Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:30 | SYDNEY
Thursday 26 Nov 2020 | 01:30 | SYDNEY

Australia election: What the bloggers are saying


Sam Roggeveen


26 November 2007 09:38

Among prominent non-Australian blogs that focus heavily on international events, reaction to the Australian elections has been slight. Given so many of those blogs are American, we can charitably put this down to the US making a slow start to the week after Thanksgiving.

The most extensive blogospheric coverage I've found is here at Steve Clemons' highly influential Washington Note (cross-posted at Huffington Post, so a lot of Americans are reading this). Clemons makes the slightly odd claim that 'political currents elsewhere may also anticipate currents in the US. Gordon Brown in the UK and now Kevin Rudd in Australia may be good predictors that the next U.S. president will be a Democrat.' Two examples don't make a trend, and given that Brown wasn't even elected as PM in his own right, that just leaves Rudd.

Clemons says something I've often heard rumoured but never seen in print* - that Kim Beazley will be appointed Ambassador to Washington. This would indeed be a great appointment, and not just because Beazley throws nice parties.

At the Atlantic Monthly, Matthew Yglesias and Andrew Sullivan both point to climate change as a factor in the election, with the former taking comfort from the idea that you can get elected by campaigning hard on climate change because doing so makes your opponent look out of touch. At the National Review's blog, The Corner, columnist Mark Steyn says, 'Of all the doughty warriors of the Anglosphere, Howard, his Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and their colleagues had the best rhetoric on the present war, and I often wished the Bush Administration had emulated their plain speaking.' Yglesias chokes on the 'doughty warrior' stuff.

The Drudge Report's screaming Sunday headline, 'Humiliation in Oz', was quite a sight, but the page is already archived.

Middle East specialist Juan Cole predictably focuses on the Iraq angle. He's wrong about this though: 'Australia has about 500 more non-combat troops doing development work in Iraq, and it is not clear what will now be done with them.' Rudd has made it clear those troops will stay.

Glenn Greenwald also takes an Iraq-centric approach, and can barely contain his glee at Howard's exit. He cautions against drawing too many parallels to US politics, then says, 'Rudd's approach provides an excellent template for our own "opposition party" as to how cheap, war-exploiting and Terrorism-exploiting bullying should be treated.' This is a pretty shallow reading of Rudd, and I don't think Rudd is going to meet the American left's expectations.

On his blog, FT chief foreign affairs columnist Gideon Rachman continues the long tradition of foreign journalists misspelling 'Labor', and says Rudd will tilt Australia back slightly toward Asia.

I'll post more reactions as I find them.

* This SMH article repeats the Beazley to Washington rumour, and also suggests Bob Carr as UN ambassador and Peter Beattie for London.