Joe Hockey in Washington DC
Joe Hockey (Image: Sky News)

Joe Hockey, apparently, has spent several years in Washington DC. First as Australia’s ambassador to the court of mad king Donald, these days as a lobbyist in his own K-Street outfit, established with some former embassy personnel to take advantage of his links with Trump.

If you’re from outside the US and don’t have even a nodding understanding of American history, it might surprise you when you visit DC to discover that it’s an African-American city. For 200 years, until a decade ago, it was a majority Black city; even now, nearly half of the city’s population is Black.

Joe appears not to have noticed that fact during his time in the elites circles of DC; perhaps he was too busy reading his briefs while being chauffeured to Capitol Hill to look out the car window. That’s the only reason a resident of DC could possibly have for expressing surprise that DC delivered 93% of its vote to Joe Biden.

“I find it hard to believe,” opined Joe to right-wing shock jock Ben Fordham, in the course of blithely agreeing with Donald Trump that there was election fraud in the US and that there was “plenty of good reason to have litigation”.

Well, Hillary Clinton managed 91% of the DC vote in 2016. So did Barack Obama four years earlier. In 2008 he cracked 92%. In fact the last Democrat not to get over 80% of the DC vote was Jimmy Carter, who got 75% when he lost to Reagan. But Joe still thinks the Democrats cheated.

What other evidence did the former treasurer and ambassador evince for his extraordinary claim? “It is a complete dog’s breakfast right across the country,” he offered.

Well, that part is true — US voting is a dog’s breakfast, mainly because Republicans are hell-bent on making it as difficult as possible for minority voters to vote. But Joe wasn’t interested in any of that — he’s more concerned that Black Americans turned out to strongly vote against a white supremacist president in DC.

Although he’s a lobbyist these days with strong connections to the Trump administration, Hockey is still taken seriously by the media as some sort of US political pundit. But what sort of pundit doesn’t even know that DC is a Democratic stronghold? And for that matter, why on earth would anyone take their congressional business to a lobbyist who so patently doesn’t know basic facts about the US political system?

But this ignorance was deployed by Hockey in a mission of supporting Trump’s attack on democracy. Hockey thinks there’s good reason for litigation to stop the “dog’s breakfast” in the US — except the only example of the “dog’s breakfast” he offers is high levels of African-American voting, which he put down to Democrats engaging in multiple voting.

Hockey’s claims were so ridiculous that even The Australian attacked him.

The idea that Hockey has any credibility to comment on US political affairs after his statements is laughable. Any media outlet treating him seriously henceforth has questions to answer. You don’t make those sorts of appalling comments in support of an attack on democracy — and of your own business interests — without consequences.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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