Nostalgia rears its silly head. Throwing off the mistakes of the past is never easy; just look at the Liberal Party and its attitude to industrial relations. There is not the slightest doubt that the WorkChoices laws of John Howard were a principal reason for the Coalition’s defeat last year. Campaigning to restore WorkChoices would guarantee defeat next time. Yet Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson could not help himself the moment a journalist gave him a peg to hang a comment on to suggest that John Howard was right all along – WorkChoice legislation was good and abolishing it was bad. The man is a light weight and Kevin Rudd’s honeymoon will continue forever if he is not replaced.

Crude oil at $US120 plus a barrel. One good thing about the extraordinarily high price of crude oil is that it will put to the test the theory that increasing the price of petrol will lead to less greenhouse gas emissions as people use less. My guess is that it will not – not here in Australia nor in the rapidly developing Chinese motoring market.

Market moves strongly to Obama. The verdict of the voters of North Carolina and Indiana is in and the market has interpreted Barack Obama to be the clear winner overall. He is now rated an 82% chance on Betfair to finally gain the Democratic Party nomination and at 86% on Intrade.

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I have pocketed my Indiana gains and quit my position supporting Clinton to finally get there. The plea for financial support in Hillary’s “victory” speech had the look of desperation about it to me and the black vote support for Obama today was so strong that for the Democrats to deny him the party’s nomination would potentially lead considerable numbers staying away from the polls altogether if their man is not on the ballot against Republican John McCain. The veteran conservative columnist Robert Novak summarised yesterday’s results in this way:

Nevertheless, Clinton cannot catch Obama, and the bottom line is race. Obama won over 90 percent of the African-American vote in both states Tuesday, and that made life difficult for Clinton. Super-delegates flinch at going for Clinton because it would be seen as intentionally blocking the first black candidate with a chance to be nominated for president-threatening to alienate the most loyal element in the Democratic Party’s base.

The Daily Reality Check

The dancer just keeps on turning and the readers just keep on looking. The Right Brain vs Left Brain test is back on top of the Herald Sun website’s most read lists, seven months after making its first appearance. And people deciding if the dancer is turning clockwise or anti-clockwise has returned to the Daily Telegraph list as well. Not on top mind you. There’s the puzzle of whether Big Brother co-host Jackie O is a victim of body dysmorphia for Sydneysiders to solve first.

The Pick of this Morning’s Political Coverage

What the world is reading on the net

I wonder how many people would have to be killed for a natural disaster to become the most read story around the world? Not 100,000 or so by a cyclone in Burma obviously. The readers of the London Times and the ABC are very much the exceptions this morning in having Burma at the top of their most read lists. In Australia, eight of the 10 sites we survey each day did not have Burma even in the top five. At least most of the editors of international newspapers rated the story of this unfolding tragedy as being the one to feature even if their readers looked elsewhere. In Australia not one of the Murdoch tabloids thought 100,000 deaths worth leading with.

Quote of the Day:

There may only be three people in Australia who don’t believe that inflation is hurting working families through rising prices and rising mortgages. Dr Nelson, Mr Turnbull, and the Tooth Fairy. And all three are out of touch on this question.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking in Perth yesterday

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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