O, say can you see?
John Ruddick thinks that a sufficient number of stunts like this will constitute "media experience", a potent credential in securing Liberal preselection for Parliament. He may succeed at that, but only so long as you are impressed by the quantity of is media exposure rather than the quality. In the quality of a4a you see clearly that John Ruddick offers nothing beyond the stunt.
Conservatives believe that government involves long-term and well-thought-out policy that is in line with the past, addresses the present and promises continuity and room for growth into the future, in a responsible and sustainable way. John's problem is that he loves the rush of short-term sensationalism more than the hard and worthy work of representative and legislator. He just can't manage even the anodyne, third-rate analysis you get from his fellow aspirant, Josh Frydenberg. I have mentioned John in passing, but if you can bear to look at Ruddick's s(h)ite you'll see what I mean.
There were thirteen original states in the USA, represented by thirteen stripes on the US flag. Here are thirteen points on this site:
- The Battle of the Coral Sea was only important because of the Australian successes at Kokoda and Milne Bay. These Australian victories on land provided the pivot around which the American push succeeded. It is one thing to say that the Australian and American efforts complemented each other, or even that the Americans devoted greater resources; Aussies would never negate their own efforts to praise those of the Americans. This is not an alliance, this is fawning.
- The events he describes are strangely passive for such a mighty nation. There are better stories to tell about Menzies, because all sorts of third-world scumbags told Nixon how much they love America - not necessarily to the benefit of their countries.
- South Vietnam was not "on its way to being an Asian tiger like ... Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore". Its government was corrupt, small-minded and not at all investing in people and infrastructure like those other places. The more support they got, the more corrupt they became: the departure of the Americans was not an act of murder, but euthanasia. "The Western left" was never powerful enough to force either victory or defeat, but fighting the wrong fight in the wrong way could lead to no other outcome. President Eisenhower foresaw that a war in Vietnam would be a disaster, and if Australia had truly been a friend we should have held them to their best intentions.
- "If we have the guts to see Iraq through it will end up similar to Jordan and Egypt – a fairly stable nation where things aren’t perfect but are improving". It's hard to know what "improving" means in that context: things are no better or worse in those countries than they have been since the 1950s, without direct American intervention. Nouri al-Maliki governs not a country but a few blocks in Baghdad, a smaller constituency than Clover Moore. He is the new Arafat, someone who says in English what Americans want to hear but whose actions and omissions show someone in league with the worst opponents of America, capitalism and a stable society. As far as who he means by "we" - perhaps Ruddick might have succeeded as an Army officer, giving him both the leadership he craves and the responsibility he dreads.
- Demonstrators against capitalism and free trade also rely on downloads from the US, which is ironic. It is not anti-American to say that inventions from beyond the US are also important to Australians. This is a silly statement that doesn't even serve to knock down the straw man Ruddick sets up here.
- "The biggest beneficiaries of the fall of the USSR have been the Russian people" who see that all that crap that Marx spouted about oligarchy and mass poverty is being borne out. Ruddick hasn't made the case for Australian participation in the Cold War, which is a pity.
- "America does far, far more than any nation today or in history for those less fortunate". The Marshall Plan was not about patronising the Europeans, it was about getting them back on their feet - such a pity that it has never been repeated. Beyond the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, when you give people handouts you make them dependent on you which breeds sloth and resentment. It's holding America to its best standards when you criticise America for falling short of that Olympian standard. Read the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty and know that the last five lines stand against everything John Ruddick stands for.
- "The American Constitution ... The Australian Constitution has provided us with beautiful stability of government and it is a merger of the best elements from Britain and America". It is a lament for both our countries that notionally conservative governments are trashing our constitutions and the freedoms embedded in them.
- "If (American culture) distresses you ask yourself, ‘what is it about me that dislikes success?'". If you were a conservative, you'd know that material success is not the only, or even the best, measure of success. Much that is popular can be corrosive of society. American sports tend not to be popular outside north America, and it is not anti-American to point this out.
- The bit on Murdoch is, like the rest of the site, meant to be provocative: in reality it's just a combination of fawning and self-pleasuring.
- It would have been embarrassing for Ruddick to attempt to defend this, which is probably why he didn't try. Truman was about the hard work necessary to build a framework: Bush is more like Rutherford B Hayes, a dilettante whose only historical significance is to presage disaster. Rice is a stuntmeister who's light on the policy; unlike John she looks good in knee-high boots.
- "in the 1980s New Zealand ended its proud tradition of fighting for freedom ... They currently have troops in East Timor, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands." Well, which is it? The Wallabies know that when they take on the All Blacks they have to be consistent, and so it is when Ruddick attacks people he falsely declares his "friends". It is simply a lie to declare that "Whenever the going gets tough, however, New Zealand takes the soft option". NZ's stand on nuclear ships did not delay the end of the Cold War and reversing it will not affect their economy one way or another. If you're going to be in favour of "ANZUS", you shouldn't diminish the A or bag the NZ.
- Like many who defend the Queen's position, John Ruddick commits numerous offences against the Queen's English but refers to a one-person operation with the royal pronoun, implying that his site includes the support of others than himself. He's finally found a political movement that won't roll him!
See the message below the Free Newsletter field on the left of his pages: he wants a commitment from you, dear reader, but he owes you nothing and he hopes that's OK by you. Once you know John you realise this is a genuine insight into the guy.
I first met John Ruddick when the ministry he aspired to was Anglican, but even with Jensenism ascendant the message of compassion and modesty from the gentle carpenter must have grated on him. Since then he was shunned by his fellow Young Liberals in seeking to govern them, and did not even offer preference-fodder for serious rightwing candidates in Liberal preselections. He was a performing monkey for a radio buffoon who spent as much time laughing at Ruddick as with him.
Once APEC is over and Bush leaves office, what then? After the coming election there will be a rush to the exits for many who realise their political heyday is behind them, and a shellshocked Liberal Party will contemplate the rebuilding of its fortunes. Ruddick will almost certainly fall short. Chances are you'll see him in a marginal seat thanks to his rightwing buddies, but voters won't warm to him. He overestimates how clever he is in disguising his Hansonite Anglo nationalism, which will get him lots of publicity but will damage the Liberal Party.
He could go back to Tamworth - his brother has edited the local paper and even though local Liberals and Nationals are desperate to get rid of Tony Windsor and Peter Draper, the fact is you'll only beat them with grown-up candidates who can relate to other grown-ups and the issues that affect them in a grown-up way. The CEC would love to have him, and he them ideologically - but he's enough of a pragmatist to know that even though he'd be a big fish in their little pond, they can't get him elected.
No, young John has been foisted on big-city suckers and while they may well take him on, people4ruddick would find the poverty of the national debate made worse by his being part of it. There are more important things for Australia - and our foreign alliances - than slaking the ambitions of yet another attention junkie who can't and won't give back.