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Australia: Howard out
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, November 24, 2007

The most staunch ally of George Bush's Iraq strategy, PM John Howard of Australia, has been voted out of power:
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has suffered a humiliating election defeat and the opposition Labor Party has swept into power.

Mr Howard, who had been seeking a fifth term after 11 years of conservative rule, said he had telephoned Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd to congratulate him on his victory.

[...]

Voters warmed to his [Rudd] promise to pull Australian troops out of Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, further isolating the US, which had received strong backing from Mr Howard.
Per the Sky News spin it was Iraq and the environment. Peculiar. Iraq seems to be going better and everyone and their brother has said Kyoto was damaged goods and no one, even those who've signed on, want to see it through. Was it really that or simply an electorate that was tired of 11 years of conservative rule? The old "time for a change" election? And, if you accept that, might that be what we see here regardless of how well Iraq is going in November of next year?
 
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There’s a huge lag between change in reality and change in public opinion. The recent improved news out of Iraq hasn’t had time to be absorbed in any meaningful way into the swamp of public opinion.

And the general informed view of Kyoto as bad policy (even among those of us who think that these environmental issues are real) isn’t widely spread. Most people don’t even know about the treaty let alone it’s implications. Their take on these issues doesn’t get much beyond viewing candidates in some vague way as pro or anti-environment.

But, while I diverge from the premises of your argument, I agree with the conclusion. This seems to be the standard fatigue election. Given the persistent failures that characterize most government, it’s just a matter of regular switches in who is getting associated with those failures.
 
Written By: crouton
URL: http://
I think the incessant negativity eventually adds up. Following blogs and a diversity of news sources represents a minority of the public. Much of the public only gets news from Democrat friendly sources like Non-Talk radio news, Network news, CNN, etc. The public has been worn down to the point they’ll give the media what it wants.

The Presidency is a separate issue because of Hillary. But otherwise, I believe things won’t go well for Republicans in ’08 overall. Its kind of unfortunate, but Republicans being able to partially neutralize the Democrats in the Senate is probably what’s going to let the Democrats keep both Houses in ’08 or possibly increase their position.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
and most everyone is sure the rise in gas prices is one vast oil-industry conspiracy.
So why haven’t the Democrats investigated this this obvious conspiracy against the “little guy” that they so dearly represent ?

Because even they know it’s not true, or is it that they represent the “rich”.

Oh, it’s both.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
McQ - even if Iraq after 5 years seems to be "going better," it never should have had this immense cost and politicians should have to pay. The policy was an utter and complete failure, and the public understands that. The "surge" might give us what I described in January as a "peace with honor moment," relatively low violence so we can leave without too much embarrassment, but this has been and certainly will be remembered as a huge fiasco. A lot of death and destruction in vain, and the Iraq of the future still looks very uncertain and dangerous. You can say "well Saddam is gone" as if that were a magic phrase that makes all the bloodshed, widows, orphans, destruction, militias, Iranian influence and dangers somehow OK, that’s a really pathetic defense.

And you seem to assume a brief downturn in violence — due mostly to the fact the US has stopped trying to defeat its enemies and instead is buying them off, and Shi’ite militias are laying low, waiting for the US to start pulling out (as Shi’ite - Sunni feuds continue). But you have a history of taking any short term "good news" and extrapolating some kind of grand future. Most of the world is more realistic than that, that’s why very few think this war was a good idea — fewer than ever before. Ultimately, it isn’t a war, it’s a military enforced social engineering experiment that has gone horribly wrong. But stick to your alternate reality vision if you wish. Don’t be surprised if most of us don’t go along with it, and you end up just complaining about academics and mainstream media not seeing the world the way you do.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
There’s a huge lag between change in reality and change in public opinion.
...exacerbated by the fact that the global media is now engaged in hairsplitting about improvements in Iraq. Since we now have our brave new "truther" society, media spin has its corrosive influence. Make sure you throw in editorial phrasing, such as...
immense cost
an utter and complete failure
will be remembered as a huge fiasco
A lot of death and destruction in vain
very few think this war was a good idea — fewer than ever before
a brief downturn in violence
Yeah, thats Herb, but its also AP, Reuters, et al. You got your spin, buddy, i gots mine. Media manipulation throughout this war has made me resolve to stick this one out. If this has really been as bad as they’ve painted it, they wouldn’t have had to lie, fabricate, and mislead the public at every turn. The cold truth would have been sufficient. But I believe they didnt feel it was sufficient without their propaganda. I havent read much erb before, but id bet dimes to doughnuts that the only righteous wars postVietnam are the making of Presidents with D after them. Amiright? Another timehonored tradition of the enlightened left...
 
Written By: rob
URL: http://
(1) "There’s a huge lag between change in reality and change in public opinion. The recent improved news out of Iraq hasn’t had time to be absorbed in any meaningful way into the swamp of public opinion."

IMO the real explanation is that while people are a bit more optimistic about how the war is going, they still think the war was not worth it, and they still want to bring the troops home—indeed, believing that the war is going better may make them *more* willing to support withdrawal.

See http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq.htm for some evidence: the Pew poll shows that the percentage of people thinking the war was going "very well" or "fairly well" increased from 36 in July to 41 to in September to 44 in October. Yet in that same time period, the percentage who want to bring the troops home as quickly as possible remained stable (54 percent) and the percent who think the war was a mistake actually increased (53 in July, 54 in October).

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll in November: Disapproval of Bush’s Iraq policy is at 68 percent, as high as it has been this year except in July. Yet the percent who think victory is possbile (40) is at its highest point of the year.

The problem is not a "time lag." The problem is that your premise that "if the public thought things were going better, they’d support the more hawkish candidate" is simply wrong.

(2) "Much of the public only gets news from Democrat friendly sources like Non-Talk radio news, Network news, CNN, etc. The public has been worn down to the point they’ll give the media what it wants."

Gee, funny how the Democratic media-watching blogs (mediamatters, etc.) are so strangely unappreciative of the bias the "mainstream media" allegedly shows to their party! (They especially seem strangely unappreciative of fellow-Comsymps Tim Russert and Wolf Blitzer...)
 
Written By: David T
URL: http://
McQ,
Was it really that or simply an electorate that was tired of 11 years of conservative rule?
Howard promised he would step down before this election, then retracted and ran. It was typical of his behaivour. Howard was an old arrogant prick, I think the swing was against him personally as much as anti the Liberals.

Scott Erb,
Ultimately, it isn’t a war, it’s a military enforced social engineering experiment...
This is an occupation and others previously - South Korea, Japan, Germany, Phillipines and Italy - were similarly militarily enforced and have not gone "horribly wrong" yet. It is not an experimental situation, but rather something that has occured a few thousand times with varying degrees of success throughout history.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
This is an occupation and others previously - South Korea, Japan, Germany, Phillipines and Italy - were similarly militarily enforced and have not gone "horribly wrong" yet. It is not an experimental situation, but rather something that has occured a few thousand times with varying degrees of success throughout history.
I think one of the reasons that things went so bad in Iraq is that people made those kinds of comparisons, not realizing that Iraq was very different than Germany, Japan or South Korea. In fact, it is weak argumentation to note conquests that "went well" and then assert that other conquests will go just as well without looking at the specifics. They should have looked at Britain’s efforts in Iraq between the wars rather than very different situations like those you list.

It was an experiment, it’s big government social engineering. And, well, big government social engineering usually doesn’t work.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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