Mandate, mandateHere we go again, Howard believes that voters want the troops to stay in Iraq. According to the SMH:
Australians might be divided over the Iraq war, but the election result proved most backed plans to keep troops there, Prime Minister John Howard said today.
The article also raised the point that the war in Iraq was not really addressed as an election issue. This has probably been spoken about on other blogs around the traps but I'm going to give my usual ill-informed gut reactions.
I didn't really think about it at the time but Labor didn't really address the war during their campaign. To do so would have meant attacking Howard's appalling record with the truth and this would have meant a somewhat negative campaign. They chose instead to reserve their negativity for the question of whether Howard would remain for a whole term. I'm sorry, but I don't believe that anyone gives a shit whether Howard was going to hang around or not. To use this tactic was basically admitting that people wanted to vote for Howard, that he was a strong leader who people would be voting for, not so much the Coalition as a whole. Labor was admitting the strength of the opposition and trying to use the fact that he may up and leave as ammunition. Hmm, sounds a little flawed.
Would they have been better off if they really went for Howard's jugular, pointing out his lies, his suck-hole behaviour with Dubya? Did they just accept that Howard was a strong leader and they would be better off running a positive campaign? The theory says that negative campaigns don't work - this time it did. The Coalition ran a heavily negative campaign, stressing Latham's inexperience, his alleged stuff-up at Liverpool. Labor's negative tactic was the fact that Little Johhny might not hang around. Hmm, I think reminding people of the lies, the half-arsed research and the teflon-Don impersonations, may have worked more effectively.