Barnaby Joyce Michael McCormack
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

As the fourth prime ministerial leadership coup of the decade fades from the memory six months on, there's something almost comforting about the return of leadership speculation to the headlines this morning.

The focus of attention this time is Michael McCormack, Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister, whose abysmal name recognition and weak media performances (notably his excruciating interview with Waleed Aly on the Ten's The Project, which has ricocheted around social media for the past week) reportedly have his colleagues considering exchanging one set of problems for another by returning to Barnaby Joyce.