John Howard and the Curse of Bush


As I heard the news of the demise of the Right-wing Coalition in the Polish Elections and its’ replacement by a new regime committed to withdrawal from Iraq, I wondered if the fall of yet another of Bush’s allies was a bad omen for John Howard, whose Australian coalition faces the voters on November 24.

In recent days a spate of catastrophic polls all showing Howard and his conservative allies far behind the resurgent Labor Party, all raise the question: is there a malevolent spirit–one of the ancient Furies perhaps–pursuing all those politician who were foolish enough, or dishonest enough, to follow Bush into Iraq, and is Howard to be the next victim ?

Consider the list: Aznar in Spain; Berlusconi in Italy; and of course, the invincible Tony Blair. All gone. All swept away in each case by a massive loss of popularity. Now the Furies have swept away the odious right-wingers in Poland, who had become so despised by Poles across Europe that their doom was sealed by an army of absentee Polish voters in places as far away as Dublin.

This leaves John Howard as just about the last man standing from that band of warriors who stood with Bush on the eve of Shock and Awe.

Actually most of them have been shocked and awed by their own demise in the days that have followed, as undoubtedly now is John Howard as he faces the polls, a day of judgment that he delayed for as long as possible!

A passionate admirer of Bush from their first meeting, Howard has been engulfed by a perfect firestorm of problems. A disastrous nationwide drought has sent food prices soaring, and put global warming on the electoral agenda. Howard, an old fashioned climate change sceptic, has coped badly with the debate, not helped by the huge crowds who flocked to see the Al Gore film–or Gore himself, who was mobbed by huge crowds on his several visits to Australia. Howard , typically, snubbed Gore and refused to see the film: "An Inconvenient Truth."

Public opinion in Australia was always against the war in Iraq. Now Howard is talking of withdrawing the Australian troops there to a "safe" place, there to be engaged with "training Iraqi forces", apparently a safe activity!

In recent days as the debate has turned to the possibility of an attack by Bush/Cheney gang on Iran, Howard has said Australia will have no part in any strike on Iran– a far cry from his once enthusiastic support of the doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against all and sundry, which earned him the derisory nickname of Bush’s "Deputy Sheriff" in the Asian-Pacific region.

Now as the polls approach, Howard is caught in the unpopular position of overseeing a rise in housing interest rates, which conflicts with his stance as one who could protect the voters from such measures. The latest polls put him 16% behind Labor and few believe he can recover.

The politician Bush once dubbed "The Man of Steel" now looks more like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz!

So do the Furies claim Bush’s "little Ozzie Mate", the next victim of "The Curse of the House of Bush."

BRIAN McKINLAY is a former Teacher and a Historian of the Australian Labor Movement, and has written a number of books on Australian History and Politics.


November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration
John Wight
After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large
Joseph G. Ramsey
No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies
Andrew Moss
The Message of Montgomery: 60 Years Later
Jim Green
James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies
Robert Koehler
The Absence of History in the Aftermath of Paris
Dave Lindorff
The US Media and Propaganda
Dave Randle
France and Martial Law
Gilbert Mercier
If We Are at War, Let’s Bring Back the Draft!
Alexey Malashenko
Putin’s Syrian Gambit
Binoy Kampmark
Closing the Door: US Politics and the Refugee Debate