A true measure of the kind of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will be has been impossible during the last two and a third years for not once has he been under any political pressure. His personal popularity has been high, the media generally treats him kindly and with respect, his opponents until recently kept arguing among themselves and the pollsters continually reported an election would see Labor returned with an increased majority. It has to be the longest honeymoon for a new boy Prime Minister in the country’s history.
Only in the last couple of months have there been signs that the Prime Ministerial easy ride might be coming to an end. A couple of Newspolls have suggested the gap between Labor and the Coalition might be narrowing at last as Tony Abbott brings an appealing manner to Opposition campaigning while climate change and problems with an insulation policy give him some issues to campaign on.
The initial Rudd response to a modicum of criticism in the press is to talk of the need to better explain the Government’s policies. He and his ministerial colleagues are pretending that it is the salesmanship to blame rather than there being anything wrong with the product being sold. That is a common delusion of politicians when things start to go wrong.
So perhaps we soon will see how this Prime Minister stands up to the kind of pressure that comes when it is necessary to sack a friend from the ministry because he is threatening to drag the Party down. Then we will get a measure of how Kevin Rudd will stand in the list of the nation’s leaders.