Heaps of commentators are really getting stuck into Defence Minister Stephen Smith, saying he should resign for his shockin' treatment of Commodore Bruce Kafer. Hell, even Mike Carlton is of this mind. Now that's saying something!
It's pretty clear that Smith dislikes his job and the military itself. That has a lot to do with why he's botched this particular issue big time. But he also seems to possess a more general lack of intuition and common sense that I find really quite strange.
He's long struck me as being a very cold, humourless character who takes himself enormously seriously. From his demeanour he certainly seems professional but as this issue in particular has borne out he can overreact wildly and doggedly insist on the least sensible option. The cool, competent persona is just a mask. It really makes you wonder about what's going on in his head.
That's a problem with so many of the most powerful people in Labor. Take Rudd and Gillard. One is narcissistic, the other is duplicitous in the extreme. They've just had this amazing stoush over nothing more than personal ambition that has damaged the party's reputation hugely. And they don't seem to give a tinker's about that!
Political leaders right across the spectrum are all going to be highly ambitious, of course. But in all other areas of life you'd hope that most would be comparatively well adjusted. How else would they be able to connect and communicate with the voters apart from anything else? I mean, you wouldn't expect them to be full-on weirdos now would you?
You'd think that intra-Labor competition and selection processes would weed out people with such obvious personality flaws as Smith, Gillard and Rudd -- or at least not let them progress too far up the greasy pole. But the opposite seems to have happened. It really makes you wonder what the hell is going on in that party.