Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Base motivation

We are at the point now where political pundits have to make up reasons why Tony Abbott does things. Andrew Elder has a lash:
As I've said before, when Tony Abbott gets into trouble he will reach out to his base on the far right, and that's why he offered Prince Phillip the knighthood. 
The only problem with this analysis is that the far right now hates his guts so much that this has only made things worse with them. The relevant Catallaxy Files thread is almost wall to wall with exasperation, you can hear the heavy sighs from here. There is a lot of talk about the base in that thread, which is an American phrase that nonetheless describes something locally real. By the way, I am not holding up that site as "the base", only "a base". There are others:
Tony's lost Rupert, as well as Miranda, Tim Blair, Chris Kenny, and probably Andrew Bolt when he returns from holidays. That's the News Ltd faction offside, good job there. Then there's the 3AW demographic:
Mr Abbott responded: "What is the specific problem, is there a policy thing you don't agree with?"
"Prime Minister, it's the way you do things, like the Medicare thing, with the education, you've done so many backflips, people don't know where you are going and business is saying there are roadblocks because there is no direction and no leadership … as a Liberal voter, I don't particularly like you," Andrew replied.
Ouch. That's not relaxed or comfortable, it's aggravation and rage. Many pundits can't resist the temptation to frame the market for the seemingly inevitable #libspill, including John Quiggin. The motivation for doing so in some quarters is hoping that the resultant chaos will lead magically to the enactment of the pundit's pet policies; in Quiggin's case, this means Julie Bishop somehow singlehandedly reversing the global movement by the right over the last decade to climate change denialism.

Don't worry though, I've had such thoughts too. I mean, if he's going to lose anyway and he has no other options, why shouldn't Abbott dive bum first into the too-hard-basket and wrestle generational problems like negative gearing and superannuation? He's going to be punished by the electorate and the media no matter what he does at this point, so he might as well build a legacy of policy that will be respected in ages to come.

Of course, that's not what Abbott is about. He is an old fashioned Tory who doesn't particularly like economics, and now has the misfortune of short term economic forecasts not liking him. His only chance is to hang on and play his negative sum game until some externality comes along. Now that OPSOB has meant that all the SIEVs from I through X and beyond means there won't be another Tampa situation, it would have to be something else more serious. A lovely little war? Who knows. That's why we're just pundits and not billionaires.

UPDATE: Yep, lost BoltA too.

1 comment:

  1. Tony has always had poor political judgement and a propensity for hyperbole it is just most people didn't see this when they thought the previous government was cactus.

    He did not have a wonderful record as a mere minister either.

    Why are people surprised?
    It is just there are few pretenders. Bishop was hopeless when shadow Treasurer. Morrison is now ensconced in a department which will see him lose any profile.
    No-one is going back Turnbull.