October 12, 2004
LATHAM AND IRAQ
Let's take another look at Tim Lambert's claim that Iraq was "hardly an issue" in the election. "Anyone who has been following the election would know how little it was discussed," says Tim.
Anyone who watched the election debate between the two leaders would have heard Iraq mentioned 25 times ("Latham puts Iraq on the election table," wrote Margo Kingston, a source Lambert may find trustworthy).
Latham mentioned Iraq three times during his campaign launch (his promise to bring the troops home was a major part of his election platform, driving much media coverage); Howard's launch mentioned Iraq twice. Iraq was mentioned 27 times in questions and responses following Howard’s Press Club speech in the final week of the campaign. At Latham’s Press Club appearance (five mentions of Iraq, by the way) he was asked:
As a father of two young children, you would know, as I do, that Christmas is looming. Is that promise [to return troops] still possible to achieve? And why has that not been a central theme? Why has that hardly been raised during the election campaign?
Latham’s reply: "It’s been raised many, many times, and we've confirmed our policy and it's eminently achievable and it will be implemented by a Labor Government." This followed earlier Parliamentary disputes on Iraq between Latham and Howard. And the Jakarta bombing last month put terrorism issues (including, obviously, Iraq) front and centre ... to Latham's disadvantage, according to just-released internal ALP polling:
The polling, in 30 of Australia's most marginal seats, showed that after the bombing on September 9, Labor's primary vote fell to 37 per cent from 40, while the Coalition's primary vote rose to 48 per cent from 46.
Mr Latham's positive rating dropped five points and his negative rating rose two points.
By contrast, the positive rating for the Prime Minister, John Howard, increased three points and his negative rating fell by the same amount.
The Coalition lead on which party was better able to handle defence and terrorism jumped to 27 per cent from 23, while Mr Howard opened up a 6 percentage point lead over Mr Latham on which leader "deserves to win".
The SMH’s spin on this is that the bombing, and subsequent halt in campaigning, hurt Latham by causing him to lose "vital momentum". I disagree; I think it hurt him by reminding people of the issues at stake. As Herald reader John Chapman told Alan Ramsey the other day: "Believe it."
Posted by Tim Blair at October 12, 2004 01:18 PM
Can anybody read Ramsey's "believe it", without hearing Ben Stiller in Starsky & Hutch? "Do it. Do it" etc
Okay, maybe it is just me.
With Tim Lambert the end result is predetermined.
TO: Tim Blair
RE: Interesting Report
And yet the NYT, over here, still insists that terrorism and Iraq were not major factors in your election.
Thanks for the statistics. They'll come in handy over the next four weeks.
Keep up the good work...
...we're all excited.
The real question is whether the voters thought Iraq was important when deciding their vote, rather than whether Howard or Latham did. I would say it was not at all a vote-decider and that people were influenced much more by domestic issues and the "devil you know" rationale, IMHO.
Dan K — So what you're saying is that Labor completely misread the electorate and are all pissy because it must be the voters' fault they were so dense?
I wouldn't say completely but sure, they misread the electorate - that is why they weren't elected. But, if you're Australian, you must be aware that Labour campaigned mostly on the back of their domestic policies? AFAIA, the debate was the only substantially publicised discussion of Iraq policies during the election campaign. Not to forget that a large majority of people chose to watch Australian Idol over that debate!
Labor tried to make Iraq a big election issue, but it never got anywhere. Anywhere good for Labor, at least. It was Latham's plan to bring our troops back by Christmas that cemented my opposition to him.
Iraq was not in play because everyone has already decided where they stand on the issue. And given that the war has been largely a success and that Australia has suffered no casualties at all, trying to use Iraq as an electoral lever at this late date was never going to work.
Except... Except perhaps to stave off the bleeding of Labor votes to the Greens. And that didn't work too well either.
Now you're citing Margo? You must be desperate.
You only need to read the post-election threads here and at other 'conservative' blogs to understand what an overwhelming issue Irag and support for the war on terror was in the election. There were so many posters expressing relief that the vermin-hunt can continue. But of course the left would probably see all of the many posters as unrepresentative, just as the fourth Howard government is unrepresentative, despite having a MAJORITY of people supporting them.
One of the central features of the armory gathered against Howard before October 9, was the incessant 'Howardlies' theme, and the central feature of that, was IRAQ.
After October 9, Iraq suddenly had nothing to do with it, and it was all about the ECONOMY.
Do they honestly believe people will accept that horseshit?
Well Tim, speaking of desperate in your attempts to put a gloss on a bad result, though what is your explanation?
Is that your only response?
I think it was a bigger issue than it was made out to be. The polite thing to do by by both parties was to not bring it up too much because everyone knows it is a touchy subject. Plus, as someone has already said, everyone had their mind made up already.
Earlier, Lambert dismissed a straightforward account of anti-war demonstrations because ... it came from the Taiwan Times! Never mind that it was a simple recitation of facts.
He's hurting. Let him stew for a while.
If Iraq was a major issue then why was there no major advertisement on the issue.
given the sample the ALP usually uses those polling figures are within the margin of error moreover why weren't these figures replicated in the three major opinion polls.
It was mortgage rates and interest rate sensitivity that determined the election. People didn't really care about Iraq et al.
They knew interest rates had only rien twice under howard and that was good enough for them.
Mind you high interest rate sensitivity works both ways!
For lots of people I know, Iraq was an issue indeed--and one of the most important reasons why they voted for the Coalition. The thing is, bottom line is that Saddam is gone and his dynasty finished once and for all. That is the biggest thing to come out of the Iraq war. Labor's Iraq 'policy' was at one with the rest of their platform--ie ignore the actual reality--of the world and of Australia-- for some kind of desperate attempt to differentiate yourself.
Homer Paxton — that's the point. Labor COMPLETELY misread the electorate...
Re Latham's weaselly "bring the troops home by Christmas" policy--- he was aping his mentor Gough Whitlam's "bring the troops home from Vietnam" policy in 1972. He thought that if it worked for Gough, it would work for him.
Bad choice. He forgot East Timor. John Howard's decision to send troops there in 1998 made John Howard a hero in the eyes of anyone who has any morality at all. Labor fostered a shameful Indonesian appeasement policy for decades, and John Howard put a resounding end to it. He made us proud.
Latham is a walking disaster; he's got no principles and no moral character. If he did have, he would have remembered East Timor, and the electorate's reaction to it.
Not enough attention has been given to disseminating the Duefler report and the Mahdi Obeidi book "The Bomb In My Garden" - election fever perhaps?
Those that like to harp on the lie lie lie mantra should read these and reflect on the implications of saddams program.
I totally agree . I got the distinct impression that if Howard had said the troops would be home by Xmas, Latham would be pushing to keep them there just to have a point of difference. So the totally sane idea to keep up our troop commitments in Iraq till some time after elections and further stabilisation was blidly countered with Lathams bring them home. A position of absoloute pure insanity.
I know a lot of people that had a big problem with that, I know I did. Latham just plucked Xmas out of this air picturing himself welcoming the troops home for a Yuletide beach barby as the adoring public threw bunting and streamers. What he did not see were the Aussies who did not want to be seen as quiters and disloyal friends.
Just on a logistical level the whole plan was as sensible as doing the ironing whilst taking a bath. Who pray tell was going to guard our diplomats and other Civies in Iraq?
Latham a 24 carat arsehole plain and simple.
Homy.... consider that Iraq was important in the sense that the Labor campaign decided to use the word (but never argue it) and move on. They understood that any down and dirty exchanges were likely to highlight concepts like "appeaser" and "mullah hugger" (my favourite).
Many Australians deduced that some of Ivan's mates in Labor quite fancy a few ADF casualties to demonstrate the error of our ways, so you'll appreciate my joy when he got 27% of the primary.
extraordinary - 1st time I have read this blog but to read a comment such as "For lots of people I know, Iraq was an issue indeed--and one of the most important reasons why they voted for the Coalition. The thing is, bottom line is that Saddam is gone and his dynasty finished once and for all. That is the biggest thing to come out of the Iraq war. Labor's Iraq 'policy' was at one with the rest of their platform--ie ignore the actual reality--of the world and of Australia-- for some kind of desperate attempt to differentiate yourself." Makes me realise I am living in a parallel universe to those who voted for Howard. I mean for f**ks sake thereis enough information out ther in both the blogsphere and the mainstream press for us to be awrae that post invasion Iraq is a disaster..especially for the Iraqi people. for a genuine slice of reality from current day Iraq have a read of Faiza's blog @ http://afamilyinbaghdad.blogspot.com/
I wouldn't have voted for that oaf Latham had he been standing against Pol Pot, but if I had been a swinging voter, that asinine statement of "bringing the troops home by Christmas" would have *guaranteed* a vote against him.
yeah lloydy, fuck the iraqi people, they've never had democracy in their culture therefore we shouldnt impose it upon them. what would those stupid little brown sand monkeys know anyway?
Re: The NY Times:
Queried their search string on Australia.
INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC | October 8, 2004
War in Iraq Plays a Role in Elections in Australia
By RAYMOND BONNER (NYT) News
But not true, according to the "Ghost of Elections Future" Raymond Bonner:
INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC | October 10, 2004
Australians Re-elect Howard as Prime Minister
By RAYMOND BONNER (NYT) News
"Iraq loomed in the background during the campaign, but Australian political analysts cautioned that the voting was not a referendum on the war. The main issue was the economy, and that is booming."
Gee, what happened between the 8th and the 10th?
Gee, what happened between the 8th and the 10th?
See, what people like LLoyd don't realise is just because they may have been able have block out the unbelievable suffering that the Iraqi's suffered before the Coalition intervened, most Australians haven't, most Australians realise that while what Iraqi's are going through now is horrible, it doesn't even come close to what was happening a couple of years ago, and that it may well be a rugged start to to an era of unprecedented peace, prosperity and freedom for the Iraqi's, something of which there was no possibilityof happenening without external help.
People like Lloyd only let themselves see the present suffering in Iraq, they dismiss the past horrors, and in positively and passionately refuse to let themselves see the overwhelming evidence of hope for the future amongst Iraqi's (something they haven't had for so long)...but most Australians do see that hope.
Some of the lower life forms among the anti-war people even wish for failure in Iraq, whats the bet that every single one of those terrorist arse-lickers were in favour of Lathams moronic "policy" of pulling our troops out of Iraq by Christmas? As was clear by the almost universal outrage over Lathams policy, most compassionate people believe that we have to continue to try and give the Iraqi's a chance at freedom, and that just wasn't going to happen if they voted for Latham.
Does the election result indicate that the majority of Australians think it was a wonderful thing to go to war in Iraq? Maybe not, but does it mean that most Australians don't believe that Howard lied to get us into Iraq, that they don't believe that it was completely and utterly the wrong thing to do, of course it does, no leader could survive taking a country to war under those circumstances.
Lloyd, I think many of us are probably more familiar with post-war Iraq than you think.
Take a look at Tim's blogroll, perhaps?
Here's some for Lloyd's perusal:
and take a look at all twelve parts of "The Good News From Iraq" at http://chrenkoff.blogspot.com/ before you start throwing around the words "disaster".
Of course, all this assumes you have a genuine interest in being open-minded rather than a shrill partisan.
And here's a picture of another "disaster", Afghanistan.
On election night all the Liberal commentators and reelection politicians told us - 50 billion times on my count - that this election was about interest rates, Learner Latham and Howard's Battlers. The Labor party agreed.
Iraq didn't rate a mention, because the voters didn't care. I wish they did, you wish they did, but they didn't.
Whatever. This election's over and I hope our military involvement is a (bittersweet) memory by 2007.
And another thing...
Speaking as what you would label a Howard "hater", I always thought that "bringing the troops home by Christmas" was silly. Maybe even sillier than signing a big piece of cardboard :)
On the few reports that I've seen, Aussie troops are among the best at gaining the local's trust, reducing tensions and providing stability and peace. We should stay as long as long as we're doing good and Iraqi government still wants us.
Jesus H. Christ, do leftists really have the memory of goldfish, or do they simply think their opponents do? Is there really anyone who doesn't remember the freefall collapse in Latham's approval rating after he announced his "troops home by Christmas" debacle (assuming you still believe polls are credible)? Characteristically, Chamberlatham refused to back down from his folly, later repeating this mistake with his "no sap for jobs" policy. The Libs wouldn't back down either, hence Chamberlatham's desperate, pathetic pleading with Howard to say "I was wrong to be anti-appeasement" in the last week of the election. The result was that the ALP had already alienated anti-appeasement Australians, and had already gained any pro-appeasement votes to be had. I think what leftists meant by "Iraq wasn't an issue" was they could get no further traction against the government by beating the "Howard lied" dead horse.
This is all part of the problem of leftists living exclusively in the miasma of each other's flatus. They think Australians care more about "children overboard" than about unwanted immigrants from hostile cultures turning up uninvited with their hands out, expecting to bypass admission procedures. They think ordinary Australians share their obsessive, pathological hatred of our popular four-term prime minister. They think we care more about jihadi children in detention centres than about the fate of Australian children if those jihadis are released. They assume we share their self-hatred, millenarianism and dependency on the taxpayer. But every now and then comes a reminder of reality that even they can't ignore, and the cognitive dissonance sees them lashing out insanely like Alan Ramsey, or searching for scapegoats or taking a month off to retreat into their protective fantasy world.
TO: Clem Snide
RE: It's All About "Face"
"... do leftists really have the memory of goldfish, or do they simply think their opponents do? Is there really anyone who doesn't remember the freefall collapse in Latham's approval rating after he announced his "troops home by Christmas" debacle (assuming you still believe polls are credible)?" -- Clem Snide
They're trying to (1) save face for Latham and the leftists down under and (2) cover up the problem of that approach for the leftists here and OUR forthcoming general election.
Hence this reckless spinning.
I believe one of the reasons why 'Howard Lied!!" drew no traction is that although the left regards the rest of their countrymen as thick as two planks of tofu, their countrymen are smart enough to know that ... guess what? ALL politicians bullshit at times.
The correct response exhibited by most Australians with any measure of common sense to the howardlied mantra is: 'Well duh!'
I believed he acted on information that was up to date at the time. If things turn out to be different later, then that doesn't mean 'lies' were told. But most Australians don't follow politics that closely and to hear endless parroted screeching of Howard Lied, Howard Lied -especially when accompanied by TV footage of the usual social misfits chanting it - only serves to alienate and antagonise them.
Australians with common sense also understand that, although they may have misgivings over the participation in Iraq, they understand that the reality is that we are there now, and to pack our bags and GIVE UP is, in local parlance, a pretty piss-poor effort mate.
1) Attila: Seriously, you are willing to watch a Ben Stiller movie? Uncoerced? Jeez, you're a brave man.
2) Eagerly awaiting lloyd's proof that Iraqis were better off under Saddam than now. Guess I won't be holding my breath.
Hey Tim! You discussed the political implications of the embassy bombing. Shouldn't you delink yourself?
As for the rest of your post, read this.
Hmmm...So if Iraq wasn't much of an issue, then Howard won on domestic issues. I love it! Once Labor/Dems lose "domestics" they're in the ash heap forever.
Tim L.: I cite facts. You cite opinions. Incidentally, one of the opinions you don't cite is Mark Latham's, about whether Iraq was raised as an election issue:
"It's been raised many, many times."
You calling Latham a liar?
You calling Latham a liar?
Well, he's already a loser.
Dear tim, you don't seem to have made it all the way to the end of my post. I cite opinions (looks like everybody disagrees with you) AND facts.
As for Latham's comment, is it your position that Latham's statements are always accurate?
This is good stuff. Stick to your guns, Tim (Blair), we’re going for the year’s last big one.
I posted this last night in another thread, but I see that it belongs here:
Jebus I am uncoordinated before coffee in the morning. Take two.
I posted this last night in another thread, but I see that it belongs here:
Here is a thought.
The MSM and the left deride Howard, but given their opinion now that Latham's campaign stalled back in March with the "troops home by Christmas" promise, how do they explain the timing of the election?
Obviously, to me at least, Howard did not want the second anniversary of the Bali bombing to be caught up and distorted in the last week of an electoral campaign.
As Tim has said CLASS.
It can also be argued that Iraq was predominant - by omission - and Latham cut and ran from and acted unilaterally to stated ALP defence policy by saying he would bring the troops home by Xmas.
Principal among these challenges is the impact of terrorism on Australia's national security. The emergence of al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiah and related terrorist organisations has profoundly reshaped Australia's strategic environment. The attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States caused the deaths of some 3000 people of 92 nationalities. It resulted in the invocation for the first time since its inception of the ANZUS treaty because 11 September constituted an attack on the metropolitan territory of an ally. As a result, Australia became engaged in military conflict in Afghanistan, under the authorisation of a UN Security Council Resolution, against al Qaeda and the Taliban regime that had provided their operating base.
The Bali bombings on 12 October 2002 by Jemaah Islamiah (itself directly associated with al Qaeda) brought terrorism to Australia's doorstep and shattered the lives of many Australians. Terrorism continues to represent a significant threat to Australians abroad, particularly, but not exclusively, in South East Asia where al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah remain active.
Terrorism therefore represents a major new factor in Australia's strategic environment which requires a comprehensive policy response at home, in the region through cooperative efforts with regional partners, as well as globally.
Isnt there something missing? I.R.A.Q.?
As for Latham's comment, is it your position that Latham's statements are always accurate?
Breathatking. Move over, Chris Sheil!!
*while he waits for the page to reload, knowing it is too late to catch the type, he sits there looking at the word "breathatking" and wondering how he make up some meaning for the word. . .*
It's fun to watch Lambert twisting in the breeze for once. -Always quick himself with the smears and libels.
Counting the number of times a word appears is not an appropriate measure of the number of mentions. If a person used the word 'Iraq' 27 times in a single response to a question, it means that they mentioned it once, not 27 times.
we own our own modest home and a Holden and a Nissan
.we have no debts,live modestly, never eat out except for our son's/daughter's birthday annually and enjoy a nice bottle of wine 3-4 nights a week.
We have no grandchildren- have private health cover and are very fit and believe in prevention rather than cure-
So why did we vote in a conservative party?
1-after 37 years of marriage and time to evaluate many elections- we have not at any time had a socialist goverment that in any way improved our human condition- every time despite all the rhetoric they COST us big time by highter interest rates and profligate spending- we paid big time on entering the home market and even bigger selling.
The Liberal Goverment helped many young attain their first home which we appoved of despite neither of our children were able to benefit- only complaint- SHOULD have been means tested.
As a nurse under all labor goverments we suffered greater difficulties funding shortfalls for staff and beds- not that the conservatives have no share in the blame but under labor it has been more difficult.
2-It was naive to think that security can just depend on a coast guard patrol and on our shores-
Mark L' need to review his history books re start of WW1& 2- no man nor country is an 'Island' we are all our brothers keeper- If we do nothing and do not support our allies we cannot exoect them to come to our aid if ever in trouble-and whilst I have no animosity to any Asian peoples I am not totally convinced that the 250 million Indonesians just a few k's from our shores entertain the same level of benevolance toward us.
As individuals they are delightful and charming people, I have friends from those regions and friends who have children married to Asians some who are Muslims.
I have never believed that Saddam had not evil and entertained grandiose plans for world domination and one should NEVER give someone of his ilk the benefit of the doubt. He gave enough indications of his capabilities - witness Iran, Kuwait, and the Kurds and his own citizens.
Oil a consideration- naive to think otherwise- but stupid beyond belief to allow such a dictator to hold the rest of the world to ransome over resources that they could never have developed and marketed without the vast resources of America and Great Britain' France and the Dutch. We cannot allow one man to cause the whole western world to collapse through the witholding of oil or sending the price to a level where business cannot afford to function and you cannot afford to fill your car.
3- Schools- devisive and mean spirited and hatred for those who have achieved despite his emty talk of 'ladders of opportunity' 'easing the squeeze'
always reminds one of a womans elastic girdle ease the pressure over the belly and it is transfered to the diaphragm and asphyxiate.
Health---speaks for itself
Finally they are so out of touch with real people and insult our intelligence at their peril-We may not have the benefit of the airy halls of academia but most of us are real people who can and do think for themselves and do not wish to be dictated too and told what is best for us.
I could go on but I will be censored
Lastly they showed no reason why we should trust them-whilst denigrating a good and decent man The Prime Minister in the most vile and disgusting way and showed themselves unfit to represent us on the world stage
You won't be censored Rose. Unless you insult me (never insult the administrator of the forum), insult everyone else without adding anything to the argument, or I happen to have a migraine that day. Okay just kidding about that last one. Maybe.
Dr. N.O. Brain — I once watched a whole Ben Stiller movie, solely for the promise of some Carmen Electra girl-on-girl action. Still wasn't worth it.
The dominant factor, Tim, is that everyone is fed up with Labo(u)r. For a long time.
I never claimed Iraq was a dominant or major factor, TL. You've got to read things more carefully. I merely claimed -- and demonstrated -- that, far from being "hardly an issue" and "little discussed", Iraq was an issue that received much discussion.
Less so than interest rates, obviously. But still enough to blow your half-reasoned theory out of the water. I mean, please ... I haven't even mentioned the increased Greens vote yet. What drove that? What single issue (hint: three letters, starts with 'w'!) did Bob Brown most concentrate on?
well i would say "tasmanian forests", but that doesn't start with w.
I haven't even mentioned the increased Greens vote yet. What drove that?
there is [or rather, was] this party called the democrats. you may have heard of them.
i note that we're ignoring chris jarrett. also in re those 27 mentions in the press club q and a, you fail to point out that the only reason the word "iraq" was ever mentioned at all was because the press asked about it. it certainly wasn't something howard wanted to bring up.
as other have noted, neither major party put iraq front-and-centre at any point of the campaign, and certainly not in their advertising nor big media events [launches and so forth].
for what it's worth, if labor had won, i don't think anyone credible on the left would be saying that this was because the electorate rejected our involvement in iraq. it just wasn't an issue. more to the point, the left of australian politics would much rather a victory be credited to themes like medicare gold, university fees, fairer school funding, tasmanian forests and improvements to the family tax system.
these are, incidentally, all issues that labor pushed harder on than iraq. labor also went hard on the whole costello-succession thing, and the liberals-secretly-want-to-destroy-medicare theme.
the liberals for their part pushed the following more than iraq:
- their economic credentials
- interest rate issues
- "learner" latham
- allegations that various labor policies [medicare gold, family tax etc] were not fully costed
- medicare safety net
- national security and pre-emptive strikes at our neighbours
- labor being in bed with the greens
you're right to say iraq was not a "dominant or major factor". it was less dominant than all of the above. once you climb down to this point, you're essentially on a par with tim lambert.
An EXboard politics forum concerning this topic