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?