Jacinda’s not the Messiah: Kevin was!

Photoshopped image credit: Lushington

As I have previously written for Whaleoil, the parallels between Jacinda Ardern and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd are many and serve as a rough guide to New Zealanders about the likely course of Ardern?s prime ministership. Most notable was the media?s fairy-tale love-affair with an inexperienced politician unexpectedly thrust into the highest office in the land, and how quickly and how badly it all went wrong.

That?s not how either of them sees it, of course. So, Kiwi cousins, read (if you have the stomach) Kevin?s memoirs, and steel yourself for the authohagiography which will no doubt grace New Zealand bookshelves in the years to come. Quote:

Kevin Rudd did not, as previously supposed, blunder his way through office charged with hubris, making it up as he went along. He was a nation-builder possessed with the vision and intellect that marks the great from the small-minded nobodies at one?s feet.

The PM Years, the second and probably not the last volume of Rudd?s memoirs, is a compendium of excuses.

Prime ministerial responsibility is abrogated on every page. Ducks are shoved and bucks are passed. Rudd has nothing to declare but his own genius. End of quote.

Blunder. Hubris. Abrogated responsibility. Is this all sounding a bit familiar?

There are even asylum seekers. Quote:

The history of the Rudd government was a story of triumph after triumph, in the telling of the 26th prime minister.

Relaxing the rules on asylum-seekers was an exercise in humanity rather than a signal to the people-smugglers to resume their trade. Rudd ?felt sick to the stomach? when he heard of asylum-seekers drowning at sea, but it was hardly his fault. End of quote.

Kevin didn?t have ?Aussiebuild?, but he did have ?Building the Education Revolution? (a Maoist obsession with grandiose slogans is something else these trans-Tasman fools have in common). Quote:

The notorious school hall and covered learning centre building program is reinvented as ?the $14.7 billion school modernisation plan?. It was greeted by ?wild applause? from Labor members who ?liked nothing more than a good spending program?, Rudd says. While lesser intellects might call it pork-barrelling, Rudd?s mind as ever was on higher things. End of quote.

Climate change is another shared obsession. Quote:

He boasts of raising the renewable energy target to 20 per cent, but fails to acknowledge the predictable consequence of inflated power prices.

The failure of the Copenhagen summit, despite Rudd?s heroic efforts, is blamed on the Chinese delegation. Rudd expresses displeasure at journalist David Marr for misreporting a colourful off-the record briefing. His actual words were that the Chinese delegates had ?rat-f..ked? the deal. ?I didn?t refer to the Chinese as Ratf..kers.? End of quote.

Then there is the endless blame-shifting and dodging of responsibility. Quote:

The list of the conspirators who ended his triumphant first term is long. It includes Rupert Murdoch and the editors he instructed to ?destroy the government?, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, Karl Bitar, Mark Arbib, Chris Mitchell, Paul Howes, Julia Gillard and Barrie Cassidy, a friend of Gillard and a ?gigantic ego?.

In contrast to the behaviour of these disgraceful people, Rudd behaved impeccably, we are told. He believed in ?restoring civility to our national discourse?, unlike Abbott, whom he describes, with the utmost courtesy, as ?borderline violent ? this giant wrecking ball ? a professional hater?.

At no point does Rudd reflect that he may have been the author of his own downfall or that his nation-building plans might be fatally flawed.

The four deaths in the home insulation program were ?four deaths too many?, but they were caused by the negligence of bosses, slack local authorities and incompetent junior ministers, rather than the consequences of the can-do-at-any-price attitude he hammered into his officials.

?I?m a little tired of routinely being held personally responsible in much of the media reporting for a program that was explicitly the cabinet responsibility of two ministers of state,? he complains.

Rudd?s exaggerated appreciation of his own policy genius is a constant theme. The NBN, home insulation program and school building program were beautifully conceived; the fault lay in their implementation by his own dumb ministers. End of quote.

The Labor government of 2007?13 was a two-headed beast, swapping between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. In common with Ardern, Gillard could also reliably hide behind the smokescreen of ?muhsogerny? when things were going badly.

If only Kevin could have had a baby.

Credit: SonovaMin