Godspeed Mr. John Howard

Nothing lasts forever, and no one is indispensable.  Great men rise, and great men fall.  Today, a true giant has fallen.

Not since Lady Margaret Thatcher was brought down by a revolt in her own party in 1990 has conservatism…and the world…suffered such a blow. Nevertheless, it is the very freedom and democracy that civilized people everywhere cherish that forces us to accept decisions, no matter how horrible they may be. The people of Australia have spoken, and after four terms as Prime Minister, John Howard and his conservative ruling coalition were defeated by his opponents in Labour.

Make no mistake about it. This short, bald, undistinguished looking man who ran Australia was a giant. On economics, Australia’s budget was balanced during his reign. Australia has no deficit. The whole nation has a surplus.

On immigration, John Howard was a hardliner. Immigrants who came were expected to assimilate, and conform to Australian values. Those who refused to do so were to leave, with the help of the Australian government.

On the defining issue of our time, the War on Terror, John Howard was a staunch ally of America. He articulated the Bush Doctrine better than President Bush did. During his tenure, he, President Bush, and Tony Blair continued with what is known as “The Angloshpere.” With help from former Prime Ministers Aznar of Spain and Berlusconi of Italy, Australia was on the front lines as being an absolute and unwavering defender of American values.

Australian political analysts, who if they were any less qualified to do anything would be American pundits, kept predicting electoral defeat for Mr. Howard. He kept confounding them. What the pundits failed to understand is that like Ronald Reagan, Mr. Howard talked right past the media that looked down on him. He spoke plainly to the people. The more he was attacked for being a regular guy, the more regular guys liked him.

John Howard won elections because he got the job done. He managed Australia deftly through the Asian financial crisis a decade ago. He went after regulations the way he went after Al Queda, vigorously. He condemned the nightclub bombings in Bali, and kept pointing out that those bombings occurred well before the war with Iraq. He did not offer excuses. He simply condemned barbarism in the strongest possible terms, whether it be 9/11, the Bali bombings, or the attacks on Israel that Mr. Howard understood were pure evil. He knew right from wrong, and he expressed it with a bullhorn.

So why did Mr. Howard lose? Because he was a victim of his own success. When there are no more perceived external threats to conquer, be they Islamofacists or inflation, people gaze inward. This is why the Roman Empire fell, and why lady Thatcher was brought down. When people are happy, they become complacent, and laziness leads to a yearning for more. Governing is not sexy. Mr. Howard was not sexy. He simply did the job in an unflashy way. For many people, peace and tranquility is equated with stagnation and boredom.

In America, presidents only get up to two terms. Despite leftists howling over a loss of civil liberties, George W. Bush does not seem to be trying to extend his stay into a dictator for life reign of terror. That would be Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. While Mr. Chavez started out this way, many leaders start out good and then stay in power too long. Sure, they can cling to power or try and rig elections, like Pinochet in Chile, but in a true democracy, they are simply fired. Winston Churchhill was fired, again proving that even the very best of the best are replaceable.

Today is a day of joy and mourning for people all over the world. The joy comes in the form of a free and fair election, where after ruling for so long, a prime minister will relinquish his seat with no bloodshed, and without lawyers contesting the results and crying about fake fraud. A peaceful transition of power will occur, and Australia will continue to go about daily life. Some say things are so peaceful that the difference in power will be negligible.

The mourning comes in the form of seeing one of the greatest world leaders in the history of government go down to defeat. John Howard was one of the very best, and his electoral loss is a loss for the world.

From one American citizen, I say thank you Mr. Howard. Thank you, and may God bless you for your fine principled leadership. The 21st century has gotten off to a brutal beginning, and very few people could have navigated through such torrentially monstrous waters. Thank you for being one of them. You will be missed.

Godspeed Mr. Howard.


10 Responses to “Godspeed Mr. John Howard”

  1. phillip Hoy says:

    I fear folk in the US have got it wrong. Most Australians are pleased to see John Howard go.

    John has been the most conservative PM since Stanley Bruce.
    He was not honest on Iraq, he abused principles of the Australian Federation, he abused the Independence of the Public Service (including Military), He expected aborigines and migrants to conform to his peculiar WASP ‘Australian standards’, he redistributed income towards the rich and he told ‘porky pies’ – that is aussie for fibs.

    He was very like another Australian Prime Minister William Hughes, who went to the the Front in 1917 and drew a comment from a Digger: “too deaf to hear, to loud to ignore and too small to hit!”

    We look forward to a Rudd era: he is not a lawyer, he is smart, he has principals and he has ‘dinkum’ religious values – you know, the ones in the “Our Father…”.

  2. BigT says:

    And yet he is the second longest serving PM in Australian history. That doesn’t sound like a guy the Australians hated.

  3. ZenTiger says:

    Good post.

    I lived in Australia 12 years. I started off disliking him because I paid no heed to matters political and relied on the newspapers and media for my point of view.

    Then I started questioning these opinions I had, and discovered they had been layered on me, unsuspecting whilst I went about by daily business, trying to hold down a job and raise a family.

    If most people didn’t like Howard it was because most people don’t think, they only absorb. They are easily guided by the mis-guided – those ardent socialists that think being fair is chopping every-one down to the same level of mediocrity.

    Rudd may have principals, but once they manage to break out of wherever he has hidden them, they will reveal to the world that he gave away his principles to abduct those principals. You think that’s why the education system is churning out unthinking Gore-ites?

  4. Jersey McJones says:

    It was a complete sweep. Howard barely hung on to his home constituency. People may have “liked” Howard, but after a decade of lies and failures, the Aussies woke up and threw him out – along with a couple dozen other little Howards.

    As a side note, notorious US Senator Trent Lott is resigning. Meanwhile, in France, Sarkozy is rapidly losing support for his his plan to destroy the the country’s support systems. It just goes on and on. You can fool people so much, but eventually they wake up and smell the b.s.. Conservatism is on the popular wain throughout the West.


  5. pixologic says:

    Kevin Rudd is quiet pro-US for a left-winger. And he has called himself a “fiscal conservative”.

  6. […] are you the same person that posted that nonsense here: Godspeed Mr. John Howard « THE TYGRRRR EXPRESS Or was that plagerised without […]

  7. susan gelderstrom says:

    John Howard was a creep. We hated him. We suffered under him. We grew small
    and visionless and mean under him. He left Kirribilii House today and the music is back on the streets again. He killed the spirit of Sydney, the spirit of Australia.
    Good night and Good riddance. I hope he wakes up with the taste of dung in his mouth for the rest of his life.

  8. Michael Holdcroft says:

    Is this article for real. Who was the author? He obviously doesnt live in Australia. John Howard was one of the worst Prime Ministers Australia has ever had! The fiscal position was set up by the Labor party and its deregulation in the 80’s when Howard, as treasurer in a previous Liberal administration, did nothing. He lied to the people of Australia time and time again. He used the hip pocket nerve to buy his way into power at every election. He was supposed to be the leader of Australia so we are not too chuffed when we hear that he was au”unwavering defender of American Values”. He should have defended Australian Values which are very different to American Values. Governing is not just GDP and fiscal goodness, people need to be treated as valued, not just as a slave to get money. Good riddance “honest John”!

  9. Elizabeth P says:

    I absolutely agree with you eric. John Howard left Australia in excellent shape. Let’s hope the left wing don’t screw it up. Although his critics are outspoken his supporters were the silent majority and re-elected him.
    Good Luck for the future Mr Howard and thank you for being one of the greatest PMs of all time.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.