Saturday, October 09, 2004

Australian Elections

I should note that Prime Minister John Howard was reelected today. From a foreign policy perspective, Americans should applaud this. Outside of Blair, he is the most committed supporter of the intervention in Iraq. Austarilians were ready to bail after the Jakarta and Bali bombings.

However, John Howard's victory is not the victory for conservatism that it is made out to be. John O'Sullivan at National Review Online refers to Howard as "a stauch conservative."
This is true, in the limited sense that his opponent was a nutjob. Chris Latham, the Labour candidate, is an out of the closet socialist. So saying John Howard was the conservative candidate is the equivalent of saying that Joe Biden is a "staunch conservative" next to the likes of Teddy K. Indeed, O'Sullivan goes on to point out:

Instead of giving the voters a battle royal over Iraq, both parties have been promising them all sorts of economic and social goodies in a competitive fiscal giveaway. Usually left-wing parties have a natural advantage in such an auction — and Latham has fought a shrewd and lively campaign on economic and environmental issues.

"Economic and social...fiscal giveaway"s are not the stuff of conservatism. On a domestic level, Australia is sliding into the Western European tradition of Nanny socialism.

As an example (a gun one, imagine that), John Lott had a stunning piece earlier this year about the sword ban that took effect on 07/12/04 as a result of the edged-weapon crime epidemic that has been sweeping Australia after their disastrous gun bans.

These sorts of policies have, unsurprisingly, resulted in crime statistics that would have the American Public turning every incumbent candidate out on their ass.

So while Howard's reelection is a victory for the administration and this country's ongoing struggle against, well you know who, it is merely holding socialists at the gate, and maybe even conceding some ideology.

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