The worst thing about Peter Costello is that smirk. You know the one that says "Well I have said just about the smartest thing that could ever be said, and everyone else is stupid."
This is only tempered by the fact that usually when he does it he has just shot himself in the foot and not realised.
Bang! Such an incident occurred on the 7.30 report last night. You can watch the podcast on their website under the title "Government ridicules Labor's Grocery Plan".
Totally missing the point that Rudd was (rightly or wrongly) tapping into community Angst about skyrocketing grocery costs, their fluctuation, and their ever-upward moving direction.
Bang!"Rudd is wrong the Bureau of Statistics has been giving this information for a decade".
The interviewer, Ali Moore, gives him a way out "But those statistics don't tell you which shop or chain is more expensive."
Bang! "What Mr Rudd wants is to know the price of Bread, biscuits and baked beans.Well I've been on to the Bureau of Stats today and the average price of bread is $3.21 in Sydney and $3.20" he also reeled off the obviously staffer-researched figures for biscuits (dry and sweet) and baked beans.
She gave him a way out again..."But that's not the point Treasurer, people want to know which chains are more expensive."
But so fixated was he on making a point ...."But that is the point....no no let me finiish."
Bang! He had already done it . His audience was saying but that IS the point you smirking fool.
Bang! We had already watched him declare that he didn't understand that people with limited money will actually try to not pay $3.21 for bread. Even at the relatively expensive BD bakery with the lovely fresh bread, ordinary bread is only $2.90
In the supermarket next door you can get it for $1.90
Bang! Now this doesn't matter if you earn over $200,000...and that is rather the point, he has, at the very least, given the impression that he does not understand what low and middle average income people deal with every day.
This is why he will never be PM. While Howard may be as unaware, he is not so naive. While Rudd may be in actually the same financial circumstances, he is not so smug.
The Liberal party would at any stage be foolish to commit their leadership to such a one. But starnger things have happened.