Friday, March 07, 2008

Finally, he tells us how he really feels

As reported in today's online Age, John Howard has hit the conservative American speaking circuit in run-to-Mummy-howling mode, viciously trashing his successor. In case you ever entertained a sneaking suspicion that Howard couldn't possibly be as bad as we thought, here's how the Age reports his speech:

Among conservative Americans, Howard has found a new and sympathetic audience for culture wars.

Take this for a bit of uncompromising rhetoric: "Those who hold to conservative values continue to face a major ideological battle. The left liberal grip on educational institutions and large, though not all, sections of the media remains intense." And he's back to his old suspicions of global warming, which has "become a new battleground. The same intellectual bullying and moralising, used in other debates, now dominates what passes for serious dialogue on this issue".

There was praise of Ronald Reagan and "that other great warrior in our cause, Margaret Thatcher" who taught the importance of remaining "culturally assertive"; and a warning that "if the butter of common national values is spread too thinly it will disappear altogether".

He's even adopted the American idiom, with a reference to his government giving "faith-based groups direct involvement in policy making and execution".

Got that? That's the "great" Margaret Thatcher. That's "faith-based groups" given free rein to trample on the time-honoured doctrine of the separation of powers, something that is or ought to be one of the pillars of the modern state.

I can only echo what David Marr said about last November's election in his Meet the Author session at Adelaide Writers' Week on Wednesday: "I'm glad Howard didn't resign. I'm glad we were able to do it to him.'

And another thing: what's with the butter? If Howard plans to skim the cream of the speaking circuit he had better polish up his rhetorical skills; his butter metaphor makes no sense at all. What is the toast in this metaphor? What is the knife, and who is wielding it? For whose breakfast are we buttering this toast, and is there any Vegemite?

15 comments:

feral sparrowhawk said...

Far be it from me to defend Howard - he has revealed the full odiousness of his position.

However, I think the butter metaphor does work. The toast is the national populace here, and the knife is the ideology of multiculturalism, being spread by evil leftists.

A position I disagree with thoroughly, but I think the metaphor is a good one for supporters of his position, and perhaps potential supporters as well.

ThirdCat said...

And I'm pleased he's given us a chance to Maintain the Rage.

ocky said...

He seems to be suggesting that the most valued items from the Dairy Cabinet of the Nation should be available to only a select few. Don't let everyone have a go at the Butter of Freedom or the Cream of Opportunity, or there'll be none let for our brekkie tomorrow. Let the poor and the foreigners make do with dry biscuits and black tea, while John scoffs the Iced Vo-Vos of Recrimination

ocky said...

... or the Milk Arrowroot of Bitterness

BlissHill said...

Like in a divorce, when you finally see the actual nastiness of the person you used to be married to, and it's horrifying ..............

Ampersand Duck said...

It IS horrifying, isn't it? I love that idea of him 'running to mummy'; the Americans took him far more seriously than they should have, yet I really can't see them sitting through hour after hour of Johnnie whinging about his home country, since very few of them even know we exist. Cowardly cnut. He's been running very low to the ground, hasn't he?

cristy said...

According to the rules I am supposed to let you know that I just gave you a "Blogging Excellence Award".

Anonymous said...

EC sez...

"And another thing: what's with the butter?"

PC, that'd be bull butter, an essential ingredient when one is greasing up to one's PNAC pals.

And hear, hear to David Marr. How especially sweet is was to see the vainglorious little grub lose "His Seat" of Bennelong to a woman. Funnily enough the MC at the neocon bash failed to mention this salient point when he introduced Little Johnny Stableford to his adoring bunch of 1400 glad handlers and warmongering zealots. And what a dreadful shame that The Imbecile and Laura and Dick and Lynne were otherwise engaged watching TV. I understand, on Johnny's night of nights, and were sadly not able to pay their respects.

feral sparrowhawk said...

By the way, I think Howard has copped just a taste of the real pain he's headed for. Losing to Maxine must have been pretty bad, but it will be nothing to having his grandchildren hate him because they have to grow up with the consequences of his decisions, particularly in relation to Global Warming.

Bernice said...

Oh poor John. His legacy has been run over by a hybrid car filled with grinning lefties & other baby-eating ideologues. & his trusty lieutenants are proving less than able to stay the course of the one true way. Well except Vaille - keeping up the standard of the AWB's good works evidently...

Geoff Coupe said...

Being a Brit, I have no idea who John Howard is, although I did have to repress a shudder at the mention of Margaret Thatcher.

I'm afraid that all I took away from the butter reference was a whisper of Brando and Last Tango in Paris... Somehow, I don't think Mr. Howard meant me to have that connection.

Zoe said...

I'll say one thing for him, and that's that he kept his strides on. I hope he's enjoying more time with Jeanette.

Pavlov's Cat said...

'I'll say one thing for him, and that's that he kept his strides on. I hope he's enjoying more time with Jeanette.'

But do these two things have anything to do with each other??

ashleigh said...

It's only now, a few months after he's gone, that it is apparently how frequently the Liberals would lie, scheme, and argue with full sincerity that black was white.

Now we have a new mob, who repeat favoured catchphrases (the next person who says "working families" is in danger of having me come after them, screaming, and waving an axe). At least the current rubbish is not the outright nasty lies and deceit we had before, in spite of the best attempts of Abbott, Bishop and Downer to continue to live their dream.

Marr is right, it's so much nicer to have Howard dumped than for him to have gone of his own volition.

Dean said...

It's unfortunate that the 'left liberal' label carries so much ballast. Too much for the navigation of 'shallower' tributaries of the mainstream, such as those that harbour racists and closet ethno-triumphalists.

On the other hand, today's 'left' is not so liberal (inasmuch as holding a view that lies outside the orthodoxy in any specific area of concern is anathema to the Inquisitors - small 'i', of course).

Much as Helen Garner's The First Stone was 'highly polarizing' (one commentator labelled it 'ambivalent'). The treatment meted out to her by the 'partisan' clique that surrounded the two victims (??), is educational in these respects. (Note that the alleged 'perp' was not found guilty in court.)

There must be a more inclusive way. Without 'dumbing down' debate (Garner spoke of a 'war'), natch.