Beat around the Bush

The scandal surrounding the “leaked” phone conversation where George W. Bush was heard to gaff “what’s the G20” refuses to go away. It was the opposition’s favourite pinata in parliament yesterday – they kept beating it hoping all sorts of apologies and recriminations would flow out of the wound.

It’s pretty much a lay down misère that The Australian Editor Chris Mitchell was responsible for the leak. It was an Australian exclusive, he was at Kirribilli for dinner the night the conversation occured, Rudd is the Godfather of Mitchell’s child – it’s an old relationship that ensures certain privileges…

The Opposition however, seem oblivious to the fact that Mitchell is the obvious leak – or are too timid to point the finger given the respective audiences of Question Time and the Australian newspaper. Leave that to the paper’s opposition, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Annabel Crabb

Her take on the original story…

“Several weeks later (October 25), a description of the Australian Prime Minister’s heroic performance during the phone call appeared on the front page of The Australian.

Mr Rudd was depicted as dogged, incisive and masterful; all it lacked was a reference to the PM’s rippling musculature and steady blue eyes.

And buried deep in the story was a reference to Mr Rudd’s well-bred surprise when at one point the President was heard to ask: “What’s the G20?””

And then pointing out the hypocrisy of the Opposition leadership’s (Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop) position on damage done to US relations as a result of the leak…

“The pair’s protestations might carry a little more bite had the official position of the Liberal leadership until November 24 not been that Barack Obama was a terrorist stooge whose election would be an excellent result for Osama bin Laden.

And their protection of the editor seems craven at best.

It’s a rough day in Parliament when visitors in the public gallery can look down and fear that their choice is between one man who shows off to editors and another who sucks up to them.”

Have I mentioned how much I like Annabel Crabb? I believe I have.

Does a duck’s quack echo?

It does if the press corp is busy with the duck’s successor.

While Obama and McCain’s speeches almost wrote themselves on the basis of the election outcome – lame duck President George W. Bush had to weigh in with a speech of his own. Formality dictated it. The stupid American system where Bush is President until January means America is faced with two months of essentially confused leadership. Obama’s attention turns to picking a cabinet (and other furniture for the Whitehouse – hopefully child and puppy proof). While George W Bush – America’s least popular president ever barring criminal behaviour (I think he actually beats Nixon’s disapproval rating – but I can’t be bothered checking) – has to “hold the fort” and was called on to provide his commentary on election day, the campaign and the future.

The President’s speech (and his congratulatory phone call last night) included an invitation to dinner at the presidential mansion. I can imagine that after a campaign based solely on tying his opponent’s shortcomings solely to Bush and his policies – and after Bush compared Obama to Nazi appeasers during WWII – that’s not an invitation that will be accepted any time soon.

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