For three years Kevin Rudd ran a well co-ordinated and successful campaign to destroy PM Julia Gillard, so as to allow his own re-ascendancy to the throne, but having done what might have seemed impossible, he is now failing miserably in his bid to remain Prime Minister. Why?
It’s all about Kevin and his attitude about himself and toward others. Mostly it starts back in 2007 when Kevin Rudd spearheaded, in a Presidential style, the campaign that defeated the Howard Government.
Who could forget Kevin 07 – these days, many are trying!
Post WWII, with the exception of the Hawke/Keating era, Labor traditionally spent long periods in opposition: 1949-1972, 1975-1983, 1996-2007. It’s worth noting the Hawke/Keating era only ran as long as it did because of Liberal incompetency and leadership rivalry.
Then of course there was the extra 3 years handed Keating by the original bumbling GST creator, John Hewson. “Fightback”, should’ve been called, “Fallback”, because going backwards was all the Coalition did throughout the 1993 campaign – utter political ineptitude on a scale we haven‘t seen since.
Inevitably, these long periods in the wilderness eventually result in a win, and a kind of legendary status for whoever is leading Labor at the time. Whitlam, Hawke, Keating (for continuing the run beyond belief), and then Kevin 07!
When Pollies haven’t enjoyed the perks of power for lengthy periods, the person at the helm when things go right is viewed almost as a, ‘Moses like figure’, leading the chosen people out of the desert.
And so it came to pass that Kevin 07 seized power in a structured campaign where the Liberals were never really going to have much of a show. Kevin Rudd performed well in the media and seemed the charming clean cut Family man from QLD who was fresh, here to help and ready to lead our Nation.
Personally, I never fell for it, but as a political observer, I couldn’t help but admire the way Kevin Rudd was pulling it off, despite having little more than being, ‘New’, going for him. Ahh, but being New usually beats being Old, even if there’s nothing wrong with what’s Old.
In this case what was Old, was John Howard and his Government. Old, Tired, past it’s best by date – not necessarily how I saw it, but it’s pretty much how everything looks after time, and governments are no exception.
There’s a saying, “Oppositions don’t win elections, Governments lose them”. It’s absolutely true and applies very much to the end of the Howard era, especially when you add the factor of uncertainty for who would lead the Coalition post the 2007 election – few people wanted Peter Costello as PM, but that seemed all that was on offer!
The election rolls around with John Howard appearing to be going and Peter Costello chomping at the bit for him to go. There’d been four Coalition victories over eleven years. With an invigorated well funded Labor led by apparent clean-skin Kevin 07, the writing was on the wall for the government. John Howard even lost his own seat.
Sadly, there are few truly Great people, but perception often overcomes Truth, and sometimes, circumstances bestow Greatness where it doesn’t belong. Such is the case with Kevin, a man with a seriously exaggerated idea of himself – a man who believes his own press.
The things that have told us about the real Kevin, like in most cases, are the things we were never supposed to know, or in some cases, see – such as the angry expletive ridden rant while trying to record a scripted piece to camera.
The horrific verbal assault on a young woman on his Aircraft because of his dis-satisfaction with his meal – something that turned out to be the fault of his own staff.
The angst and teenage foot stamping act during the famous attempt to secure a hairdryer.
Now there’s a report from the second debate of this campaign, where he was rude to the female make-up artist who was preparing him. Had it been Abbott, the sisterhood would have been again screeching, “Misogynist!”.
These and so many other examples should have been completely insignificant matters, but Kevin’s personality turned them into major incidents.
We see the real Kevin Rudd, time and time again, displaying his true nature of child-like petulance and arrogant self-importance. Indeed, his personality, that’s where it’s all gone wrong for Kevin.
He is a Labor Prime Minister and yet, not even a moment for the briefest pleasantries with, ‘the little people’, the ‘workers’ – the very people he purports to represent? Like all his ilk, such people are fortunate to be in his presence and are beneath his acknowledgement.
The 2007 campaign was a relatively simple dislodging of a tired government, itself in disbelief that people would actually vote against it! Kevin rode with confidence, and almost unopposed to an easy victory, and entered the office of Prime Minister as if he were the Messiah.
Quite apart from the behind the scenes nastiness of Kevin Rudd since the 2007 election, he also increasingly came across publicly as, the Great Leader for whom we, the people, were fortunate to be the recipients of his lessons. So began his descent in the polls.
Kevin’s behind the scenes attitudes to everyone, his staff, his colleagues, those he considered his servants (probably everyone) and his drop in public appeal, led to his removal by the, ‘ungrateful mob’, he’d led out of the wilderness to victory.
His fight to return (his best work to date), was motivated by all that is bad about Kevin – his driving superiority complex. He came back to win (something even Labor didn’t expect), not for you or me or our country, but for Kevin. It’s always about Kevin. I wrote about his plan in, ‘Rudd’s Agenda, – no election date’.
Now Kevin Rudd is engaged in a fight from the position of 6 years of unpopular Labor Government, and no longer the squeaky clean-cut likable lad. The challenge is far greater than it ever was in 2007, and all the circumstances are different.
I suggest he called the election earlier than he originally intended because he wasn’t sustaining a successful assault on the Coalition lead – Labor polling would have told them to go, and go quickly.
Starting from behind, propped up largely by his own propaganda and with the Honeymoon over almost before it began, Kevin started to come unglued quite early.
Signs of the pressure taking its toll were apparent in his rattled performance during the first Leaders’ Debate – all Tony Abbott had to do was hold his own – he did better than that. Rudd could only rely on the deluded to think he did well.
In essence, Kevin Rudd never was a political Messiah, but by all appearances has always believed himself to be exactly that. His three years plotting in limbo while Julia Gillard was in, ‘His Job’, didn’t teach him anything about being a better person.
He neither has the time nor capacity to recover from the failings of his own character, but should be thankful for where he’s been, for without the good fortune Timing gave him, he wouldn’t have been Prime Minister in the first place.