Icarus takes off
It used to be an axiom among the NSW Liberal Right that candidates should offer some experience other than having been a political staffer. This was their stated objection against Marise Payne and other moderates. Now, to demonstrate their objection to retaining Payne, NSW Liberals have preselected - for their safest seat anywhere in the country - a narrow-minded young man who has only ever been a political staffer.
Hawke's challenge will be to develop a real presence among community groups in that electorate that would enable him to survive politically if the prevailing political wins go against him. My guess is that he won't: he's a cold fish to those who aren't already and fully onside, a lonely place to be in a democracy. Hawke can't and won't make any meaningful contribution to governing a post-Howard Australia.
David Elliott could have done both these things, and may yet do so if he gets the chance. He probably will when he challenges Maxine McKew for Bennelong in 2009/10. At least Hawke is now out of Barry O'Farrell's way.
Hawke will embarrass the Liberal Party with his simplistic denunciations of the world in which everyone but him has to live and work. He'll think he's rallying the faithful when he is only isolating them and depressing their numbers. Drama queens among you will be keen to bring on his Gotterdämmerung, but it's true that a necessary precondition of post-Howard reconstruction for the Liberals involves the political euthanasia of Alex Hawke and the Dave Clark putsch.
On a lighter note, Koutsoukis has discovered that there's a difference between what animates political journalists and what makes voters choose one party over another. Still, no time for reflection, must get ready for the Mid-Winter Ball!
It's telling that Jase regards this year's do as "the final act", even though it's not a fat lady who's singing. It's also telling that "ego" is applied to anyone who can imagine someone other than John Howard or Peter Costello becoming Prime Minister - as though this quality were absent among those in (and reporting on) public life.