In case you failed to read a lot of the political coverage of last week, the important message was "pragmatism". The government had decided, apparently, to stop being so rigidly ideological and embrace political realism. Central to this interpretation was the dumping of the proposed amendments to s.18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. Even as the Right railed against the decision, Coalition loyalists were lauding the move. Dennis Shanahan hailed it as a Howardesque "cleaning of the barnacles" that would help portray Abbott as a moderate centrist -- attacked by Labor and the Greens for even thinking about changing the RDA, and attacked by the Right for not doing it.