July 09, 2004


"Latham has a ball," reports the Sydney Morning Herald, striving as always for accuracy. Mark Forbes and Michelle Grattan in The Age, however, strive for the opposite. Here they cover Mark Latham’s request that everybody butt out of Australian domestic issues:

He noted that left-wing US filmmaker Michael Moore had also stepped into Australian politics. Moore said this week that Prime Minister John Howard "appears to have half a brain" in supporting Mr Bush on Iraq.

What we’ve got here is a unique case of a left-wing newspaper misrepresenting Michael Moore. Moore said that Howard supported the war despite being somewhat intelligent; The Age implies he supported it because, in Moore’s estimation, Howard was deficient. Here’s Moore’s full quote:

"What's confusing to me is how someone like John Howard can get in bed with George W. Bush," Moore said. "He at least appears to have half a brain ... It's really disgraceful."

Yes, Mike. Yes, it is. The Age piece continues:

Mr Latham, campaigning on the NSW central coast, said: "I'd ask these commentators overseas to respect Australia's democratic processes just as we respect theirs."

When Latham said "Bush himself is the most incompetent and dangerous President in living memory", he meant it respectfully.

UPDATE. "Beating up on friendly foreign political parties is not only unsightly," says attention-starved former PM Paul Keating, "it is also dumb and counter productive in the longer term." After which Keating dumbly beats up on a friendly foreign political party:

"A modicum of self regard might have taken Richard Armitage and his secretary, Colin Powell, out of this administration over its policy in Iraq," he said.

"I can understand both men seeing it as their duty to stay on to fight the fight within the administration for America's sake.

"But I should have thought a little humility might have been appropriate or at least some contrition."

It’s always entertaining when Keating lectures people about humility and contrition.

UPDATE II. John Howard on Latham’s double standard:

Mr Howard described the Opposition Leader's indignation over comments made by US Deputy Head of State Richard Armitage as "an extraordinary double standard".

"Mr Latham says it's perfectly OK for him to call George Bush the most dangerous and incompetent President in living memory," Mr Howard said. "Yet when a member of Bush's Administration states what many people believe to be a fact, there's something wrong."

Posted by Tim Blair at July 9, 2004 03:57 AM

As soon as Keating pipes up - John Howard's numbers go up. It is a simple correlation and now that he has finally come out of the woodwork I think that everything is going to be ok now.

Posted by: Rob at July 9, 2004 at 07:19 AM

"What's confusing to me is how someone like John Howard can get in bed with George W. Bush," Moore said.

Moore has trouble figuring that out since no matter how large the bed, when Mikey lays down, there's only room for one!


Thank you but this stuff writes itself!

Posted by: JDB at July 9, 2004 at 08:33 AM

Mark Latham the leader: little more than a strategically shaved monkey dressed in a suit.

Posted by: BT at July 9, 2004 at 09:31 AM

When's someone going to ask Keating how the home mortgage business is in China?

Posted by: Hanyu at July 9, 2004 at 09:53 AM

Moore said that Howard supported the war despite being somewhat intelligent; The Age implies he supported it because, in Moore’s estimation, Howard was deficient.

Well, the question is whether you see Howard's brain as half full or half empty. Apparently Moore qualifies as more optimistic than The Age.

Posted by: Otter at July 9, 2004 at 09:54 AM

Actually, the left-wing press misrepresents Michael Moore all the time. They call him a documentarian.

Posted by: Mike Welch at July 9, 2004 at 10:06 AM

How unusual that Keating and Fraser, both booted out of government, now seem avdisors on political matters.
Malcolm Fraser couldn't remember loosing his pants in a hotel lobby so how is it his now older brain seems to be lucid.

Strange how I haven't heard either of the two cock-gobblers rebuke the UN, Amnesty, the Red Cross and other foreign refugee groups on their criticism of our government, aren't they also meddling.

Oops, I forgot, it's only meddling if it is bad press for the codless wonder Latham in his labor butt buddy's.

Posted by: scott at July 9, 2004 at 10:30 AM

Slightly OT, but beautiful:Likeks is mighty impressed by your contribution to Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man

Plus, it has an essay by Tim Blair, who is crueler and funnier than Moore can ever hope to be. If Moore had Blair’s talent, Ralph Nader would not only be elected president but elevated to Global Pope-Emperor by a deafening national voice-vote.


Posted by: Spiny Norman at July 9, 2004 at 11:41 AM

Being lectured to by Paul Keating is like being flogged with a warm lettuce.

Posted by: Dylan at July 9, 2004 at 11:56 AM

Actually to be completely accurate, Latham has no ball. The ball he was apparently kicking around , ended up in the water ( see the SMH pic of a forlorn ball floating in the sea, and an equally forlorn bunch of kids looking at Marky, who seems embarrassed). According to the Telegraph (but not the SMH), Latham kicked it into the water. Spoilsport!

Posted by: freddyboy at July 9, 2004 at 01:05 PM

Sorry, didn't realise ytour link already included the pic.

Posted by: freddyboy at July 9, 2004 at 01:07 PM

On the very day John Howard laments the coarsening of Australians (incidentally, front page news in the UK press, since it confirms the British stereotype of Aussies), Paul Keating has to prove him right, with vintage vitriol that we haven't heard for years.It's no surprise that the pioneer of gutter politics is Mark's mentor.

Posted by: freddyboy at July 9, 2004 at 03:13 PM

its amazing that latham thinks he can make downright rude personal comments about the president of the USA and the way the US conducts business; but when asked a point blank question concerning the troops in iraq and lathams promise to pull out president bush is expected to remain silent and theres a hue and cry that he answered it in a straightforward manner, unlike lathams quite extreme comments about GWB

Posted by: dl at July 9, 2004 at 05:57 PM

Fahrenheit 911 is being released in the Middle East this week. I'm sure it will be a big hit in Tehran and Damascus. I also wonder how it will do in Baghdad.
This is a good time to map the side effects of that kind of agitprop and mendacity. If civil harm comes of it, the left in the western public will have sort out their reasons for throwing in their lot with the likes of Michael Moore or ANSWER.

Posted by: Joe at July 9, 2004 at 10:50 PM

... unless the left thought that they could compartment this for simple *self-loathing* purposes...

Posted by: Joe at July 9, 2004 at 10:51 PM