The Australian Labor Party has won the 2007 federal elections there by a landslide margin, making leader Kevin Rudd the new Prime Minister; current PM (and key Bush ally) John Howard even lost his own seat in parliament. I’d like to say this is payback for Howard bashing Obama earlier this year, but it seems his opposition to Kyoto and unions were more critical. If only we had a political system where those were the issues that decided the Presidency.
Howard was PM for 11 years, during which time my former neighbor Bill Bryson wrote In a Sunburned Country. Here’s what Bryson had to say about Howard (pg. 60-61):
In 1996 the prime minister, John Howard, caused a stir after his election by declining to live in Canberra. He would, he announced, continue to reside in Sydney and commute to Canberra as duties required. As you can imagine, this caused an uproar among Canberra’s citizens, presumably because they hadn’t thought of that themselves. What made this particularly interesting is that John Howard is by far the dullest man in Australia. Imagine a very committed funeral home director – someone whose burning ambition from the age of eleven was to be a funeral home director, whose proudest achievement in adulthood was to be elected president of the Queanbeyan and District Funeral Home Directors Association – then halve his personality and halve it again, and you have pretty well got John Howard. When a man as outstandingly colorless as John Howard turns his nose up at a place, you know it must be worth a look.
We’ll miss you, Howie.