Campaign countdown: Rudd discovers the double negative
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appears to be embarking upon an interesting election strategy.
It is to remind people that although they are showing many signs of being sick of him and rather suspicious of his policies, the man who is set to replace will, much to their surprise, become Prime Minister: “If what we see in the polls today is reflected on election day, Mr Abbott would be the next prime minister of Australia. Let’s just be upfront about that,” he told the ABC yesterday.
To the untrained eye this is a statement of the bleeding obvious, but this is not the case. It is an advanced campaign political strategy: the double negative.
It’s rather complicated and you will have to consult historians about the last time this actually worked, but obviously, right now, it’s the best they’ve got.
The double negative works like this: Tony Abbott has succeeded so far by making Kevin Rudd own every backflip, every broken promise and every stuff-up of this Government. It’s negative, but it’s worked. Kevin Rudd’s strategy will therefore be to remind people that by dropping him they will be electing the negative guy that he assumes deep down nobody really likes. Hence, the double negative.
The Daily Telegraph today has labelled this “desperation” on Rudd’s behalf, with Abbott saying expects a “filthy campaign”. Mr Abbott said Labor “are ruthless political professionals. They will throw the kitchen sink at us,” a tacit acceptance that the Liberals are not political professionals, but regardless he also seems aware of the double negative.
Others within the Government are hoping that they are relying on more than the double negative to get re-elected, like for example, coming to some resolution with miners about the tax that has been taking up everybody’s time.
The SMH reports today that one Government minister has expressed fears about the tax, demanding some resolution with the miners before the election and before they lose all their Western Australian seats.
Although the Government’s favourite mining billionaire Clive Palmer may have given the Government some ammunition, after he admitted to ABC’s Four Corners that he “probably” exaggerated the effects of the tax on some of his mines.
But for all talk of the rise of a Green tide, nobody likes Rudd or Abbott polls stuff going on at the moment, the SMH’s Gerard Henderson today points out that the vast majority of people are still choosing to vote Labor or Liberal.
“For all the current media hype, this year’s election looks like a not untypical close encounter between Labor and the Coalition,” Henderson argues.
The Australian’s Peter van Onselen riffs on a similar theme today, reporting that Labor have warned Kevin Rudd he shouldn’t worry about losing votes to the left because they will come back on preferences. Instead Ministers have warned that Labor need to concentrate on not losing the swinging centre right-wing.
So you can look forward to more of the double negative in coming weeks, after all, it is going to be Rudd or Abbott as Prime Minister at the end of this, and it’s not going to bother either man too much how they get there.
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