Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Come on Rudd, For Fucks Sake!

Looking and sounding a bit like a Richie Benaud doll with flat batteries, Kevin Rudd made his debut appearance in Campaign 2010 yesterday. Fresh from his $40 000, tax payer funded, first class flight back from his working holiday in the US, the ex PM was out and about in his seat of Griffith in Queensland, which he has represented since 1998.

The Rudd-bot sat out in the sun for a bit, chatting to shoppers along one of the main streets in the electorate, before moving on to Coorparoo State School, where he addressed the kids about their new hall. The sparkling Rudd public persona, so fondly remembered by anyone who has followed politics in this country these last two and a bit years, was on display again:

RUDD: Hands up now, what's the best thing about having a new school hall.

KID: This ones got seats!

RUDD: This one's got seats. That's very good.

Which made me kinda sad. Clearly, losing the top job has taken the edge off Rudd. If it had been the last election and he got this kind of response, he would then have gone:

RUDD: Is it better having seats in your school hall? Yes it is. Am I glad that you've got them? Yes I am. Would my opponent have delivered seats for your new school hall? No he wouldn't. Has my opponent had 12 years to deliver seats to your new school hall? Yes he has. Has he failed to deliver the seats to the new school hall? Yes he has...

And so on, for another fifteen or twenty minutes, far past the point where anyone in his audience could remember what had set him off in the first place. Makes a pundit almost feel nostalgic, especially during these grim days of 'Moving Forward' and 'Stop the Boats.'

But almost is the operative word when it comes to Rudd, as it seems a fair bet that the only one who misses seeing him in the PM's office is Tony Abbott (well, maybe Therese too). Abbott was all set to have a nice little 'Regular If Angry Man versus Inhuman Rudd-Bot' election before Gillard and the factional leaders in the ALP stepped in to make his task much more nuanced.

Leaving the leader of the Opposition to one side, the PM and other senior Government ministers seem to want Rudd to disappear as quickly and discreetly as possible. There's been a lot of talk of Rudd focusing on 'local issues' and 'campaigning in his electorate' and 'maybe fucking off back to the States until August 22.' I mean Rudd is the principle reason for the whole 'Moving Forward' campaign strategy. They want to move forward, from him, and only see him occassionally in the rear view mirror. And even then only by accident.

When asked whether she would campaign with Rudd in Griffith, Gillard sounded a bit like Abbott trying to explain his stance on 'Work Choices':

GILLARD: Well I will if he wants me to... Which he probably doesn't... Although we haven't spoken about it... But if he did ask I probably would... If there was space in the diary... And he wanted me to, which he probably doesn't... He's got a pretty safe seat anyway and I'm pretty busy... But I'd help him out if he needed it... Who were we talking about again? Judd? That bloke who plays for Carlton?

And that reminds me of something that my girlfriend said the other day when we were watching Carlton getting belted in the AFL. Chris Judd was having a very dark day and when, on one occasion, he grabbed the ball and then booted it out of bounds on the full, she went, 'Come on Rudd, for fucks sake!'

Says a lot about the last few weeks in Australian politics really.

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