FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

John Howard and the Curse of Bush

by BRIAN McKINLAY

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.

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 27, 2017
Anthony DiMaggio
Media Ban! Making Sense of the War Between Trump and the Press
Dave Lindorff
Resume Inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice
Conn Hallinan
Is Trump Moderating US Foreign Policy? Hardly
Norman Pollack
Political Castration of State: Militarization of Government
Kenneth Surin
Inside Dharavi, a Mumbai Slum
Lawrence Davidson
Truth vs. Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Extradition Saga of Kim Dotcom
Robert Fisk
Why a Victory Over ISIS in Mosul Might Spell Defeat in Deir Ezzor
David Swanson
Open Guantanamo!
Ted Rall
The Republicans May Impeach Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Why Should Trump―or Anyone―Be Able to Launch a Nuclear War?
Andrew Stewart
Down with Obamacare, Up with Single Payer!
Colin Todhunter
Message to John Beddington and the Oxford Martin Commission
David Macaray
UFOs: The Myth That Won’t Die?
Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail