OK, so four weeks of Grumpy Old
Men might have been a bad influence – but why-oh-why are our
journalists concentrating on the forensics of John Howard’s leadership
comments and the force five flounce that’s come in reply from Dollar
Sweetie? What’s really fascinating here is the insight we’ve had into
Peter Costello’s psyche. He can’t challenge. Pure and simple. He
doesn’t have the numbers. But he wants the top job. So what does he do?
He sulks. That’s really impressive.

How
can Dollar Sweetie expect the prime ministership to fall into his lap?
It’s impossible to identify what he stands for. His supporters know
this – hence their effort in the Daily Telegraphtoday
about life under PM Costello. Real catch up stuff. It must have taken
all of two minutes to scribble that down on the back of a napkin at the
Flower Drum.

And what’s Dollar Sweetie done to deserve the job?
The most charitable argument is he’s been a key part of a successful
team, as we said yesterday. It might be more realistic to say he’s just
kept a hand on the tiller of a good ship whose course was well and
truly set for calm and balmy waters by Paul Keating a long, long time
ago – and all he’s had to do is trim the sails every now and then.

Resorting
to blackmail – “Sources close to Mr Costello said senior Liberal Party
figures were concerned that without an orderly transition, the future
prospects of the Government would be blighted” in The Sydney Morning Heraldtoday and the even more detailed threats in the Telegraph– is just plain pathetic.

Tony Abbott’s catty intervention yesterday
didn’t help. It was pure provocation. But the overwhelming impression
of the treasurer we’re left with is of someone who’s impatient,
immature and impetuous. Ghastly traits for a leader. Pouty Pete. Dollar
Sweetie. The man who wants the prime ministership and wants it now.

Don’t
Liberals believe in people being promoted on merit? Isn’t it the ALP
that runs on the “it’s my turn next” principal? Democrat Andrew
Bartlett gets laughed at because of his musical tastes, but he should
lend Dollar Sweetie some of his Smiths’ CDs. We can think of a perfect
song for the treasurer at the moment. “You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet
Baby”.

Peter Fray

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