“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” ( President Biden, 21/01/2021).
He might have been showing his age using that language, and I may be showing mine by repeating it. However, what is inferred by the message is that the new President will no longer tolerate the sort of behaviour demonstrated by the former President, Donald Trump. It is time for all the abuse to end.
What happens in America usually repeats itself in Australia. We seem to inherit everything about them, their music, sport, dress, speech and many other cultural influences. Ain’t that right, guys?
Under Trump, the language of politics changed. US politics was harsh enough and brutal enough as it was, but Donald Trump added a new dimension.
In Australia, we had picked up on the vernacular at the beginning of the Tea Party revolution when one could call on the use of foul language, bad manners and a lack of truth as legitimate political tools. Lying in earnest began in the US when Mick Romney opposed Barack Obama in his second term.
Australia experienced it out of the mouths of opposition leader Tony Abbott and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. And what vile fluid it was.
Then from the first time Trump met Morrison, they developed some sort of relationship of thought that lasted until Trump’s bitter end. They may have had more in common than we first thought.
They both admired populist strongmen and had a fawning allegiance to reactionary populist strongmen the world over.
Both were prone to making mistakes by not taking advice and being surrounded by people of mediocre intelligence. Look at Trump’s sackings and Morrison’s hopelessly incompetent cabinet.
Both were devoid of international diplomacy. Look at Morrison’s handling of the Jerusalem embassy and his inability to fulfil any trade diplomacy with China. And, especially in his handling of the China relationship, there’s been a streak of impulsiveness that at times outweighed any consideration for the delicate balancing act that is international diplomacy.
Trump would have nothing to do with getting things done for the common good, fearing that socialism might be used to describe it. Morrison and his cabinet have committed policy failures that would see riots on some countries’ streets, but laidback Aussies don’t do such things. Morrison is a little less subtle, but the comparisons are remarkable.
In the recipe of good leadership, there are many ingredients. Popularity is but one. However, it ranks far below getting things done for the common good.
In a review of Nick Bryant’s latest book; “When America stopped being great,” Andrew West, says that.
“Joe Biden had a solid win in the electoral college, but the Democrats are weaker and more divided on ideology than at any time in the past forty years. Trump’s influence will taunt Biden’s administration, which will need to balance its two factions: the social-democratic left versus what you might call the social media left. The former will hope that Biden summons up his instincts of half a century and prioritises unions and workers’ rights; investment in infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and his beloved Amtrak; higher taxes on the super-rich; the protection of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; and the incremental expansion of health care. The latter, channelling its energy through Vice President Kamala Harris, will demand attention to group rights based on ethnicity, sex, sexuality, and gender. Biden and Harris have about eighteen months to make it work before a bruised, but defiant Trumpism stirs again.”
Biden needs to convince his nation that his way of doing politics will have better outcomes for a country yet to overcome the callous, selfish politics of a leader bereft of decency. He needs to make his methods work and show the world that the crass politics of conservative Trumpism is of a world that has now passed.
If they can, Australia’s people will see through the copy-cat style of Morrison’s politics that have washed over us. He should stop pretending to be Trump and start telling us the truth.
Now that he doesn’t need to align himself to Trump, Morrison should quietly back away from his impersonation.
Some time back he praised Trump’s political priorities, saying that they “shared a lot of the same views.” As recently as December, Morrison accepted the Legion of Merit (a US military decoration) from the 45th president. What on earth did he think he was doing?
He should never have accepted the honour. And with a President as mentally fragile as Trump, he should have kept the fact that they shared many thoughts and ideas to himself.
His judgement in attending what was fundamentally an election rally with Trump in 2019 was another error. His presence gave the impression that he was tacitly endorsing Trump, whereas he should have stayed out of it as another nation’s leader.
It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t.
The end of the Trump era has opened the door to endless possibilities. Time to ponder the damage he created, but more importantly to consider just what Biden’s ascent to power will do to the rest of the world.
He has come to power with an impeccable service record to the American nation. His inauguration has given his country – and perhaps the rest of the world – a chance of doing politics in a new way.
The last vestiges of Trumpism await a second impeachment that will hopefully never see in a public office again. What are the implications for Australia where our conservative politicians have so astutely followed the principles of Trumpism?
Joe Biden intends to reverse America’s image that Trump built in his four-year term. He is already back on board with the Paris Agreement on climate change, together with a wholesale shift in energy policies.
A raft of other policies are being reversed, dropped, or shelved under Biden’s administration. It is now time for us to put a heavy emphasis on how Biden’s new policies will reflect on our own.
We still have the pandemic and a recession that began before it. The heavy dominance of global and domestic terrorism seems to have given way to right-wing terror and insurrection in the US.
But politics in Australia will have to change. Not only in the way it is delivered and the manners that are used, but also in the policies.
Our issues will move closer to those of the US and domestically – rather than a fight between two protagonists – both Labor and the LNP will be forced into being more broadly acceptable. Morrison will have to shed telling all the lies he does and drop his phoney imitation of Trump, and although Australia has never placed much weight on personality, Albo will have to grow some and do it quickly.
The Prime Minister has a dominant, know-all personality with a liking for demonstrating it. On the other hand, Albanese is relatively unknown and super clean when it comes to controversy.
Morrison is a weak leader who gets away with a lot. His unwillingness to punish and replace those of his cabinet who have failed leaves the electorate thinking they have something on him.
We don’t seem to have the same methodology for dealing with incompetence that other countries do.
From now on we will not be able to rely on the old comparison answer that “oh well, we are not as bad as them” be it vaccinations or economics.
According to The Washington Post, Trump told more than 30,573 lies (or misleading claims) during his presidency.
The political and cultural damage from all those lies now lay at Biden’s feet. Our Prime Minister followed his very same political game plan. Conservatives in Australia need to look at the damage his philosophy has done to his country and ask themselves if they should continue with their Trump-style politics, or start acting like real Aussies. Do we really want to end up with a similar mess that Biden has to clean up?
My thought for the day
There are three kinds of people. Those who know. Those who know when they are shown, and those who have no interest in knowing.
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