Joe Hockey, Australia’s Ambassador to the United States last Thursday gave a speech to the conservative Sydney Institute. In the cut and thrust of Australian politics it got lost in the noise of chaos.
It seems that after a short stint in the land of milk and honey, where truth has become a word lost to a once great language, he has become a believer in all things Trump.
The same shades of hue that cloud Trump speak, have like rust, invaded his mode of discourse.
He says that the Trump administration is a ”practical” administration and warns against ”constant criticism”. They are, he said, a “practical” and “credible” force that is finding its feet 70 days into its four-year term, and called for a halt to “constant” criticism of the White House.
Where on earth he gets this from is beyond me. The coverage I read consistently says that the White House is in utter chaos.
He went on to say that the Republican’s rise reflected a citizenry that felt “impotent” and heralded “the arrival of disruption into the mainstream of American politics”.
I would suggest that rather than being disruptive the good citizenry of the United States are simply raising their collective voices against a President who has proved himself the fool most thought he was. It has only taken him 74 days to do so. Surely by now Joe would have made himself aware of the inviolable 1st amendment.
When he said that the Trump administration was unorthodox but ”practicable” and the critics should give Trump a fair go, he could have been talking about the Abbott/Turnbull when he was part of the confusion and disorder it created. It is not something foreign to him. Nor is the asking for a fair go.
He predicted, contrary to everything I have read that the failure to repeal Obamacare would not harm Trump.
I’m beginning to believe that the speech was written by a Trump staffer rather than an Australian.
“We need to avoid the temptation to become constant because it is not a carbon copy of the previous administrations.”
If an Australian had written it I feel sure the sentence would have been. We need to become constant critics of the new US administration …
Then he made the most incredibly inane statement when he praised Mr Trump’s “very credible cabinet”, which he said fulfilled an election commitment to “drain the swamp”.
Drained the swamp he might have but created a lake of multi-billionaires with no experience and a hatred for the policy portfolios they were to undertake. I bet Joe loves rubbing shoulders with this lot. What odds he comes back with a Greg Norman accent.
Of the President’s failure to repeal Barack Obama’s healthcare regime – his core election promise – would have “little negative impact” among Republican voters.
“It will be seen as a failure of the system and will reflect poorly on the already poorly regarded Congress.”
However, he warned “repeated failure does have a cost”, and “the goodwill and tolerance of your voter base can be the patient for only so long”.
On this he is probably correct but it was none the less a monumental failure that would have seen 25 million of America’s poorest left without health care.
He was more correct when he said that Mr Trump and his “America first” message was rooted in the global financial crisis and the long-term erosion of confidence in American institutions, Mr Hockey told the dinner. In Australia he would never acknowledge that one ever existed.
Quoting research from the Pew Research Centre which showed that trust in the federal government had fallen from 73 per cent in 1958 to just 19 per cent in 2015. And that faith in other institutions had also collapsed.
He said that middle-income families had seen their assets halved in value since the GFC, this explained “why the strongman change-maker, Donald Trump, was so attractive to many Americans”
He made the point that educational attainment characterised “the new electoral divide” in the US. States with higher numbers of professional degree-holders were more likely to vote Democrat, and vice-versa.
“Regular citizens have become increasingly distant from their own governments, both geographically and often ideologically. They don’t trust institutions that they can’t directly influence.”
Again this is true and equally applies to us, but in Australia as Treasurer, he was instrumental in creating this divide between the haves and have-nots. He had no interest in equality or indeed, opportunity. Remember his 2014 budget.
“For the life of me I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party who thinks the existing education system is adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged”
It is one thing to identify the reasons for the alienation felt by voter’s worldwide but quite anther to give praise to a populist scumbag for taking advantage of it. I suppose as Ambassador one has to be circumspect about what one says within the US but when in Australia you can speak out with a dose of authenticity and not be altogether gutless. But then it was The Sydney Institute.
My thought for the day.
“It is far better to form your own your own independent opinions relative to your life experience and reason than to allow yourself to be blindly led by others”.