If not concerned for the performance of his party on Budget day, why call a ‘doorstop’ knowing full well that as the former Treasurer over more than a decade, journalists would flock like seagulls to a discarded chip wrapper?
What pearls could Costello spread before the media which could possibly be of any value, other than the former ‘Great Man’ had deigned to speak?
I heard Nelson on Radio National this morning. All ideological bias aside, the Brendan Nelson I heard was not the leader of a post-Howardian era Liberal Party. He spoke as if he were still a member of the Howardian cabinet, still in government. All the hubris of ‘what a great bunch we were’ and making the ludicrous claim that because inflation peaked at 8% during the Keating era, the four percent inflationary level the economy is sustaining presently is nothing whatever to be concerned about. This is despite the RBA stating unequivocally that four percent is unacceptable in the current economic climate globally. He spoke of two rate rises and 40 basis points on top of those under the Rudd government, as if those rises could be slated home in that direction alone. The man gibbered. I almost felt sorry for him. He was clearly out of his depth.
I haven’t heard Turnbull’s interview, but I’d be willing to bet what he had to say made a hell of a lot more sense, rhetoric aside. No, Costello called a doorstop because he’d heard Nelson, and probably Turnbull, as well. He’s concerned, make no mistake. Costello is coming back. He has two and a half years to decide his career path. Two and a half years to look around in the real world to see if a former Treasurer is valued. Asset position not withstanding, dropping from a senior cabinet minister’s stipend to a back-bencher’s pay must be painful as well. Costello needs to get back into the fray for a variety of reasons, not least of which would be personal prestige. His party needs him. Seriously needs him. He has the capacity to move beyond the Howardian years and take on Rudd and Swan head to head. He showed that in his doorstop. The angst apparently shown wasn’t anger or distress. He wasn’t biting back at journalists in a fit of petty pique. He was simply showing the ability he has to hold sway. The old thespian, Costello. The player. Peter Costello has what Brendan Nelson simply doesn’t have, and probably never will. Chutzpah and a certain charismatic mean streak a really good politician needs in order to survive.
Mark my words. Peter Costello isn’t finished by a long chalk.