Hubris is one word for it
Here Niki Savva goes around like some cattle-dog, yapping and snarling in the hope that Liberals will fall into some sort of line that she doesn't set, but which she considers herself responsible for enforcing. Savva would have you believe that the current Federal situation is unique, but it isn't.
A Labor government with a slim margin that generates little apart from press releases - and a Liberal Party still smarting from being turfed from office, confident that its return is imminent with a bit of pushing. NSW 1995-9 was similar to Canberra today (and I'm not talking about the Territory Legislature). Same Labor government too timid to change much, but with a killer media strategy that the Libs tried to copy but couldn't quite.
In Canberra today the Liberal media strategy is about the same but better than Labor's: Abbott is nothing but a media tart, helped enormously by a Murdoch press that will happily apply more scrutiny to a minority party in the Senate than any of his poorly considered media stunts, which was solidly behind Carr and NSW Labor. We (as "we" were then) were beset by all manner of clowns insisting that we all had to be united behind whatever stupid notion had popped into the leader's head in time for some evanescent media announcement.
Senior Liberals are worried about how to contain an emotion as corrosive as Labor's despair, and driven by the same raw assessment of the political landscape: the government is finished, Julia Gillard has planked and the election, whenever it is held, is essentially a foregone conclusion.
The government would have been finished were it not for a workmanlike budget: not so flash that it would have aroused suspicion, not so dull that it proved Labor could no longer be bothered. It would be finished if the Opposition were not led by one of the few political leaders less popular than Julia Gillard. It would be finished if clowns like Mark Arbib, Paul Howes or those no-marks from Victoria's Labor Right started to raise their profiles.
The smarter operators in the Coalition are acutely aware of the threat hubris poses, first from younger, ambitious MPs who fret that victory will shunt them even further back so they have to try harder to get attention, and second from older MPs (who should know better) who think it's OK to act up, and worry even more than their younger colleagues that time will pass them by.
Seriously, this is bullshit.
Abbott, both Bishops, Kevin Andrews, are all about a Howard Restoration: the idea that they can and will take the country back to 2006 and keep it there. Lose the next election and that dead crust gets scraped off the Liberal Party. As to the "younger ones", some may not know what to do without adult supervision - things may get a bit Lord Of The Flies if Tony Smith, Sophie Mirabella and Mitch Fifield start calling the shots, but they're all from the wrong state. None of them have the stomach for patricide nor the alternative vision that post-Fraser Liberals had.
Maybe the Liberal Party chose the wrong future for itself. They thought they were so clever in bumping up Howard government staffers to the frontline in order to perpetuate the Howard government mindset. Instead, they face the prospect of being represented by a lost generation of drones.
Then of course there are those reprehensible "older MPs" like Mal Washer who stands for greater restrictions on tobacco advertising, which is more than his so-called leader stands for.
Hubris had already manifested in a variety of less troublesome ways, whether it was people jostling for seats or people hanging on to them just so no one else could have them, like Alby Schultz, who boasted to The Canberra Times that his recent heart operation had extended his life span by another 15 to 20 years and that he had no intention of retiring. Take that, evil contenders.
Worse, there is nobody with the leverage to push Schultz out. There is ample scope for a Labor person or an independent to beaver away over the next two to three years and take a very nice seat in Federal Parliament. A Liberal or National could knock him off now, if one could be found with a bit of drive and who could manage the sensitivities of paying due respect to a sick old man with no record other than getting re-elected - good luck in finding someone to fit that bill. Where are you, Bob Cotton?
Meanwhile Cory Bernardi still thinks it's OK to blog whatever pops into his head, including criticising the first bloke Tim Mathieson, in defiance of the usual practice that spouses and partners of other MPs are off limits.
This is fair enough. Liberals squealed like stuck pigs whenever someone had a go at nasty old
Then along came Malcolm Turnbull, who is in much the same place - emotionally and figuratively - as Kevin Rudd. Turnbull actually did everybody in the Coalition a favour by reminding them that just a little prick can burst a bubble.
"A little prick can burst a bubble" was a line that Peter Costello used to hiss at anyone who did anything he didn't like. What that misses is the idea that anyone can blow a bubble and create enough hot air to keep it afloat, and that however much blowing bubbles can impress the simple-minded it is not that much of an achievement in itself - you're simply not entitled to carry on when they burst. It's a nasty and meaningless line, befitting all who deploy it because it shows they don't think about what they say.
Having misdiagnosed Turnbull's behaviour, Savva proclaims herself savvy as to his emotional state. It's fair to suspect that her judgment may be off there too.
The weekend leaking ... Initially suspicion fell on Hockey ... Then blame settled on the few remaining Turnbull supporters ...
Oh, please. A senior journalist and a senior adviser reduced to both tittle and tattle. This person is not worth feeding, let alone reading.
If someone held a gun to your head to force you to choose which one of them was likelier to make a comeback, you would have to go for Rudd. Not because he is better than Turnbull but because Labor is in much much worse shape than the Coalition and the alternatives to Rudd-Gillard are weaker.
A silly statement needs some silly assumptions, and the gun-to-the-head thing is an example of the sort of silly Canberra bar talk you'd get from people like Savva and Lachlan Harris. Rudd doesn't have a deal with independent MPs that is holding his party in government: only Gillard has that. The Liberals will do anything to get back into office - if they think they can do so with Tony Abbott as leader he'll stay, but if Turnbull is the man then Turnbull it will be. It's simple as that. If bubbles have to be burst then they'll be burst, Niki.
Even so, feelings about Turnbull are not as visceral or as vicious as they are among Labor MPs towards Rudd.
Given the importance of the emotional in Savva's writings, she's just buggered her own thesis.
A few Liberals speak fondly of Turnbull, even though his dramatic weight loss (13kg thanks to a lemon detox diet) has left him looking a bit hang-dog, or perhaps that's just the internal reflected in the external.
If you can't make a bitchy comment about make-up, make a bitchy comment about weight and diet, rounded off with another pseudo-psychological imputation. Is there no end to this
Turnbull, intelligent and engaging, is a man born out of his time. He belongs in Renaissance Florence, rebuilding cities and states, commissioning great works of art, fostering literary and political talent, all according to his own whims and preferences.
The most common complaint by those who served under him is that Turnbull would not take advice and found it impossible to control his temper.
His arrogance and refusal to suffer fools - a prerequisite for any political leader has cost him dearly.
Which is it - is he intelligent and engaging or can he not suffer fools? Didn't Menzies have the same problem? Would you really bet on Turnbull being unable to modify himself against Abbott lifting his game? Really? They're valid points, but hardly insurmountable.
Plus his frequent need to remind everyone he is a man (probably the last one standing) of principle, as he did again on ABC1's Lateline on Wednesday night, infuriates them.
The fact that he can Turnbull's beliefs on the environment can be defended as a coherent whole more adequately than the Coalition's current policy is what's infuriating. If the current leader had the intellectual heft and coherence that Turnbull has, he'd just be a crank. Turnbull can't be patronised: bared teeth and snarling can betoken fear as much as hostility.
Gillard and the Greens, who if they believed in prayer would beg for Turnbull's resurrection ...
Resurrection is pretty strong power, even Turnbull's most ardent supporters don't think he's capable of that.
Seriously though, the public - outside Canberra and the bars that fill up on sitting weeks - want Rudd and Turnbull leading the major parties. Why would Gillard want the Liberals to be led by someone who's more popular than she is? It doesn't make sense, it's like the tobacco industry warning that consumption of their product going up would be a bad thing. It's why Niki Savva isn't much chop as a political analyst.
Most Labor voters would prefer to see Turnbull in the job, but when you ask them if this would induce them to vote for the Liberals, almost all of them say no.
As one Liberal observed: "Labor voters think if there has to be a Liberal Party and it has to have a leader, then it should be Malcolm."
Most Labor voters don't count - only some do, the ones who only vote Labor sometimes. They're called swinging voters, Niki. Have you met any of them? Swinging voters are the people who turn Labor governments into Liberal ones, or vice versa. Swinging voters would vote Liberal if Malcolm Turnbull were leader, which is why it's in the best interests of the Liberal Party for Turnbull to become leader - once he has learned to take advice, or create the appearance of doing so like Abbott does.
Turnbull cannot renounce his views. Nor should he. But he should have known his wanton disparaging of Abbott's climate-change policy would have repercussions.The fact he later appeared to have no appreciation of the damage he had caused to himself or the Coalition was revealing.
Some issues are more important than the current leader. John Howard used to shirtfront leaders other than himself all the time: his treatment of the leader who gave him his biggest break, Malcolm Fraser, was particularly brutal. As long as Turnbull can dress this up as a cause bigger than himself - just like Costello's bridgewalk for Aboriginal reconciliation - he'll be all right.
Besides, what damage? Abbott's solid, untouchable, the inevitable next PM, right Niki? Right?
He could have maintained the principled position that has won him respect in the community and still not put down his own party's policy.
How? How could he have avoided the thousand questions from journos wanting to write the same Walkley-worthy scoop LIBS SPLIT SHOCK? Come on, Media Strategist Extraordinare, how exactly would that have been possible?
If it was deliberate, it was plain dumb, and if it wasn't deliberate it was even dumber. Either way the poor judgment again exposes a potentially fatal flaw for a man who wants to lead a political party and be prime minister.
In the week before the 1993 election John Howard flatly contradicted his leader, John Hewson, on interest rates. At the next election, Howard was leader and was elected Prime Minister. No election is imminent, and Turnbull is at least as dumb as Howard (if "dumb" is the word to use here).
If Abbott falls before the election, which is unlikely, or if he is defeated at the election, which is always possible, then even those who had stayed loyal to Turnbull to the bitter end, and it was extremely bitter, are unlikely to back a leadership bid by him.
The same could have been said about Howard at any point 1989-95.
In fact the man now most likely to succeed Abbott, assuming the vacancy occurs later rather than sooner, is Turnbull's former very good friend, Scott Morrison.
Oh, piss off. A smarmy turd who wants to run with the racists and climate-deniers while disavowing them - seriously, Alexander Downer or Brendan Nelson or even Gillard are up there with Pericles against such a man as Scott bloody Morrison. Nobody would or should believe he wouldn't screw his best friend, if he had one, for momentary advantage. Canberra scuttlebutt just doesn't translate to the real world, and particularly marginal electorates.
They reckon public hostility to the carbon tax is so embedded it will continue all the way through the election. Even seasoned political operators have been taken aback by the intensity of feelings expressed by voters on the rising cost of living.
Voters believe the government won't help them because it lacks the resources or can't because it is so incompetent.
Niki, Niki, the GST. You were there, remember?
Niki Savva is hopeless as an analyst, but she has her uses in exposing the desperation from eighth-rate hacks who call themselves "strategists",who refuse to face up to real policy issues and tailor their responses to the real electorate/ economy/ society/ country before them. A scare campaign against the carbon tax and refugees is pretty much the entire Liberal offering. To preserve that precious offering, you need to nobble Turnbull before he has the chance to offer something more and leave said "strategists" out in the Canberra cold. Savva fears that Turnbull offers what the country would need at a time - like Florence during the Renaissance, for example - when so much is in flux, where opportunities and pitfalls abound, and where just being a prick is a necessary start to keep on top of it all. Read your Machiavelli, Niki - Turnbull has.