Saturday, July 11, 2009

Analysing PM Kevin Rudd

Shaun Carney provides a noteworthy analysis of Kevin Rudd, his ways and wares with media and communication style.

THIS Kevin Rudd, who is he? And who really cares? When the opinion pollsters and the journalists refer in their reports to the Prime Minister's popularity, they're using the term advisedly. Rudd gets a high approval rating, a low disapproval rating and, like pretty much every sitting PM, scores big numbers as preferred prime minister ... Liberal voters cannot understand how Rudd can continue to win endorsement from a solid majority of their fellow Australians. They see Rudd as a slippery, deceitful fake — a king of "spin" with a "glass jaw" — who would go to any length to advance himself ... His default delivery in public sits somewhere between the business-like monotone of the old-fashioned bank manager and the smarming bloke at the door trying to sell encyclopedias. This demonstrates the duality of Rudd's public persona: he's got something special to give you (his intellect, his drive) but you've got to travel some of the way towards him to connect ...

Rudd's experience as a diplomat has served him well in politics. He's never seen a room that he didn't think he could work. In most settings, he seems to know how much interest to show in other people to disarm them before proceeding to display what he would regard as his intellectual talents and his personal resolve ... Do we see the real Rudd in public? No more or less than any other public figure. Every politician I've met is more interesting in private. Rudd does a reasonable job of hiding his more bureaucratic-cum-academic side — his public use of "programmatic specificity" this week was a classic slip. Try saying it, much less using it in a sentence.

To counteract these inadvertent exposures, Rudd regularly ventures into the entertainment media, trying to connect to younger voters. He's appeared on Channel Ten's Rove twice now. Because John Howard, who turns 70 this month, declined to appear on the show, Rudd's willingness to engage is being portrayed by some as a decline in standards.

Read the whole piece here

I feel that Rudd's litmus test still awaits him, true he has carved out a resilient persona without political expense, however luck has been on Labor's side. Personally, I think the Government often behaves as if still in an election mode; the gloss my friends is simply yet to peel ...

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