Down under rises up

November 24, 2007 by barbara

barbara writes

Feast your eyes on this excellent headline from today’s NY Times: Australian Victory Ends a Conservative Era. You already know where I'm going with this, don't you?!

Our mates from down under have given the deplorable John Howard the boot. He has lost his PM position and may well lose his seat (so to speak) in Parliament, too. Howard’s “center-right Liberal-National Party coalition,” which is actually conservative (go figure), got flushed down the loo in yesterday’s election. “Center-left Labor Party” leader Kevin Rudd is the incoming PM and man of the hour.

Rudd has promised to remove Australia’s combat troops from Iraq. And he is keen on getting Australia signed on to the Kyoto Treaty. I think Rudd and Junior will not be pals. Huzzah! More deeply insightful musing.

Take a look at today’s NY Times piece about Australia’s model for sanity, which I have edited so that it's ready for American papers on November 8, 2008:

The Progressive Coalition, led by its endorsed president/vice president team, swept to power in American elections Tuesday, ending an interminable conservative era and promising major changes to policies on global warming and America’s role in the Iraq war.

''Today America has looked to the future,'' our newly elected president said in a nationally televised victory speech, to wild cheers from supporters. ''Today the American people have decided that we as a nation will move forward ... to embrace the future, together to write a new page in our nation's history.''

The win marked the humiliating end to the career of outgoing president George W. Bush . . . who had appeared almost unassailable as little as a year ago . . . .

The Progressive candidates . . . urged voters to support them because Bush was out of touch with modern America and ill-equipped to deal with new-age issues such as climate change.

I don’t know much about Australian politics, but anywhere that deeply entrenched conservatives lose political power works for me.

This is Very Big News and I have a dream.

What if . . . what if . . . Democrats carved out a coalition with Independents/independents? A real one. Not just the thing about slithering in and out of the center for personal advantage.

Work with me on this. What if restoring democracy in America were actually more important than, say, Rahm Emanuel’s ginormous ego? Than John Edwards’ hair, Hillary’s boobs or Barack’s skin? Than Nancy Pelosi’s back-room wheeler-dealing?

I don’t know enough about Michael Bloomberg to intelligently assess the potential impact if he decides to run. Who loses votes – Republicans or Democrats? An equal number for each? Is Bloomberg the Nader Factor times 10? Is it his, rather than Al Gore’s, giant shadow that hovers over the complete mess that is this political cycle?

I read somewhere yesterday that Dennis Kucinich’s wife, Elizabeth, proclaimed her spouse willing to consider running with Ron Paul. Okay. That’s a little over the top, even for me as I ponder the notion of coalitions, of cooperative candidacies for the greater good.

We were in Scotland and Ireland during their election seasons (which spanned roughly three months in total, but that’s a whole other issue). “Coalition” was the operative concept. Overtures aplenty were extended between and among assorted political interest groups. Some of them came together. Others were rejected. But I was struck by what seems to make a great deal of sense. Get it on the table (Nancy Pelosi’s aversion to table-tops notwithstanding). Be open and clear about the advantages (and potential problems – yes, I am a realist to some degree) of co-mingling ideologies.

The bottom line for us in this country is the essential task of ridding ourselves of the stink of BushCo. And given that the malodorous stench seems to permeate all of the Republican candidates to one degree or another, is not the common good best served by voting the rascals out? I think it is. This transcends Febreeze.

It's clear that the Democrats are basically incapable of the carpe diem thing. We’ve demonstrated that time and again. And even when we succeed to some extent, we rip the page off the calendar like an old 1930s movie and let the seized day get away from us.

A blogger at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) proclaims this about Kevin Rudd’s stunning victory yesterday:

So there you have it, a convincing win for Labor when just one year ago they were lambasted from sea to shining sea.

A remarkable turnaround, and a remarkable display of discipline from a party which had been dismissed as a shambles.

Sound familiar, Democrats? The "shambles" part? May I suggest that you/we take a long, hard look at what just happened in Australia? There is learning for us there. Just sayin'.

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