Monday, April 07, 2008

It’s begun

I always suspected the majority of my posts would be seen as "right wing", not because I am politically aligned this way (call me crazy, I think it makes more sense to treat each issue on its own merits, through a framework of dispassionate reason), but because the politics of opposition necessarily requires one to say stupid things in order to be heard. Since I've been blogging, it just so happened the "left wing" parties in Australia (and the US) were (are) in opposition. For the majority of the time, they were providing the humbug. Ergo, I tended to be bagging "lefties".

Since the November election Kevin Rudd has been the Aussie PM. This of course means a "lefty" is in power. (Arguably since the 1990s both main Australian political parties – the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal/National coalition have been "centrist" parties, but for the sake of my point I'll stick with the left-right false dichotomy.) I haven't been blogging much lately, but my first political post in the new era is on Kev's side… Perhaps my intuitions are correct? (I can't discount the hypothesis this could just be a self-fulfilling prophecy rather than an accurate observation on the politics of opposition.)

Kev was at a NATO conference when, across the room, he saw his new acquaintance George. W. Bush. Instead of signalling George with a limp wristed and foppish wave, Kev went for the (relatively) manly salute. I am quite partial to the manly salute myself. Other options include the single quick raised eyebrow/nod. However, this can be quite ambiguous. If you accidentally double this in quick succession, you might be accused of inappropriate sexual advances. Even a wink can be misinterpreted in this fashion. If you think about it, besides the girly wave, the salute was Kev's only option. Perhaps the salute is just a Queensland thing (Kev's a banana bender - usage 1 - as am I) and everyone else doesn't get it? In Kev's words:

"It was just a joke," a laughing Mr Rudd said later.

"I was just saying hi to the president of the United States - I was just with him the other day.

"I went over and had a chat, actually."

If you watch the footage below, this is obviously the case. But not to the pathetic and predictable media, who decided to make something out of nothing. Apparently this "screams" deputy sheriff:

Then they had to roll out the "usual suspects" who could be counted on to take it, and themselves, too seriously. The LAME opposition leader:

Asked about the gesture, Dr Nelson said it was best left for the Prime Minister to comment on its meaning and on whether or not he might regret his actions later but he was clearly unimpressed.

"I think it's conduct unbecoming of an Australian prime minister," Dr Nelson said.

"Mr Rudd appears to conduct himself in one manner when he thinks the television is on him and in another when it is not.

"Australia is a confident, outward-looking country after more than 10 years of strong foreign policy development and we need a strong prime minister to represent our very best interests throughout the world."

An we can't forget Australian politics' favourite no-hoper:

"There is a streak of John Howard's deputy sheriff in Kevin Rudd's slip-up," he said.

"It takes seasoned maturity to ensure Australia is never second-rated in the international arena and Mr Rudd is not there yet.

"We are not the 51st state of the USA and Mr Rudd's salute carried a subservient connotation many Australians won't like."

And without a hint of irony, the article ends with this:

The salute has distracted from Mr Rudd's achievements in Bucharest where Australia's demands for NATO troops to carry a bigger burden in Afghanistan were partially satisfied.

And whose choice was this?