Friday, September 19, 2008

Sarah Palin continued

To provide some vindication for my previous position on the appropriateness of the choice of Sarah Palin, I would like to highlight the results of the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll. According to a report in the Melbourne Age ('Palin effect losing its momentum', 19/09/08), "the poll suggested that Mrs Palin's selection has, to date, helped Senator McCain only among Republican base voters; there was no evidence of significantly increased support for him among female voters in general. Before the conventions, Senator McCain led Senator Obama among white women, 44% to 37%. White women are now evenly divided between senators McCain and Obama."

These figures would suggest that my previous predictions on Palin being unable to mobilise the centre are being realised.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moving forward

Following the election of an avowed republican (Malcolm Turnbull) to the leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia, it is hoped that Australia can move quickly to cut her remaining ties with the British crown.

It is an anachronism that a modern prosperous nation in the Asia-Pacific region has a British head of state who has the power to act against the Australian "national interest". I would highlight frequent statements by the heir to the Australian/British crown in support of the European Common Agricultural Policy as direct evidence of Australia's/Britain's royal family acting against Australian interests. It is time for this to end.

As the leaders of Australia's largest political parties are both republicans, Australia should now move expeditiously through the necessary series of consultations, plebiscites and referendums that will be required to finally establish Australia's complete independence.

Brendan Nelson

An edited version of this letter appeared in The Australian on 17 September 2008. I reproduce the full version here for your reading pleasure.

I am not in the habit of praising members of the Liberal Party of Australia. However, I shall make an exception today: I would like to express admiration for the way that Brendan Nelson managed the leadership of the Liberal Party for the short time that he held the position.

Dr Nelson was handed the poisoned chalice of the leadership of a defeated and demoralised party that was suffering a hangover from the malign influence of John Howard. His political opponent was enjoying an opulent electoral honeymoon. Nelson was elected to the leadership as an interim option who would be disposed of by his own party at some point in the near future. Right from the very start, challengers to his position were licking their lips hungrily as they waited impatiently to pick at his political carcass and claim the dubious spoils of Liberal leadership.

In this challenging environment, Nelson managed to forge a small degree of party unity and was able to score a few relatively effective political points on some of the government's sillier schemes, such as Fuel Watch. Most importantly, however, Nelson seemed to maintain his good humour and civility throughout his tenure.

At the end of the day Nelson failed to damage the credibility of the government in the eyes of a star struck electorate. However, I ask myself, "Would anyone else have done better given the circumstances?" I conclude that the answer to this question is "no" and it would have been highly unlikely that any other leader would have maintained such decorum as Dr Nelson in the process. It is for these reasons that I give polite applause to Dr Nelson as his term as Liberal leader comes to an end.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah Palin

Much has been made of the perception among Republicans that Sarah Palin, the prospective Vice President, is being targeted by the liberal left media because she is a woman. I would argue, to the contrary, that Sarah Palin is targeted by the liberal left media because she is a retrogressive conservative who thinks the role of the state should extend to the bedroom. I think that the vituperation from the liberal left would have been equally intense had McCain chosen a similarly retrogressive man.

It is a great shame that John McCain was talked out of selecting a more moderate candidate such as Joe Lieberman. From a strategic stand point, such a choice would seem to be more appropriate given Lieberman's ability to attract disillusioned Hillary Clinton voters. It should be remembered that the Republican party, in the immediate post-Bush era, will have more of a problem mobilising the centre rather than the right. As it is, I am sure that the Hillary supporters who may have considered voting for McCain are now quickly bracing themselves to support Barack Obama.

As a soft supporter of an Obama presidency, I am comfortable with the choice of Palin for the ticket. Although I would like to have been able to say that there were four quality candidates on the combined Democratic Republican tickets, I can now only say that there are three. I am hopeful that this small disappointment will only enhance the chances for Obama's success come November.