Peter Hartcher says Howard and Murdoch are repositioning for "the two-year, slow-motion funeral procession of the Bush presidency":
Already you can see the outlines of campaign rhetoric. Howard will position himself as protector and champion of the US alliance, while painting Beazley as anti-American... Howard is positioning so that he will not be the victim of a strategic debacle in Iraq, but the hero of the alliance and the source of national assurance against the dark forces plotting unseen in the Islamic schools of Java and the bunkers of Pyongyang.Love the white guys, fear the brown guys. Will it work again?
He has reframed the war. It's not about the aspirations of distant Arabs but the bedrock security of Australians.
Hartcher points out that the ANZUS alliance has always had the support of a minimum of two-thirds of the Australian people. But he also points to a Lowy Institute poll last year, which found that Australians put Bush and Osama bin Laden on a level pegging as risks to Australian security.
Murdoch may decry "irrational antipathy" towards the USA, and plead with people not let hatred of an administration, or a war, lead to anti-Americanism. But the fact is that we Aussies are more than capable of such lizard brain racism, as Howard knows all too well.
It would be ironic indeed if racist anti-Americanism cost Howard the next election.
Meanwhile, Get Up is using billboards to support the release of David Hicks from Gitmo:
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has now twice refused to meet with GetUp to receive your 50,000-strong petition calling for David Hicks to be brought home. This is nothing more than a slap in the face to you, and our collective call for justice and the rule of law.Click here to support the campaign.
Since he won't meet with us, we've decided to take your message directly to him. Right now we are working with the best media buyers in the country to book strategic, highly prominent billboards where Alexander Downer, Philip Ruddock and John Howard can't ignore you - on the roads between where they live and work.
Can you help fund billboards like they've never seen? The more money we raise today the better resourced our campaign, and the more billboards we'll be able to purchase.