The more I learn about Turnbull, the more it seems to me that Brendan Nelson diagnosed him correctly: he's a narcissist. Take that vicious and imperious put-down of Pauline Hanson a coupla days back:
"Pauline Hanson is not a welcome presence on the Australian political scene - remember she was chucked out of the Liberal party," the prime minister told reporters in Sydney today.
I reckon heaps of people who read or heard that comment (maybe even a majority of them) would have thought "Who the hell does this tosser think he is?" or raised an eyebrow at the very least. And that's not just those who sympathize with her, BTW. Even many people who hate her guts would have been alarmed by it.
That's because anyone with a sense of fair play knows that the essence of democracy is that everyone, no matter what their background, should be able to have a crack at a seat. It's up to the people to decide who represents them, not some supercilious silvertail.
Just as nobody should be above the law in a fair society, everyone should be able to participate in elections. But Turnbull was clearly presuming to speak for the political establishment, like some kinda self-appointed Zues of Mt Canberra!
Goes without saying that pissing off the voters is a bad strategy in politics. Which is why I think that utterance will have done Turnbull significant damage. It was a real glimpse into the dark inner workings of his character.
Sure, there have been several of those. The knifing of Abbott was the most spectacular, of course. But that was validated by the complicity of all those spineless Liberal MPs who betrayed their elected leader.
This little unguarded moment, however, was Turnbull's alone. While it wasn't as alarming as Mark Latham's notoriously aggro handshake with JHo it was in the same general ballpark, I reckon.
This revelation along with numerous others -- such as his refusal to attend a solemn and significant military ceremony -- are accumulating in the public's consciousness. The voters are slowly but surely getting a handle on this guy. And they are really starting to dislike him.