Spiro Agnew had a nice turn of phrase when he spoke about what we know as elite opinion:

Nattering nabobs of negativism;

Pusillanimous pussyfoots;

Hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history;

The liberal intellectuals…masochistic compulsion to destroy their country’s strength; and

The effete corps of impudent snobs.

Unfortunately, his career ended messily. Yet it seems that key figures in the government from the PM down have decided to adopt the Spiro Agnew approach. Here’s the PM on the 7:30 Report on Monday:

What I intend to do is to point out the consequences more strongly of a Labor victory because there are economic consequences. The Labor Party to date has got away with this proposition that the economy will sail on unmolested if a Labor government were elected.

Here’s him warning of higher prices under Labor IR changes on Tuesday:

[T]his ‘risk of Rudd clause’ being inserted in building contracts. I mean, this is a live practical example of the consequences of electing a Labor government.

This is the Treasurer from yesterday:

The interesting thing about this latest Labor move for an extreme makeover for Kevin Rudd is that it reveals an obsession with badging to cover up substance.

And here’s Joe Hockey from Lateline last night on whether WorkChoices may have had anything to do with recent poll results:

Well the answer’s no, and of course it’s no.

Cossie may smirk at his clever quips in Question Time, but voters don’t like it when politicians go yapping away. Yet that’s all we seem to be getting from the government. Yapping.

Compare and contrast with the calm, unruffled, unrattled demeanour Kevin Rudd is adopting in parliament and his pressers.

At the moment, we appear to have a carping, critical government. And, going by the polls, the voters are nixing the nattering nabobs of negativity.

At the moment, the government doesn’t seem to be offering any ideas. Rudd seems to be the bloke with policies. The government looks like an opposition – and that’s exactly where the punters might put them.

Peter Fray

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