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Kevin07s election strategy: just stand for nothing

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Thursday, 30 August 2007


Note to the reader: throughout the review, the word “liberal” is used in the American sense of the word to denote left wingers, or “progressives” as the politically correct may say. And “Democrats” refers to the United States Democrats and not the spent embers of what was once Don Chip’s august party.

Former CBS News correspondent, Mr Bernard Goldberg’s Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve gives an insight into how the Republicans lost the 2006 mid term elections and how Kevin Rudd is exploiting the Democrats’ strategy in his election campaign to win office.

Towards the end of the book, Mr Goldberg explains how the Republicans lost and, given the strong parallels between the electoral strategies of the Democrats in 2006 and that of Kevin Rudd’s ALP, taken together with current polling, his revelations may prove to be very prophetic indeed for our federal election.

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Goldberg claims that the Republicans lost because of several factors: the conflict in Iraq; corruption; out of control spending; and a belief (among the right) that the party had deserted its principles. But those issues were really just side dishes. The main course was the tactic employed by the opposition Democratic Party. The party ran on just one big issue “We’re not Bush” - and it was more than enough to win. Proving you really can beat someone with nothing.

Goldberg recounts his many meetings with conservatives who grew angry with the Republican Party. Democrats of course were always angry with Republicans, but during the 2006 campaign, the Democrats tried to minimise the differences with their political opponents and at all times kept well hidden from view all those in the party who, while representing the very essence of liberal Democratic values, would likely sully the party’s “moderate” veneer. (Oh yoo hoo, Mr Garrett, where are you)?

The Democrats realised that indeed they could fool some of the people all of the time.

Take just one example.

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat Congresswoman from San Francisco - and now Speaker of the House - was missing in action in the days prior to the election, no doubt so that the less sophisticated blue collar voters would not cotton on to what an ardent socialist she really is, and possibly reconsider voting for the Democrats. Aping the Democrats, surprise, surprise, the Shadow Environment spokesman, Peter Garrett, seems to have developed laryngitis on the controversial matter of the Tasmanian pulp mill.

The Democrats did their best to muzzle unattractive voices in the Party. The only screw up was letting former presidential candidate Mr John Kerry - the guy who married a multi millionairess - blather blissfully about how only “dumb ass” Americans who fail at school wind up in Iraq. Immediately the Democratic leadership swooped on his wife’s citadel in an upmarket corner of Boston, and tossed the heiress’ husband into a padded cell. For the good of the party mind you.

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It seems the ALP has copied this tactic by muzzling two vociferous advocates of Islam: Ms Tanya Plibersek (Member for Sydney, or is it Member for Shari’a?) and Ms Julia Irwin (Member for Fowler, or is it Member for Mecca?). It’s bad enough for Rudd’s ALP that some of us clearly remember that his party conferred citizenship on the scoundrel Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali. But it’s another thing altogether for the ALP to remind the public that there isn’t a shawarma separating it from Islam. All in all ... smart move Kevin!

The Democrats, a party littered with far left types, pretended they were not the party of far left types at all. And even without one sensible new idea about anything, they won. And the same thing could happen here. So very easily. Just look at the polls in the Prime Minister’s own seat of Bennelong, where the front runner, telegenic Maxine McKew, is not only way ahead on the polls but proudly stands for nothing.

While Goldberg exposes both sides of politics with equal energy, it’s clear that the attacks on liberals involve far, far more substantive issues. Issues such as:

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Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve by Bernard Goldberg, HarperCollins;(April, 2007) 288 pages US$25.95.



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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at jonathan@chinamail.com.

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