Watched The Project the other night -- well, watched it for as long as I could bear (limit: about a minute and a half) -- and the airheaded whippersnappers were bemoaning the fact that much of the meeja coverage of the upcoming election was focusing on the personalities of Rudd and Abbott over more substantial policy issues.
This was pretty funny coming from them. The show itself is pure "heat 'n' eat". Each issue gets an ultra-slick, ultra-swift, ultra-simplistic and predictably PC treatment -- then onto the next. Their adoring audience of sneering hipsters are in no doubt about which positions they're expected to hold, and which are deemed way uncool. And coolness is all they care about anyway ...
But back to their point: Firstly, I think there has been a great deal of policy analysis in the meeja. You just have to look for it. And if you boil it all down now as we head into the campaign home stretch it's very clear what each major party is all about. Basically the Libs offer small, responsible government and are therefore aiming for the adult vote. Nanny-statist Labor, on the other hand, just want to keep power at all costs, and are desperately courting cretins.
Most Aussies have figured this out. And now as they prepare to cast their votes they're looking very closely at the two leaders' psychological make-up. Rupert's tabloids in particular are well attuned to the zeitgeist and are responding to this heightened interest. Hence their focus on the make-up lady story and Abbott's "shut up" comment.
The character of the leader is certainly not the most important factor in most voters' decision making process. But it's a biggie -- as it should be. And I think Aussie voters have pretty much made up their minds about Rudd. They've realized that for all his talk about having changed, he's still the same two-faced, narcissistic, bullying asshat that they were ready to kick out back in 2010 -- just before the faceless men did it for them.
And Abbott? Well, I think for ages they believed the leftie-luvvie lie about him being a woman-hating, puritanical thug simply because it was repeated so often. Now that he's been in the public eye much more frequenty and in many different contexts I think they've been pleasantly surprised and many have changed their minds about him. Interestingly, he's now the most Googled pollie in Oz. Clearly a lot of people are trying to find out as much as they can about him so they can decide for themselves what he's really like.
As Rudd falls in their estimation, Abbott enjoys a commensurate rise in their affection and interest. As a result, it looks almost certain that the Abbott haters' worst nightmare is coming true. The man they loathe more than anything will now be PM!
What a laugh! If he does win on September 7 their complete and utter despair will be the icing on the cake for me and many, many others.