The Karl Rove Method

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Declare your enemy a kook, a klutz or a slimeball, proclaim you’ve already won and ostentatiously prepare for office — this is the tried and tested method Abbott and his acolytes are following, says Bob Ellis.

Karl Rove receiving the bad news in 2012. (Image courtesy Telegraph (UK).)

THE Karl Rove Method is well known.

You declare your enemy is a kook, a klutz or a slimeball, proclaim you have already won and ostentatiously prepare for office. This was done in 2000, when it was said Al Gore was ‘wooden’, a bit mad for saying he had ‘invented the internet’ and somehow complicit in the Bill-Monica blow-jobs. He was, moreover, a sore loser in Florida, though the count was uncompleted and George W Bush, ignoring his midget bickerings, was getting on with the lofty task of appointing his Cabinet.

And so it is that the Abbott Liberals and their important ally Cult Murdoch (which employs Karl Rove) are duplicating this method currently, and have been for a year or so: alleging the Gillard government is ‘tainted’ by the slimeballs Thomson and Slipper, chaotic in its pursuit of a surplus, bankrupting Australia by building too many school halls and crazy for having removed Rudd and not put him back. Tony Abbott, meanwhile, the true winner last time, is calmly preparing for government which, with a motion of No Confidence, he will achieve in mid-May.

Cult Murdoch’s Roveite Apostles Peter and Paul, Van Onselen and Murray, have proclaimed these Gospels for a year now. Gillard is criminal, crazy, chaotic and cannot last. She is in office ‘illegitimately’ (like the Kenyan Muslim terrorist Obama) and must call an early election and remove herself.

It worked for a while, or did it in a way. Though the competence of Combet, Plibersek, Roxon, Carr, Clare and Shorten cast doubt on what was being said, the underlying mutiny of Rudd and the daily travails of the Hung Parliament delegitimised Gillard’s imperium. It seemed she was not in control, and crazy to keep going.

Then the Rudd numbers were shown to not be there, and things changed. Policy after policy was shown to be better than Abbott’s. Redmond, Mills and Baillieu fell and Newman was shown to be a punishing maniac and Greiner, once again, a crook. Gonski was favoured by the public and Abbott said it was unaffordable. And crucially, last week, Pyne, following the Rove Rule Book said the Prime Minister was ‘unhinged’ for wanting the levy, Hockey said we couldn’t afford it, and Abbott called it a temporary inconvenience he would abolish very soon. This offended three million disabled people, their families, carers and attendant paralympians and showed it was the Liberals, not Gillard Labor, who were klutzes, kooks and slimeballs and it was Gillard, not Abbott, who was getting on with the job of government and Abbott, not Gillard, who was flapping about and changing his mind like a madman.

Van Onselen, Murray and the two Kellys still call an Abbott government inevitable and speak warmly of what it ought to do in its first term, but the shine has gone off their certainty. There will not be a No Confidence motion now and it is Abbott, a defender of pederasts on a criminal charge in Brisbane, and Pyne, a framer of Slipper denounced by a judge, who seem the slimeballs now.

The Method continues, but it has run out of puff a bit, and a million Uncommitted are moving Gillard’s way. Whatever Cult Murdoch’s Newspoll shows tomorrow, 54-46 I expect, within the margin of error, no change, no real change, the critical ingredient of the Rove Rule Book — klutz, kook, slimeball, Abbott inevitable, red carpets for Abbott — is faltering, and turning to rend its creators.

And, like Rove himself on election night, predicting Romney still, they are looking more and more foolish, and shrill, and small, and pathetic.

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