The Bartlett news is a big disappointment. I’m sure Andrew has a continuing contribution to make to public life, though.

  10. mick says:

    Holy crap, Costello has some brains after all. He’d be easy pickings for the ALP now. If he took the leadership he would end up spending a year or so getting smacked around by Gillard and Rudd only to be picked off by Turnball.

    Now if Turnball gets in he’s going to have to deal with a strong ALP team which he can’t wedge on the right. I bet he will keep up the attacks over the economy etc. Possibly criticizing any spending programs that the ALP goes on. Turnball won’t be burdened by the promises of the Howard campaign – it wasn’t his spend-a-thon.

    The thing is, I think the ALP are probably happy to fight Turnball in the center and will make him look like the newbie that he is.

    But, the absolutely fantastic thing about a Turnball-led Liberal party will be the disunity that it will bring. He will try to drag them to the centre and will be continually undermined by Abbott and others of the NSW right. What’s more Costello will be hanging around on the backbench and he will pounce when Turnball looks weak. The Libs could be a disaster this term.

  11. GregM says:

    Mick , it’s “Turnbull”, not “Turnball”, unless you are making some esoteric joke that is going over my head.

  12. mick says:

    Nope GregM. It was just a typo.

  13. mick says:

    Which I did many times. Geez, that’s a bit lame. I even thought it didn’t look right when I wrote it.

  14. Craig Mc says:

    If you’re making a book on by-elections you’d want to add Tony Abbott. He’s looked like he’s had enough of this shit for at least a year now. Every time I’ve seen him doing a presser when he’s cranky I can see him thinking “If I was earning $250k a year in the corporate world, I wouldn’t have to deal with these idiots, and I could have my weekends back”.

    As to where the Democrats went wrong, well let me count the ways:

    1. Their supporters getting themselves into a tizz over Lees’ backing of a GST, which she said she would before the 99 election. Like it was some big back-stabbing when she said beforehand if the government was returned she’d support the tax.

    2. Selecting a light-weight show pony to replace Lees, who had more brains than the rest of her party combined.

    3. The inevitable tearing away of support from the middle party as the electorate polarised.

    4. The suicidal lurch to the left in the vain hope that it would provide some sanctuary for a minor party in those times.

    5. Getting pissed and majorly fucking up in public.

  15. Graham Bell says:

    But I would rather note the vastly greater number of things that the party did right and the very many positive impacts it has had. It is a legislative and political legacy that will live on for a long time – albeit in ways that will probably be mostly unacknowledged

  16. Graham Bell says:

    Robert Merkel:

    [Ooops. accidently hit “submit” button before. Sorry]

    Andrew Bartlett was absolutely right when he said ” “….But I would rather note the vastly greater number of things that the party did right and the very many positive impacts it has had. It is a legislative and political legacy that will live on for a long time – albeit in ways that will probably be mostly unacknowledged. ….” ”

    I disagree with ex-senator Cherry’s stand that the problems of the Democrats were all to do with leadership. They weren’t. They had leadership in spades; more than did Liberals, Labor and Nationals. Their problems came from their own RANK-AND-FILE – arrogance, laziness and an aversion to being proactive. That, and their distain for war veterans, is why I would NEVER join them despite being in tune with most of their policies and practices.

    Senator Andrew Bartlett is open-minded, compassionate, vigorous, hard-working and proactive. He would be make an excellent Prime Minister; thank goodness we still have him as a Senator for several months.

    His worst and most inexplicable political mistake was in tackling Pauline Hanson head-on instead of displacing her as the political activist who would stand up against Aussie-bashing and thereby winning her supporters over to his cause. He could have done that very successfully while taking a positive and strong stand against intolerance and encouraging them to follow his example. Still, nobody’s perfect.

  17. Ambigulous says:

    Turnball – not bad, if it refers to rotating testes; looks a bit like “line ball” but with a hint of “turncoat”; a cheeky young drop….

    at the very least you can credit Turnball for being prepared to roll up his sleeves and do some difficult work for his party in the next 3 years. It’s hard to imagine JWH would have spat the dummy in these circumstances, like his “loyal deputy” has. JWH soldiered on when he was personally unpopular, under the weird Joh-for-Canberra bushfire, etc.

    If the Libs go back to Downer, they can only expect Things That Shatter, All That Clatter, and a Jolly Unpleasant Time.

    Tony Abbott? Shurely shome mishtake, Mr Barman…

  18. Guy says:

    To be honest, I can’t see any one in the shell-shocked Liberal camp at the moment besides Malcolm Turnbull who would be a realistic threat.

    Downer would be bringing too much baggage with him. Abbott would be far too extreme and divisive. Perhaps someone like Nelson would be good for them.

  19. Craig Mc says:

    I know he gets no credit here, but anyone I know who has met the man comes away impressed with Nelson. I think it’s a monty that Turnbull will get the nod.

  20. Paul Burns says:

    Nelson is pretty extreme and a thoroughly unpleasant person. I’ll never forget his education debate on SBS some years ago when he talked over the top of everybody and at great lengthy fir a consideraqble time and SBS employees (I won’t dignify them with the name of journalists were too cowardly to shut him up.Probably just the kind of person this pack of right wing ideologues would piuck, with Turnbull being made deputy as a sop.

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