Saturday, October 09, 2004

Down Under Sundered From Us

Here's to hoping the first election of the axis of jackasses meets a happy ending, but I admit things don't look good.

No, not because Ozzies are the reactionary nuts that Bush hopes and thinks they are (Howard is not loved), but because the Labor Party is so structurally damaged. There's just not, apparently, much of an alternative anymore to what amounts to Tory Hegemony.

American conservatives will feel a nostalgia for the good old days when the CIA itself took care of Labor Governments. Nowadays, of course, the Australian Liberals (not liberal in our sense, though not rightwing in the American way, either: think of them as uncloseted Kevin Drums, in other words, Rockefeller Republicans) can do the work all by themselves.

Our wingnuts and their wingnuts aren't the same; less so, even than ours and Britain's. Howard's symmetry to Bush is, however, ample even if it's impossible for an Oz conservative to be quite as proto-fascist and Manichean as the American variety. In just the last few days he's been very Bushie indeed: shrugging at the fact of no WMDs, and in taking a magnificently garbled stance on logging, which is an important issue to environmentally conscious Australia, that amounts to, when translated, a "we had to cut the trees in order to save them" approach. Bush, who says that we need to let loggers cut National Forests to "prevent forest fires" couldn't have done better himself.

At any rate, I expect the opposition to Howard to expand in the event of his victory, and take solace in the fact that, on his crucial foriegn policy stupidities, he's still deeply unpopular.

As in the US, if the reactionaries somehow win, we'll still end up winning larger -- and for longer. I'll try to explain that later in the week, but until then, know that Howard's election means nothing here (though Bush will spin it as a mandate from the world), that Bush lost again tonight, that Kwasiewski knows he's toast, and that Tony Blair is sweating profusely. No matter what happens in Oz, it's not over yet.