Tony Abbott is running for office,
The highest in all the South Land.
As the favorite of the bosses
He has his victory speech all planned.
But his rival is proving a tough nut,
Unexpectedly for a female,
Metaphorically kicking his butt,
And his strength is beginning to fail.
“It’s a marathon race, not a sprint,”
She’d whispered, all womanly and small.
Did he shiver and shake at the hint
That she’d tail him till he hit the wall?
Judging his manner and giveaway gait,
He knows now who’s setting the pace.
He is about to disintegrate
As Julia Gillard takes the lead in this race.
NOTES: This is a re-write of my earlier pome from last month, Running For Office which I revised for Cafe Whispers. It’s the result of a birthday breakfast at South Beach shed cafe with George, an old friend, when I was particularly buoyed up because things were looking so much better for Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her government and so much worse for Tony Abbott!
As long-ago distance runners we talked about that in terms of Julia Gillard’s comment on the ABC last July, mentioned in an Age article, that the carbon pricing campaign is
“… a marathon, not a sprint…..”
We agreed that she had been proved right. Tony Abbott has been steadily losing ground to Julia Gillard in the latest polls which reveal a trend, as regularly documented and discussed by the Poll Bludger, William Bowe. However, her remarkable personal resilience, her government’s legislative achievements and the soundness of the national economy must surely have been getting him down privately for some time, no matter how loudly he proclaims her ineptitude and her government’s failings to the public.
Ad Astra at The Political Sword noticed that Tony Abbott was not only losing ground in the polls and in the media but he was also deteriorating physically in himself. As a retired medical practitioner he wrote about it in terms of
“The inexorable disintegration of the Leader of the Opposition (which) continues apace.”
As a one time runner I remembered that comment of the Prime Minister. Tony Abbott often runs marathons, so he would be very familiar with the term ‘hitting the wall.’ That’s a sudden extreme fatigue, particularly feared by marathon runners. I like to think that Julia Gillard knew about this term and had already made a shrewd assessment of Tony Abbott when she observed that poor polling didn’t worry her because she viewed the struggle with him and the Coalition as more of a marathon race than a sprint. His supporters in the media like Samantha Maiden have certainly made that connection and are advising him to take a break, rest up. He is also seen to need some time out of the limelight since Julia Gillard’s worldwide PR triumph with her misogyny speech.
But none of the commentators suggesting that he take a break and rest up after Parliament rises seems to have realized how significant is that phrase ‘hitting the wall’ for Tony Abbott now! A few weeks ago he foolishly and flatly denied an anecdote recounted by David Marr about his time at the University of Sydney where he resided at the now infamous St John’s College. This incident during his days as a student political activist depicted him as a misogynistic bully. In the light of that story from his past the phrase, “hitting the wall” has a very different meaning!
The idea that he could have menacingly punched the wall behind the head of a woman who had defeated him in a student election seems very credible in light of what is generally perceived to be his character by his political critics. He has been trying to counter that reputation by bringing the women of his family onto the political stage to defend him but that has had little effect on his popularity ratings. All their protestations counted for nothing once he had pushed Julia Gillard into her passionate outburst with his loose talk about her government ‘dying of shame.’ Recent opinion polls leave little doubt that Australians generally thought his comments themselves were pretty shameful.
This little pome plays with the idea of Tony Abbott suddenly realizing that Julia Gillard has his measure and will out-run him. She will wear him down. He will hit the wall, metaphorically this time, of course, in this all important political race. He possibly knows deep within himself that he has, in fact, already done that once before. Proof that he has lied about punching that wall would lead to his immediate downfall. In any case, the now generally accepted assessment of him as a man capable of intimidating a female rival in that way has seriously undermined his reputation and weakened his chances of election.
POST SCRIPT @ 10.06 pm Perth Time. Just came across this comment on The Poll Bludger which I often read late at night! A comment made around twelve hours ago EST.
1640 Roy Orbison
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink
BTW I caught a glimpse of Abbott on one of the morning shows this morning – not front and centre but in the background with a group of people – and I couldn’t help but notice how stressed and worried he looked. Perhaps he was just tired, but whatever it was, it was very noticeable.
I don’t have any evidence but my guess would be that the upcoming court case re the wall punching is the elephant in Tone’s room. That could bring the whole thing crashing down and I think he knows it. My other guess, based on nothing but observing his “character”, is that there are other skeletons about. Going back my Marist Brothers schooldays, he has the look of someone who is about to get six of the best.
2gravel, 15/11/12, Patricia, you just keep hitting the bullseye with your great pome’s, well done again.
COMMENTS from Cafe Whispers entry of 11/11/12
archiearchive FCD 12/11/12, And a Happy Birthday to you, Patricia. Thank you for another lucid post. Our Tones is definitely looking as though he has hit the wall. (I also used to run long distance in my youth – know all about that wall.
Bacchus, 12/11/12, If I get in now, it’s still your birthday in the West, so ♫ Happy Birthday Patricia ♬
Truth Seeker/Skeptical 12/11/12, Happy birthday Patricia hope it was a good one, and am glad to hear you are feeling much better now. I agree with your assessment of the marathon, and wrote about it myself in the 2013 political olympics.
Cheers and♩ ♪ Happy birthday to you ♩ ♪ Good post by the way Cheers!
silkworm, 12/11/12, Happy birthday for yesterday. And great post!
Miglo, 12/11/12, Another gem, Patricia. You are a rare talent.
When I hear of Tony Abbott and running I’m always reminded of his dash like a startled gazelle to the door in Parliament House when Craig Thomson crossed the floor.
Patriciawa, 1/11/12, Thanks, Miglo! Yes there are so many lovely instances like that and had I had more time yesterday I would have explored them, particularly that other running metaphor that came up – HITTING THE WALL! But what I wanted to do in response to your acknowledgment of my birthday was to post something here at the Cafe and to thank you for the encouragement you had given me in 2010 when I started writing the odd pome. It was your encouragement and attention at a time when you had your hands full in your own job and with this site which helped me find my way into a new late life career!
Your patient technical help with setting up my polliepomes site where I could collect all the pomes and the comments they received from your readers has resulted in the best reward of all – the PANDORA nomination for the National Archives. As well there are all the shared friendships of the internet, people like Lyn at TPS whose links are such a support and enrichment to all we like minded lefties!
I have slowed down a bit recently, so I can’t keep up a running exchange on a thread any more. This little pome seemed relevant right now and gave me a chance to talk about you. I am sorry that your health has brought early retirement to you, but I hope you realize how simply being more available at the Cafe makes you a great support for would be writers and a great resource and publishing outlet for more established authors like Archie.
So a big thank you to you and to all your readers and commenters who make such a difference to the political atmosphere of Oz.