M.A.D. in Labor

I’m enjoying immensely the battle in Australia over the leadership of the Australian Labor Party. The current infighting is giving up plenty of ammunition for the Liberals:

At least when the US and Russia were locked in a situation of mutually assured destruction during the Cold War they each had the good sense not to press the button.

Not so the Australian Labor Party.

As the Rudd camp kept saying yesterday, down at Liberal HQ enough material has been recorded in the past 24 hours to make lethal attack ads for every day of the next election campaign.

The best ammunition for the Liberals has been provided by Gillard supporters against Kevin Rudd. Minister after minister fronted the cameras yesterday in a clear attempt to tear apart Rudd’s record and reputation so comprehensively that – whatever the merits of their arguments – the caucus has to conclude he is unelectable.

This is a strategy to smash Rudd on Monday and bury the idea of a second ballot at the same time.

If Rudd’s ”people power” campaign unexpectedly prevailed, the only problem for the Liberals’ federal director, Brian Loughnane, would be choosing which clips to use.

Would he start with Wayne Swan calling Rudd ”dysfunctional”, ”deeply flawed” and ”erratic”, or go for Julia Gillard openly accusing the leader she served of ”sabotaging” the 2010 election campaign, lacking the ”discipline” to stay focused in the tough times, and of leading a government ”paralysed” by Rudd’s ”difficult and chaotic work patterns”? Truly an embarrassment of riches.

But if Gillard wins, as seems most likely, Loughnane can still roll out Rudd explaining that the Labor Party organisation needed reform so it was ”no longer governed by the faceless men”.

You can imagine the scary red and black images and the deep voice-over: ”Julia Gillard isn’t the real prime minister – just ask Kevin Rudd”.