24 February 2008

Jason Kissofdeath

Jason Koutsoukis was wrong about Peter Costello, and there is no reason why he has any more authority on Brendan Nelson in not one, but two articles in today's Age.
"It is certain, absolutely certain, that Brendan Nelson will not be leading the Liberal Party at the next election," said one Liberal frontbencher. "He is held in contempt by most senior people. People simply do not respect him."

If this had been made known before last year's ballot, it might have changed the result.
While no Liberal MPs were prepared to criticise Dr Nelson on the record, the leadership talk nevertheless had the ring of the beginning of a campaign to oust him.

Well Jase, all that ringing you've reported on the imminent challenge from Costello must have given you tinnitus.
Favoured by an increasing number at the moment is the former workplace relations minister Joe Hockey.

Oh no! This is the hook for Jase's career over the next five years: Waiting for the Hockey Challenge. I like Joe and think he could do well, but what he - and the Liberal Party - needs is less endorsement from Jason Kissofdeath, not more.
As manager of Opposition business in the House of Representatives, Hockey has also shown early signs of being a skilled parliamentary tactician.

He looked a bit too responsible for that Cardboard Kevin debacle for mine. Your article would have been better had you addressed that, Jase.
As long as he doesn't rush himself, Hockey may well be the Liberals' best long-term hope.

This may be true, but it's not clear what you're asking of the Liberal Party here Jase. Are the Liberals in such dire trouble that they need to punt Mr 9% as soon as possible? If so, why stuff around with Turnbull or whomever else?
Turnbull ... misread the party room mood during last year's bid to win the leadership against Nelson, and has many of the overweening personality flaws that proved insurmountable for Costello.

At least he's actually contested the leadership, Jase. I'm not sure about Turnbull either, but he is the nearest thing the Liberal Party has to Bob Hawke: he is an itch that party just has to scratch. Hawke was also a man of overweening, but not necessarily overwhelming, personality flaws. It's Jase's job to consider the man in greater depth than he has. If Turnbull puts the wind up the Rudd Government's first Treasurer, why shouldn't he go up against Rudd? If Turnbull could do for a few other Liberal MPs what he did in his own seat, he'd be Prime Minister.

Jase's failure to think about what he says undermines his spot at kingmaking:
Hockey has an amiable and warm presence.

Just like Kim Beazley, Jase?
He is popular, moderate ...

How do you suggest he shake off the tag of Mr WorkChoices, Jase (unless Julie Bishop is doing that for him)?
... and from the key state of NSW.

As opposed to whatever state Nelson and Turnbull come from; a state which can't even decide on a State Director, can't get behind one of the two best Liberal leaders at state level, and which can't and won't purge the Taliban.

Nelson's a joke and part of being an ex-Liberal means I don't much mind who replaces him. Joe Hockey was a good guy when I knew him, but that was long ago and we've both changed. The issue isn't the Liberal leadership per se, it's whether readers of The Age are well served by Jason Koutsoukis. I'd be surprised if nine percent of the target readership of The Age would agree.

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