CORRINE BARRACLOUGH JAMES MOR­ROW

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Saturday Extra - MOR­ROW

Con­grat­u­la­tions, Mis­ter Pres­i­dent. You did well in the midterm elec­tions. You picked up some Se­nate seats, and even though you lost the lower house, you staved off the sort of car­nage that usu­ally greets pres­i­dents two years into their ad­min­is­tra­tion.

But here’s some free ad­vice from 10,000 miles away: Don’t get cocky. Stop the gov­ern­ment by chaos the­ory.

And just maybe have a look at re­cent Aus­tralian his­tory for a model of how to se­cure not just two but six more years. I’ll get to why in a mo­ment.

Sure, it seems like right now the left is bent on self-destruc­tion, with their at­ti­tude that it’s the vot­ers who need to do bet­ter next time, not the can­di­dates.

And yes, it is amaz­ing that at a time when three-fourths of Amer­i­cans say they are sat­is­fied with their fi­nan­cial po­si­tion, Democrats are pitch­ing up a clown car of su­per­an­nu­ated geezers like Nancy Pelosi and even Hil­lary Clin­ton as their guid­ing lights and pro­gres­sive kid­dies who may as well have learned their eco­nom­ics at Hugo Chavez Univer­sity as the fu­ture of the party

But even though the in­stinct to pick a fight with some­one like CNN’s ad­mit­tedly ob­nox­ious Jim Acosta at a press con­fer­ence to change the sub­ject af­ter los­ing the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is un­der­stand­able, it is also wrong.

You came to power on a nar­ra­tive that Amer­ica and the globe was in chaos and on a prom­ise to do some­thing about it.

And so far so good: GDP is up, un­em­ploy­ment is down, and even the Econ­o­mist mag­a­zine has given grudg­ing sup­port to the way you’ve han­dled your for­eign pol­icy (which wouldn’t be hard, given Obama’s feck­less­ness). But peo­ple tire of con­stant chaos. Not only that, in a democ­racy, they will vote against it ev­ery time.

That’s why those Repub­li­can cam­paign ads con­trast­ing happy fam­i­lies and fac­tory work­ers against shriek­ing, vi­o­lent pro­gres­sive protesters were so dev­as­tat­ingly ef­fec­tive.

It’s also why, if the Democrats ever de­cide to stop shriek­ing and make an ap­peal to calm­ness, the Repub­li­cans will be in real trou­ble.

But there’s a way to beat them to this punch while still in­fu­ri­at­ing left­ies so hard that they for­get how to think.

The model is John Howard, who as prime min­is­ter from 1996 to 2007 guided Aus­tralia through peace and war and kept the borders se­cure — but while all the time urg­ing Aus­tralians to be, in his words, “re­laxed and com­fort­able”. That Howard-era boom was apoc­a­lyp­ti­cally ag­gra­vat­ing to Aus­tralian left­ies who raged from their in­nercity ter­races that — shock, hor­ror — tradies were buy­ing grand new-build houses in the sub­urbs (“McMan­sions”, in the par­lance of the sneer­ers) with big-screen tele­vi­sions and en­joy­ing an­nual hol­i­days to Fiji.

Need proof? Look up play­wright David Wil­liamson’s 2005 es­say for the now-de­funct Bul­letin mag­a­zine.

It’s a bril­liant piece of ac­ci­den­tal satire that de­scribes win­ning a cruise at a char­ity auc­tion and land­ing on board a tub “stacked to the gun­wales with John Howard’s beloved as­pi­ra­tional Aus­tralians” who brought along “oo­dles of chil­dren” and “didn’t seem to be dis­cussing Proust or Ge­orge Eliot”.

And it em­bod­ied ex­actly the sort of at­ti­tude that sent work­ing- and mid­dle­class vot­ers into Howard’s camp time and time again, pre­fer­ring as they did not to break bread with the side of pol­i­tics that seemed to hate them de­spite be­ing called on the bal­lot “La­bor”.

In both the United States and Aus­tralia, the Democrats and La­bor slowly but surely let work­ing-class vot­ers who want to live a quiet life and make a bet­ter one for their kids bleed off as they al­lowed them­selves to be cap­tured by bou­tique cul­tural is­sues and a false sense of su­pe­ri­or­ity.

Howard cap­i­talised on this bril­liantly — and let them rage while he kept win­ning elec­tions.

To put it an­other way, stop pick­ing fights. Steady, sta­ble gov­er­nance and a re­laxed 1950s-style pros­per­ity is the great­est troll of all.

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