Not so long ago Michael Kroger made a bit of a dick of himself while paying out Peter Costello on Jon Faine’s radio program. Actually he made a series of comments that undermined and probably destroyed his once powerful position as a power broker in the Liberal Party, but the one that caught my eye was that our friend Tony is a Rhodes Scholar so he can’t be easily dismissed as a bit of a dill. (Or words to that effect).
That got me thinking about what this type of claim actually means so it was off to Wiki for a drill down on Tony’s history. I thought he may have an Arts degree (either in basket weaving or bullshitting) or perhaps some religious thing masquerading as a degree.
I was partly right as far as the Arts component goes except the qualification is Master of Arts (MA) in Politics and Philosophy. Oxford Uni. His aussie quals are a Bachelor of Economics (BEc) and a Bachelor of Laws from Sydney Uni.
Okay. At some stage this bloke has been able to apply himself to his studies but that leaves us with quite a puzzle as to what went wrong along the way.
On the Economics side he has shown no ability that his studies would suggest he should be capable of. He is unable to construct an alternate budget with the help of Sloppy Joe and even incapable of attacking a Labor budget. When his chances have arisen he immediately goes for personal attacks rather than hard data. Even worse, his financial plan going into the last Election fell in a big black hole and worse again, he tried to bluster his way out when that was exposed.
Tony might just be the first Liberal in a long time to believe in the Magic Pudding as an adult.
On Political nous it’s even more peculiar. On a regular basis he will reverse a position held the previous day because the audience has changed. He will come to Horsham and tell farmers he is their best friend then turn around at a different meeting and promise to trash the National Broadband Network.
All this in a political climate where folk claim they hate pollies who will say anything to get voted in.
This second point is worrying from the aspect that Tony may think the Voters are easily tricked and of course a handful are this gullible, but looking at his figures in the Polls, it doesn’t look like you can fool all the people all the time. When the Election comes around and the Polls tighten up as they always do, Tony has to present himself as the alternative PM and having a clue will be important.
It leaves me wondering about how smart Tony actually is. There are academics out there who are brilliant at exams but hardly capable of getting in out of the rain. That’s fine if you work in a sheltered environment but Government is the real world and Voters need to trust you to really commit their vote. It’s not looking good for Tony.
Being the Liberal equivalent of Mark Latham is no doubt fun but have you ever seen a poll suggesting Mark should replace the current PM? It’s so silly it isn’t even tested.
Tony may have the bits of paper but does he have the smarts? If he has he has done a brilliant job at playing dumb.