Me too, too

I just got the edited highlights of Howard’s policy launch, but the commentary confirmed my impression that the main initiatives (tax-favoured savings accounts for homebuyers, rebates for parents of school students, money for childcare centres) were ripoffs of policies announced by Rudd earlier in the campaign. This kind of “me too, too, only more so” approach seems to be tactically and politically silly for a lot of reasons.

1. These policies didn’t exactly set the electorate ablaze with enthusiasm when Rudd announced them

2. The government’s version is more expensive in each case, but it’s hard to believe at this stage in the campaign that many voters are doing careful calculations of the hip-pocket impact of each new policy

3. “Me too” makes some kind of sense for Rudd – he’s way ahead and just has to avoid scaring the horses to win. Conversely, Howard needs to shake things up by announcing something Rudd can’t possibly match, say (I hope), cash rewards for anyone denouncing foreigners they suspect of being “illegals”

4. One of the government’s best remaining lines is to pin the “me too” label on Rudd, so the last thing they want to do is take it for themselves

5. Rudd gets to move last, so he can now announce something different, probably on climate change, that the government can’t credibly match, leaving them with the worst of all possible worlds

6. Deliberately left blank for you to fill in

7. I’m pretty much a politics junkie and I’m bored witless by the campaign. I just want Nov 24 to come so I can vote these guys out. I’m even more bored now, and less willing to listen to anything. I imagine lots of other voters feel the same.

34 thoughts on “Me too, too

  1. ‘You have forgotten “Asian Invasionâ€? graffitti ”

    I certainly haven’t forgotten Howard encouraging it.

    Your persistence in the belief that Howard is a Machiavellian multiculturalist, rather than the narrow-minded believer in the political value of coded appeals to racism that the rest of us see does you credit Jack. But, with any luck, in 12 days time we can leave this dispute to history.

  2. “But, with any luck, in 12 days time we can leave this dispute to history.”

    Unfortunately not.

    Even when Howard is gone, Howard-lite Kevin Andrews will still be there, as will many little Howards in the Liberal party, and in the country generally.

    The process of de-Howardification will take some time. But it is a task that must not be shirked.

  3. “I reckon Rudd is just as socially conservative as he is saying he is, it’s no front at all.”

    Like Sam I actually know Kev Rudd – I worked briefly for him in the Queensland Office of Cabinet.

    Unless he’s changed radically in the past decade, you are mistaken, wilful.

    Nor is Rudd being dishonest. He may not have made his views on the republic, reconciliation or gay rights central to his campaign but neither has he repudiated them.

  4. Oh and Jack the “illegal people smuggling trade” is not out of business.

    It continues on its merry way exploiting tourist visas and study visas as it has for decades.

  5. Unless he’s changed radically in the past decade, you are mistaken, wilful.

    Good to hear, though I was sure I’d heard differently with regards to gay rights. And the Republic and reconciliation are mainstream conservative – the only person who doesn’t like them is about to be consigned to history.

  6. Ian Gould – agreed.

    Organised people smuggling takes placed via authorised boat entries and plane arrivals, often using forged and/or fraudulent documentation.

  7. It continues on its merry way exploiting tourist visas and study visas as it has for decades.

    It’s just that the people traffickers are now respectable suited (white) ‘immigration agents’ and not Indonesian fishermen. That’s why they’re not under attack any more.

    At my university alone we graduate about 2000 accountants every year and there’s STILL a shortage of accountants. I wonder how many of our graduates were just paying money to “jump the queue”. It seems that not a lot of them are working as accountants anyway.

  8. After reading this passage from the HitchHikers Guide many years ago politics now makes sense.

    Ford is talking to Arthur after a spaceship landed on Harrods:

    “”It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…”

    “You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?”

    “No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

    “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

    “I did,” said ford. “It is.”

    “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”

    “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”

    “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

    “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?””

    Basically it is just a case of voting for the better lizard and drinking a lot of gin.

    Douglas Adams had a lot to say about accountants as well.

  9. Excellent commentary.
    When do you think there will be any serious focus on the Senate battle?
    With 65 candidates putting up their hand to have a go they deserve some opportunity to share with those who want information.
    I advocate there should be a page on the AEC web site that gives each candidate 50 words to explain what is motivating them to stand.
    My bias … Let’s make election day Independents Day … remove the opportunity for the political cartels to keep abusing the Senate.
    How many current Queensland Senators can anyone name or have an idea what they believe is important?

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