Things are getting better for those of us counting the days till the Federal election. Not only is Labor still ahead in the polls (actually posting about that this year seems as useful as posting about the weather - it's just happening and what else can one say?) but it's now getting personal.
According to a leaked document from the Coalition's own polling firm, showing many voters now believe Howard is too old and not to be trusted. They see Rudd as "compassionate, human, genuine and likeable", whilst the Coalition is seen as stading for "broken promises and dishonesty".
What's suprising is, this is news? It's been what myself and a lot of other people have been saying for years. Howard isn't doing anything radically different now from what he's done before - he's always been a **** (insert whatever word you like at this stage, adding more letters if necessary). So what has happened to change the average voter's mind?
The tagline for elections is "Australia decides", but in truth, it's the swinging voters who decide. With compulsory voting, the apathetic and the misunderstanding have their say, same as the rest of us; and whilst those of us who spend a lot of mental time* on politics tend to have pretty fixed views on the issues, it's the "(usually) don't know, don't care" brigade who are open to change, and therefore have the future of the country in their hands.
The cliche that's been rolled out is that these people are not so much against Howard, but for Rudd. It's almost certainly true. Something has caused the voters to see Howard lately as a sneaky, lying weasel, and it can't be the contrast between now and his principled, forthright behaviour before (lest we forget, the nickname "honest John" was originally bestowed in irony). Any novelty act can draw a crowd for a while - after all, Mark Latham enjoyed some impressive poll numbers prior to the 2004 election. But with Rudd, it looks like there might be a little more substance to all this. We'll have to see how the fickle minds of the swinging voters tend in the months ahead.
Anyway, John Howard isn't going to take this lying down, though at his age, he probably should. But no, the tactic he's going for is to blame the states (run by the scary Labor governemnts) for all the woes facing Australia. Morris Iemma says this proves that Howard is losing it (thanks Mr Iemma, it's nice to know you're reading).
You might be wondering about the addition of a Kevin 07 button in the sidebar. Well, go have a look at the site. The whole thing is just so Cute, so cheerful and Generation Y (all the things that I, and Australian politics, are not) I simply had to add it. It's not that I don't applaud them for trying, and Lord knows Kevin 07 is better than the alternative. But let's face it, anything this embarrassing has to have kitsch value.
*And I use this term advisedly.