Would it be terribly unfair to ask this simple question: who pays Peter Hartcher’s salary? The Sydney Morning Herald or the Liberal Party’s national secretariat?
Of recent times, his column of choice has been dedicated to the transformation of Prime Minister Scott Morrison from bushfire bungler to much loved Father of the Nation, as if COVID-19 has been the making of a man who now stands on the cusp of being arguably one of our nation’s finest leaders ever, be it in war or peace time.
Take yesterday’s column, The ascent of Trump’s mini-me.
The first leg is a quite reasonable summary of how our PM has played politics largely from the Trump playbook up until COVID-19, but from the top of the second column it’s all down hill.
Morrison is not Trump’s pathetic understudy any more.
The reborn Morrison continued to evolve this week.
…Morrison has signalled a willingness to rethink his position and change his mind.
And, please, draw your chuck bucket close for this one….
…Morrison continues his evolution from Trumpian tribal warrior to unifying national leader.
Some weeks back, Hartcher’s column, PM is not ducking this crisis, contained these gems.
Morrison has gone through the most extraordinary transformation.
…when the pandemic struck, a different prime minister emerged.
And pull that bucket in close once more for this hurler…
He led a decisive economic support program and went on to declare a new phase of national reform. The people have rewarded him.
… if his analysis of Australia’s strategic position is correct, is it possible that he will become a wartime leader too? He doesn’t resist the idea.
It seems a lifetime ago that Hartcher was committed to good journalism to present a fair and balance view of the coronavirus response; that Scott “I’m off to the footie!” Morrison was pretty slow on the uptake; the Jobkeeper program was argued for, and pushed by unions and the opposition well before he accepted the idea.
But not anymore. His recent columns have ditched that earlier sense of balance, as can be seen by the “he led a decisive economic support program”. Led by the nose, more like it.
The Glass House won’t hold its breath waiting for Hartcher to explain Morrison’s “new phase of nation reform” (reform means improvement by the way) for which the people have rewarded him.
If Morrison is now to jettison his long-held belief in trickle-down economics, tax cuts for business, constrained wages for workers and the removal of red and green tape and has given the slightest indication of that, Hartcher might enlighten us.
And as for Morrison as wartime leader? What a ripe, smelly bucket of tosh that is
The Glass House before has cautioned Hartcher and other so-called mainstream media political pundits over their simplistic reading of Morrison’s stratospheric popularity ratings in Newspoll.
When you are on the TV every day; when you’re throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at the Australian people, including countless young’uns who are getting paid a lot more at the moment than when they were actually making coffees and serving tables, then you’re going to be popular, even if you’re Scott Morrison.
Hartcher seems totally incapable of thinking about the possibility, and sharing it with with his readers, that the current Father of the Nation’s popularity has bugger all to do with some miracle transformation in his style and beliefs, and that he is heading for a big fall in a few months when voters realise he’s really no different to what he was back in February.