Morris on Latham

Former Clinton strategist Dick Morris has always got something interesting to say. Morris has one of the most incisive and tactical views of political strategy and understands the psychology of voters better than most.

Today in The Australian, Morris identifies himself as a big fan of Mark Latham, and argues that he is on the right track is his attempts to follow the Blairite Third Way:
But Latham is on the right track. He is stooping to conquer by daring to address the real problems of actual Australians as opposed to the theoretical concerns of national politicians and party economists. Latham is spelling out precisely what his victory would mean for Australian parents as they battle to raise good children in an age of cynicism and violence. His specific proposals on the environment, health care, education, child care and the like stand in sharp contrast to the bureaucratic programs and shopworn rhetoric with which the Liberal Party greets the voters.

Morris is right on the mark (pardon the pissy pun) when it comes to identifying where Latham stands politically, but he fails to take account of the central importance of the character of leaders. Where Howard is boring but stable, Latham is wildly erratic, prone to verbal outbursts and poor discipline. He has a litany of faux pas, and when elected leader worked hard to distance himself from his pre-leadership statements. Voters are ultimately a conservative bunch, and it will be tough for Latham to convice them that his wild days are over. No doubt that the ALP Third Way platform has plenty of desirable and credible policies, it's the salesman with Tourette's that's the problem.

Morris certainly has a good record on reading this. Check out his comments from last December just two days after Latham took over as leader. Visionary stuff.


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