It would be one thing if Wormgate and commentary thereon were confined to the understimulated bloggers among us. But it's not, not by a long shot. I understand why the journalists are playing along - the subeditors get a simple binary choice between "Can of Worms" and "The Worm Turns" - but people with actual responsibilities are joining in the fun. Worm favourite Kevin Rudd prudently refused to enter the fray, contenting himself with a jokey "I have not interviewed the worm. I'll leave debate about the worm to others."
But the Health Minister, Tony Abbott, has no such qualms. Loyal to a fault, and incensed at the way the Worm treated his beloved boss, Abbott has being doing his bit to advance the anti-worm agenda. He's not saying the Worm is union, exactly, but there's definitely something suspicious going on:
To me, it is pretty clear that that was an audience that had already made up its mind who it was in favour of, and I wonder how that audience was selected. I don't think the worm was a fair reflection.
Get back to work!
Meanwhile, Howard biographer Peter van Onselen is calling the debate for Howard, although just barely. Fine; but what are we to make of this rationale?
Kevin Rudd ... underperformed. He wants Australians to throw out a largely successful government, whatever disagreements people might have with aspects of their policies.
I beg your pardon. Those "disagreements" are not trivial quibbles. They are exactly why so many of us - not just Rudd - want to throw out Howard's government. Are we to admire the mere fact of Howard's 11 years in government despite believing that much of what he did during that time was immoral and damaging?
That's really what the Libs and their most ardent supporters would have us do. Which, incidentally, is one reason they're still performing so poorly in the polls - people are suddenly sick of "vote for us, you always have before!" Perhaps van Onselen's time would be better employed devising a new strategy for Howard, rather than lamenting the "perception" that Rudd won the debate.