Sunday, September 10, 2006

Why Australia's Howard is Loved Here

Mark Steyn says this:

In other words, the more the gulf widens between the Government's multiculti PC pap and the obvious truth, the more the state risks de-legitimising itself in the eyes of the citizenry. Tony Blair has a good pitch when he's surveying the distant horizon and the big picture and doing his Tone of Arabia routine, but he hasn't yet managed to find a line on the homegrown jihad that resonates with his electorate. If I ran the speechwriting departments in the White House and Downing Street, Howard's bloke's-eye view would be the working template.
Bush seems to believe that he can't say what Howard says because he is the "leader of the free world" and it would be irresponsible to label extreme anything "dangerous." Personally, I think it's dangerous to play politically correct. After a while people get fuzzy and tired because the leadership rhetoric is fuzzy and tired.

In the US, Republicans are meant to be the daddy party but Bush's riffs on Islam ("religion of peace") and illegal immigration ("family values don't stop at the Rio Grande") are almost all mommy talk and despised as intellectually dishonest by many conservatives.

So how does Howard, with a 100per cent turnout and all those supposed moderates to woo, get away with the daddy talk? Australians are not ostentatiously right-wing or even terribly conservative. But it seems that when you toss the entire electorate into the voting booth, there's a big market among the not especially partisan for a party that disdains political correctness.

Alexander Downer's contempt for "lowest common denominator multilateralism" isn't especially right-wing or left-wing: outside the ABC studios and universities and assorted ethnic grievance-mongers, it's an unexceptional observation. So Australia has, if not quite publicly, suspended the absurd deference to postmodern sovereignty that characterises the UN era. By comparison with Washington, it's honest about and comfortable with a modest, qualified neo-imperialism throughout the Pacific's "arc of instability". The Americans could learn a lot from the policy as well as from the Aussies' ease with it.

My question: Is Bush being intellectually dishonest or does he really believe the silly platitudes he spouts. I have tended to ignore them as anything meaninful and assumed he says some of these things to placate the political class. Maybe he really does believe the nonsense. Maybe that's why he won't come to the American people speaking sense.

But you know what? When he talks plain (and to the Left sounds like a cowboy--yee ha!), he talks best. Save the politically correct, morally vapid stupid talk for Chirac and the French. They enjoy it. They want it. It works for them.

It doesn't work in the U.S. except for the Washington insiders, intellectual elites and they very nearly uniformly despise Bush. What has he got to lose? Does he worry if he has a Howard moment, it will be like flashing a red cloth in front of a bull? Please. The Left likes to snort, but manly, "daddy", talk gets them all defensive and whiney. They hardly seem dangerous. Which is exactly how they are--dithering and ineffectual.

W, you walk like a man. I wish you'd talk like one more often.

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