If we had thought that Howard was just going to fatalistically accept polls and roll over and over and then acquiesce to the will of a disgruntled electorate, resign and force Costello to become a leader of the Opposition (surely he would resign rather than do this?) then signs are that this is not going to happen.
Let us not forget that this man, whether we agree with his policies or not, is one of the finest political animals that we have ever seen. He will play his cards like the champion he is and not go out without a fight.
As I watched crowds in Devonport yesterday enthusiastically cheer him (here) there could be little doubt that they appreciated the fact that he was going to intervene to ensure that they would not lose medical facilities. In a marginal seat it will make a difference.
Prediction: We will see the most strategically placed 'cherry picking ' (as Rudd so aptly named it) of projects in marginal electorates that we have ever seen. Will it work?...well we shall see. The voice of opposition in the Cabinet, Costello, to this sort of pre-election-spending has been effectively silenced in the last fortnight.
You can just hear his protestations. This is inflationary. And little Johnny's response...I know we can't afford it but if we don't buy it then we will be out of government, and if we are out of government then we won't be buying anything.
More sinister I fear is the fact that we actually may be about to witness something far more exploitative and cynical than the Tampa with regard to Dr Haniff. The trickle of dubious information that Andrews blessed us with yesterday, may just be the beginning of the political round to end all rounds.
Already (if talk radio is anything to go by) the public voices are changing...Well we have to err on the side of caution, so the PM was right. A News Poll yesterday firmly agreed with the way the Government had dealt with the issue...Yikes!!
There is now a slow flow of information from India which is, I suggest, exactly where the Government wants him to be...Haniff must have known about Terrorist Organizations...and of course he does have a beard and dark skin. And being on the subcontinent he is far away and unable to effectively access any real media presence. But then it's not really about him.
Amidst all this, I suspect Rudd has just to keep his cool; which will be easier said than done.
But let's not just expect fatalistic acquiescence from the PM