Let’s just run through what’s happened. Costello does Ted. Jeff bites back. State director Julian Sheezel slaps him down. The party president joins in. And the Treasurer releases his attack dog, Michael Kroger.
Kroger has had a busy morning. After his go at Jeff, he had a wider swing on ABC Radio:
We do have this problem in the Liberal Party.
We do have John Hewson, John Valder and Malcolm Fraser, who despite being an old friend of mine is a constant critic of the Federal Government, and Jeff Kennett.
The Liberal Party does have a cultural problem in the sense that these former leaders seem to find it necessary to bag the Government, or various sections of the government, whenever they find the opportunity.
Kroger’s right on one thing. This is all indicative of a wider problem in the Liberal Party – but that problem is Peter Costello.
The Treasurer started this round with some churlish comments on the Victorian party – but it’s not a Victorian issue at all. It’s a demonstration of why the Treasurer just doesn’t have what it takes to be leader.
He can’t do the numbers – and he can’t do his own dirty work. He needs a proxy.
The kids – Mitch, Tony, Chris – aren’t up to the job. Ronno’s got no profile. So he falls back on his svengali.
Now there’s a certain political talent in knowing when to wield the knife – and when to get someone to do it for you. But one day, sooner or later, you need to pick it up.
And that’s Peter Costello’s problem. He just stares at it with horror. He can’t bring himself to strike.