||Issue No. 316||21 July 2006|
Interview: The Month Of Living Dangerously
Unions: Staying Mum
Economics: Precious Metals
Industrial: The Cold 100
History: The Vinegar Hill Mob
Legal: Free Agents
Politics: Under The Influence
International: How Swede It Was
Review: Keating's Men Slam Dance on Howard
The Locker Room
Sick of Ants
Praise from Belly
Vic Fingerhut earned his stripes amidst the stars of the US political constellation but what he's saying isn't exactly rocket science.
With a bit of license, it can be summarised like this - accentuate your positives and downplay your negatives.
Research, polling and election results have shown him that some issues are ours and some issues are theirs. No matter the quality of the candidate, it seems, the Right wins, in societies like ours, on managing the economy but, if you frame the question as managing the economy for ordinary folk, the good guys clean up.
The trick, apparently, is to get Kim Beazley comfortable with the phrase 'working people' because that's where he's strong.
Another part of this received wisdom is that the Right nails us on security. It's their issue, their territory, where our representatives should tread warily.
Which, frankly, is great news because if John Howard can be so abysmally inept at his strong suit imagine the possibilities when Kim, Bob and the Democrats get him on their turf.
Howard has won elections on his ability to talk the security talk. But, over this term, he has had the chance to walk and blown it.
Border security has been outsourced, on the one hand to the Indonesians and, on the other, to migration agents flooding the country with cheap labour.
After decades of tyrannical Saddam Hussein rule, a light went on in Washington, the same town, incidentally, that armed and propped him up for years.
Howard, of course, was in furious agreement and sanctions were imposed. Trouble is, his mates at the AWB, saw things differently and elected to prime the pump of trade.
Howard sent young Australians to war on the lie of weapons of mass destruction and it wasn't even his own lie. Worse, though, when one of them lost his life the country couldn't even return the right body to the grieving family.
Last week's embarrassment over the ship that wasn't in Beirut was cringe-worthy. Hundreds of Aussies - men women and kids - told by government representatives they were on their way out of a killing zone and the boat didn't even show up.
"Gazzumped" Downer harrumphed.
The problem for the feds in the blood and destruction being visited on the Lebanon is not just that they can't protect their own people. After all, Lebanon is a long way away and Australia is not a super power.
It's that thousands of Aussies, through no fault of their own, are in a hell sanctioned by their elected representatives.
When Washington shrugged its shoulders at the size of the Israeli attack, Minnie Me just couldn't help himself and went on television to give it the green light.
The Emperor's become an embarrassment.
- Jim Marr
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