President Bush’s broad swath of electoral destruction isn’t limited to domestic politics:
Conservative Prime Minister John Howard suffered a humiliating defeat Saturday at the hands of the left-leaning opposition, whose leader has promised to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdraw Australia’s combat troops from Iraq.
Labor Party head Kevin Rudd’s pledges on global warming and Iraq move Australia sharply away from policies that had made Howard one of President Bush’s staunchest allies….
“The United States and Australia have long been strong partners and allies and the president looks forward to working with this new government to continue our historic relationship,” said Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman. “During his time as prime minister, Mr. Howard served the people of Australia well by pursuing policies that led to strong economic growth and a commitment to keeping Australians safe by fighting extremists and their ideology around the world.”
The election was an embarrassing end to the career of Howard, Australia’s second-longest serving leader. As little as a year ago, Howard had appeared almost unassailable. But on Saturday he was in real danger of becoming only the second sitting prime minister in 106 years of federal government to lose his own seat in Parliament.
Very little has changed on the so-called global warming front in the past year, so the likely conclusion is that, like the Republican loss of the House and Senate in 2006, the Australian Prime Minister is another casualty of the neocons’ Grim Struggle Against Victorious Elections.
The amazing thing is how many intelligent Republicans whose political judgment I usually respect continue to behave like functional idiots in insisting on continuing to support this political suicide pact. It will be interesting to see their response after they lose the White House as well as the House and Senate. Will they finally wake up, or will they follow the neocons’s lead and leap onto Hillary’s bandwagon?
UPDATE – Mary Steyn fails to note the obvious:
Of all the doughty warriors of the Anglosphere, Howard, his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and their colleagues had the best rhetoric on the present war, and I often wished the Bush Administration had emulated their plain speaking.
And now they’re booted out of power… such an unlooked-for surprise!