Punters love Peter Costello. Treasurer Peter Costello, that is. Terry McCrann is very droll on the subject today:

This Budget is so good it will chill Costello’s chances of succeeding Howard any time soon. Hey, that’s exactly what I wrote last year. That his 10th Budget guaranteed he would be back to do an 11th.

Guess what? His 11th Budget last night guarantees he will be back to do a 12th. Whether minister or backbencher, you’d have to be nuts to consider trading the best leadership pair we’ve ever had, in the specific jobs they seem to have been born for.

Over at The Age, Costello biographer Shaun Carney says exactly the same thing:

Peter Costello, like the rest of us, never expected to find himself delivering budget number 11 with the end of his long, long stint as Treasurer nowhere in sight…

The budget sprays money in many directions, much of it in the direction of families on middle incomes. It is likely to be quite popular. If it is, that will only confirm Howard’s high standing in the polls and further convince nervous Liberal MPs that they are correct to want the double act of Prime Minister Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello to stay on and on.

And of course they will – as far as we can tell.

As we said in the Budget edition, this is a serial Budget. We got Part I last night. We get Part II next year – in the lead-up to the election.

Who remembers Maxwell Caulfield? Any takers? Here’s a hint. He had the male lead in a big sequel. Still no takers? He was the star of Grease II. “I didn’t even know there was a sequel,” most of you are probably thinking. Yup. And the lesson from it is that they should have stuck with John Travolta.

The Coalition backbench has got the word.