Kevin Rudd could be forgiven for feeling a little smug about the poll results right now. He's currently the most popular Opposition leader since 1975, with a five point advantage over John Howard as preferred Prime Minister. And, even better news, Labor are ahead of the government 58-42 percent on a two-party preferred basis.
I'll bet when Mr Rudd was growing up, he never expected to have the expression "most popular" used about him. Let's face it, the man is a little...well, as the comedians have been asking, "Is Australia ready for a Prime Minister named Kevin?" Apparently, the mood is "Yes".
Does this really mean anything though? After all, Mr Rudd hasn't really done a lot since he became leader; parliament has been in recess nearly the entire time. People are just sick of John Howard. I don't mean sick of the arrogance and selfishness and lies; that's nothing new, and people voted Liberal before. It's just plain old boredom after eleven years of the same old.
Although I have the greatest sympathy for Americans having to put up with George W. as president, at least they know it's only for eight years, maximum; in 631 days, he will be gone. In Australia, John Howard could theoretically remain PM for another 10, 15 years, and there's not a darn thing those of us who don't like him can do about it.
That's pessimistic, but it's going to take a lot more than excellent poll results to lure me out of my election agnostic's beliefs. I just can't forget the Mark Latham hype last time around, which made the defeat of 2004 all the more devastating.
Speak of the devil....
John Howard, never one to let a chance for publicity to go by, has come out attacking Barack Obama, saying that Mr Obama's plan to withdraw troops from Iraq would "encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq to hang on and hope for an Obama victory".
Mr Obama has dismissed these comments as empty rhetoric...and they are. I suppose Howard thinks there are large numbers of potential voters in the U.S. who carefully analyse what Howard is saying before making a decision. Either that, or Howard remembers George W. Bush's attack on Mark Latham prior to the 2004 election and thought, "Me too!"
Either way - Mr Obama, Howard's comments do not reflect the opinions of this Australian, at least. (I want Hillary to win in 2008, but that's just because I think either of you would make a fine president, and you are young enough to run in a later campaign.) Anyway, we're talking about a man who described the farcical execution of Saddam as a "great victory for Iraq"...
And John - don't you have an aged care package to work on? (Maybe you've worked out that you're wasting your time - they're going to vote for you anyway).