Who is writing John Howard's material, the Exclusive Brethren? In his speech to the Institute of Public Affairs yesterday (PM continues attack on Labor's economic credentials), he suggested fertility rates would be lower and divorce rates higher under Labor. He also reiterated the word "socialism" over and over again.
I fully expected this to be prominent in today's dailies. Not a word that I'm aware of.
These are the ravings of a lunatic. Will we see John Howard standing behind a pulpit by the end of this campaign? Will Kevin Rudd do a me-too behind his own pulpit?
We were also treated to John Howard's shifty eyes as he performed contortions over the semantics of "sorry" and "apology". Samantha Maiden's Spin Cycle (Sorry, that was no apology) is a treat:
It's nice to say sorry to home owners for interest rate rises but it’s probably best for John Howard not to insult voters by denying his words represented an apology.
The Prime Minister tripped in a test of his own political logic yesterday.
He was thinking more about the debate over whether he should “say sorry” for the stolen generation than interest rates when The Australian’s Dennis Shanahan snookered him with the question: “Mr Howard, if you’re not responsible for the interest rates rise, why did you apologise for it?”
The Prime Minister responded with an insight into Howardese: “Well, I said that I was sorry they’d occurred. I don’t think I actually used the word ‘apology’.
That's when his eyes shifted and his face betrayed that giveaway hint of pride over having gotten away with it; in fact, with just about every lie he's ever uttered. Then, he said, his voice cynically oily:
“I think there is a difference between the two things. I think we’ve been through that debate before, haven’t we, in the context of something?”
"Something" in this context is a word that means nothing, which is his view of the real meaning of Aboriginal reconciliation. Samantha continues:
Perhaps realising the hole he had climbed into, Mr Howard rapidly recited the value of the Government’s tax cuts, suggesting they would more than cancel out the effect of the rate rise.
His “hands up, you got me” body language suggested all the contrition of Tony Abbott on day one of his “apology” to asbestos disease sufferer Bernie Banton. “Now, I am, you know, we’re to blame for the strong economy,” Mr Howard said, sarcastically. “We accept full responsibility for having a strong economy.”
The television images were terrible, giving a glimpse of just how tricky with words he can be. Much of the value of those front-page “sorry” newspaper stories and television news was wiped out.
By last night, the Prime Minister was accusing Labor of “playing silly word games”, of inventing the whole “sorry” business “to divert attention from the fact they don’t have an economic policy to put downward pressure on inflation and interest rates”.
Apologies, home owners - saying sorry for interest rate hikes turned out to be non-core.
I just hope I don't croak from a heart attack before the lying rodent is wiped from the face of the electoral earth.