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Why the voters of Wagga Wagga have good news for Bush and Blair
The Times ^ | October 11, 2004 | Tim Hames

Posted on 10/10/2004 2:46:09 PM PDT by MadIvan

NEITHER George W. Bush nor Tony Blair comes across as a particularly philosophical figure. Mr Bush clearly does have an established body of political principles, but obviously finds it difficult to articulate abstract themes. Mr Blair, it might be said, is in the opposite position. There is, nevertheless, a challenging conceptual question for both men this morning. Who best understands the implications of the Australian general election: John Howard, elected for a fourth term on Saturday, or Jacques Derrida, the French intellectual whose death was sombrely announced as the votes Down Under were being counted?

There is not much doubt what M. Derrida would have thought about this issue. He is hailed as the father of post-modernism, post-structuralism and deconstruction. He argued that there could be no such thing as objective truth because all supposed truths are expressed in language and language itself always has multiple meanings and in any case is constantly changing. There are, he claimed, no fixed values in the world, just social constructs bounded by time and vocabulary (I think that is what he contended, anyway). The idea that an Australian election could have deeper significance in its own context, never mind elsewhere, is, therefore, ludicrous.

Now I have always had my doubts about this post-modernist, post-structuralist, post-everything stuff. For a start, it seem to me that being dead is an objective truth and not an ambiguous condition produced by time and language. And surely if there can be no certainties because of the slippery character of words, then post-modernism itself can hold no special inherent virtue. If you take all this “there is no truth but no truth ” to its (il)logical extreme then, to be blunt, you move round and round in circles until you disappear up your own derrière. I suppose that’s French philosophy.

It is safe to assume that Mr Howard would have none of this. He is a firm believer in the notion of an “Anglosphere” linking his country, the United States and Britain. He might not necessarily use the term “Anglosphere” when addressing sheep farmers in the Outback (who would rightly regard such a phrase as only mildly more enticing than post-structuralism), but it is central to the Australian Prime Minister’s outlook on the world. Put simply, he thinks that ties of culture, history and political institutions are more important than those of mere geography. The electors of Wagga Wagga have their differences with those of Wisconsin or Worcestershire, but it is their similarities that will prove to matter.

Mr Howard could, therefore, identify three aspects of his triumph that, like his nation’s fine lager, are definitely available for the export market.

The first is that within the Anglosphere incumbency is an asset, not a liability. There have been many parts of the world this year — from Spain and Greece to India and Indonesia — where governments with perfectly decent records have been defeated. Mr Howard’s win not only bucks this trend but reaffirms a pattern. In Australia, Britain and the US, it has been better in recent years to hold office than to challenge for it. Over the past 20 years, only one sitting Australian Prime Minister (Paul Keating in 1996), one serving British Prime Minister (John Major in 1997) and one US President (George Bush Sr in 1992) have been thrown out by the voters. The same is true of Canada. In the Anglosphere today, “the devil you know” is usually preferred to an aspiring Angel of Deliverance.

The second is that political life in the Anglosphere remains dominated by economics. Indeed, the economic cycles of Australia, Britain and the US appear to be more closely aligned with each other than with those of Asia, Europe or Latin America respectively. Mr Howard stormed home because he and his party were strongly associated with prosperity and his opponents were perceived as a threat to that benign stability. He now has to work out when to stand down in favour of a Finance Minister who is viewed as the architect of this success (sound familiar?). Canada experienced the same transition — although somewhat ineptly executed — at about this time last year.

There is an analogy with the US as well. The irony of this presidential election is not John Kerry’s failure to exploit a weak economy but Mr Bush’s inability to make more of these good times. The unemployment rate in America today is lower than it was when Ronald Reagan secured his second term in 1984 and when Bill Clinton did the same 12 years later. It is not the challenger but the President who needs to put the economy centre stage over the next three weeks. If he does, then he will remain in the White House and, like Mr Howard, perhaps by a surprisingly comfortable margin.

Finally, the “Iraq factor” is more potent in opinion polls than in the ballot box. Mr Howard’s involvement in the demise of Saddam Hussein was no more popular in Australia than Mr Blair’s role has been in Britain. Iraq would appear to be a negative factor for Mr Bush in his election bid as well. I suspect, though, that the mood in all three countries has much in common. Voters are far from convinced that troops had to go in, but now that they are there they must finish the task, and that quest would be complicated by a change in leadership. The defiant response here to the savage murder of Kenneth Bigley is not what the terrorists anticipated.

If the Anglosphere does trump French philosophy, then Mr Howard, Mr Bush and Mr Blair will all be returned to office. If so, then when the trio are next reunited at some international event a burst of collective song would be appropriate. A rousing rendition of Tie Me Post-Modernist Down, Sport might suit the occasion.

TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: australia; blair; bush; derrida; howard; uk; us
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To: Fred Nerks

I am loving reading Margo Kingston's Web Diary-it's an oasis of comfort in the anxiety of our upcoming elections. I am hoping that Australia will be our bellweather,and then by some miracle,Britain's.

Leftists seem to be the same everywhere-on Web Diary,they're crying about "the end of democracy", and "the fascist state" and other such drivel.

I am even more heartened by the showing of the "Family First" party,and I hope they continue to grow,and stay true to their principles,and don't acquire whatever Australia calls their version of the "Beltway bug" now that they're coming up in the big leagues. So many times the taste of power makes these grassroots groups lose sight of "who brung 'em" to the dance,because they want to hold what they've got,instead of implement the agenda.

I'm so happy for Australia,and hope the American voters don't let our side down. It would too ironic for words if our allies who joined at our urging,because they saw the threat as well as we did,were left holding tha bag,while we deserted the post.

21 posted on 10/10/2004 4:35:33 PM PDT by mrsmel
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To: Fred Nerks

Oops, let me clarify quickly,LOL, Web Diary is an oasis of comfort to me because it's so relieving to laugh at the melodramatic stupidity being posted there! Lest anyone misunderstand my position,hehe,I'm spazzin' between rolling my eyes and ROFL at the stuff posted there:)

22 posted on 10/10/2004 4:39:34 PM PDT by mrsmel
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To: Guillermo
The following statement is an oxymoron of the highest degree: "There are no absolutes."

There absolutely, positively are no absolutes. LOL

The hilarious part is that they literally cannot see their own self-contradiction.

23 posted on 10/10/2004 4:58:50 PM PDT by Restorer (Europe is heavily armed, but only with envy.)
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To: mrsmel

"it would be too ironic for words if our allies who joined us at our urging, because they saw the threat as well as we did, were left holding the bag..."

Now there's something that never crossed my mind. But then, I never once thought that GWB would not win re-election. Yes, there were times when it looked close, but Kerry is such an idiot and so objectionable as a human being, it would take more than the lying MSM and Soro's fortune to make a silk purse out of that PIG's ear!
I've got bad news for the Left. 'Average' Aussies and Americans are NOT idiots!
The Family First party is a surprise however. I don't recall a faith based political party in the past. Guess it's a direct result of how uncomfortable some aussies feel about our mooselimb population. We have had a 'fair share' of terrorist activity (bomb plots etc.) Fake charities, training camps in the bush etc...heaps of gang rapes by mooselimb youth, who think our girls are 'asking for it' - so Family First sounds like a good name for a Christian backlash. About time.

24 posted on 10/10/2004 5:07:12 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand Evil: Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD free pdf. Click Fred Nerks for link.)
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To: MadIvan

There once were one or two great and worthy French philosophers. Alexis de Tocqueville stands out, not only for his great personal stature, but also for his high regard for The United States of America.

One of his better known quotes is: America is great because she is good. If she ever ceases to be good, she will also cease to be great." I believe he was correct, and I say, Please God, protect us from the likes of Kerry, Edwards, Soros, Carville, et al!!

25 posted on 10/10/2004 5:07:51 PM PDT by Tucker39 (God bless the U.S.A.)
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To: Restorer

Absolutely LOL!

26 posted on 10/10/2004 5:09:37 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand Evil: Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD free pdf. Click Fred Nerks for link.)
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To: Grampa Dave

And there is bound to come a day when the Derrida-ites will unmoor themselves from their University posts---the first generation in fact is very close to retirement age. The fad can't last forever, maybe the simple (yes, OBJECTIVE) truth will get its own back. I have some of these people in my extended family , and reading their (published) forays into LitCrit is like being exposed to the findings of forensic medicine, except in this case it's the deconstructionist critics who have killed the literary work and made it a corpse.

27 posted on 10/10/2004 5:15:54 PM PDT by willyboyishere (T)
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To: Fred Nerks
The Family First party is a surprise however. I don't recall a faith based political party in the past.

IIRC, there was formerly a Catholic-affiliated political party in Australia,sorry,forgot the name,but it was socialist/left-leaning.
28 posted on 10/10/2004 5:19:35 PM PDT by mrsmel
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To: MadIvan
Agree about Revel and Howard, but I am worried about Blair. He is under serious attack from the commie left in his Labour Party and these people would cut their nads off to make a political point, if they had any of either.
29 posted on 10/10/2004 5:23:44 PM PDT by Little Bill (John F'n Kerry is a self promoting scumbag!)
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To: Fred Nerks

The only thing that worries me,is that it seems that the left here is much more rabid, and undoubetdly more underhanded and unaverse to dirty tricks,than the Aussie left. I can't imagine voter fraud there on the scale that I could imagine here from the left. And Australian compulsory voting,I think,makes a difference-here,the "turn out the vote" effort has unfortunately seemed to favor the 'rats historically. We Republicans and conservatives have really got to stop being so complacent or fatalistic.

30 posted on 10/10/2004 5:23:54 PM PDT by mrsmel
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To: MadIvan

I would like to have been a fly on the wall when Kerry asked his sister exactly what in the hell she had done down under. I believe she had the opposite effect they had in mind. Alienating an ally is just plain stupidity!

31 posted on 10/10/2004 5:24:38 PM PDT by Allosaurs_r_us (Carnivores for Conservatives!)
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To: Tucker39

I am currently beginning to re-read "Democracy In America",I first read it years ago. It's funny how a Frenchman of centuries past understood the foundation of America's strength and greatness,before we had even reached the full potential of either,better than some of our citizens do in the present day.

32 posted on 10/10/2004 5:29:24 PM PDT by mrsmel
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To: mrsmel
The Democratic Labor Party. I seem to recall it was established by one Mr Santamaria. Catholics that had a 'falling out' with the Left. All they achieved, IMO was to keep the Labor Party out of office. Sometime back in the early sixties?
You know, it's funny, but when I wrote that, I just knew someone would pick me up on it! No doubt about FReepers - there I was, sweeping the Democratic Labor Party under the rug because I never considered them to be anything other than an aberration, and whoops! I got picked up on it! Thanks.
33 posted on 10/10/2004 5:33:19 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand Evil: Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD free pdf. Click Fred Nerks for link.)
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To: MadIvan
It's an interesting thesis. The US economy is strong. But one major difference is Australia isn't under direct attack like we are.

I think Bush needs to balance both. Economy and WOT. He did a reasonable job of tying the two together in the last debate, explaining how the economy was hurt by the terror strikes, maybe a little more this time.

Could be why Kerry looked gut punched when Bush tagged him as a LIBERAL. I would punch the LIBERAL label for all it's worth if it were me in the ring with Kerry.
34 posted on 10/10/2004 5:35:51 PM PDT by Tarpon
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To: Fred Nerks

Sorry, wasn't meaning to put you on the spot:) But it's a good point to come back with the next time you hear someone croaking about "religious loonies taking over" politics or any such malarkey. Just ask 'em if they had any objection when the religious political voice was from the left. See,the hypocrites don't really object to a religious party,only a conservative religious party. As if Christians don't the right to the same political activity as any other interest group. You may notice that you don't hear too much objection to the Muslim interest groups(religious),or the black religious special interests(jesse Jackson,so-called "preacher",et al.) Wonder if they objected to the Reverend Martin Luther King being politically active?

35 posted on 10/10/2004 5:40:01 PM PDT by mrsmel
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To: mrsmel

Ditto here. They are trying hard! All during the campaign I was watching Latham carefully. He was using Kerry terminology; called Howard a FLIP FLOPPER! That's NOT a word Aussies use. They don't understand what it means. Now here's a laugh; when Howard and Latham met at the door of a radio studio (one coming out, the other going in for an interview,) Latham grabbed Howard's hand and would not let him go, he almost overpowered him and made Howard look as if he was off-balance. I recognised the Kerry tactic immediately from the debate incident. That handshake thing has become a cartoon item: "Is that a WMD in your pocket or are you glad to see me?" for a caption, because Latham pulled Howard almost into his chest!
Latham was using Kerry speak all through the campaign. Didn't work! And Kerry speak won't work in the US either. The MSM know what's in store for them. Watch them turn like the worms they are. EVERYONE LIKES A WINNER!

36 posted on 10/10/2004 5:44:15 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand Evil: Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD free pdf. Click Fred Nerks for link.)
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To: mrsmel

Hey, they can scream all they like. The Family First Party has already been labelled as 'religious bigots' and the more the left does that, the more folks will decide to find their faith.
It has not escaped notice here that in the State of Victoria, two lay-preachers have been charged with hate-speech by an organisation set up by its left-wing state government. What were the charges based upon?
Reading from the koran at a Christian seminar!

37 posted on 10/10/2004 5:57:29 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (Understand Evil: Read THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD free pdf. Click Fred Nerks for link.)
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To: MadIvan

Paul Johnson in "Modern Times" saw French philosophy, as promoted by Sarte, a Niezche's nihilism repackaged in a more attractive form. He accurately traced both amoralistic philosophies' consequences to amoralistic dictatorships, in Germany, USSR, Japan, and in Africa and Indonesia

38 posted on 10/10/2004 6:08:39 PM PDT by Forgiven_Sinner (Erasmus fan)
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Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: Fred Nerks

I read a small snippet about that somewhere. What's the status of the it,do people think they'll really be convicted? that's sick,when they start trying to censor religious belief. If I understand correctly,Canada already has the laws in place that can lead to it being considered a hate-crime if a pastor preaches that homosexuality is a sin,per the Bible. I could see that leading to considering the Bible itself "hate speech".

What's funny is that,the Koran DOES teach to murder or enslave the "infidel" if they won't convert. But Islam and the Koran are protected! True Christianity from the Bible teaches no such thing!

40 posted on 10/10/2004 7:16:53 PM PDT by mrsmel
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