Author(s): Peter Hartcher
In Bipolar Nation, Peter Hartcher discusses the fantasies and realities at the heart of our politics. When our political leaders look at us, what do they see? What are the hopes, fears and dreams of the Australian electorate, and how might they be turned to election winning advantage? What, most fundamentally, do we want in a prime minister?
In this scintillating and original essay, Peter Hartcher investigates today's "bipolar nation", where Australians are more economically secure, yet existentially as anxious as ever. He explains how the Lucky Country and the Frightened Country will be the two grand themes of the election year, and discusses how John Howard will set out to craft an election winning strategy on that basis. He revisits Donald Horne's Lucky Country, looks at the legacy of Paul Keating, and analyses Kevin Rudd's many layered effort to out-manoeuvre the Prime Minister.
'The Lucky Country finally started to make its own luck, and Howard has taken out a political monopoly on it. The Frightened Country still harbours dark anxieties, some old and some new. Howard, the necromancer of our national psyche, conjures our fears to frighten us, and then offers to banish them again to soothe us. He understands the Bipolar Nation.' --Peter Hartcher, ipolar Nation
'Hartcher tells us in his essay Bipolar Nation that Howard is playing the 2007 election like a shrewd game of bridge. Labor can put down as many policy aces as it likes between now and polling day, but if Howard wins in the end it will be because he holds all the trump cards.' --Andrew Charlton
'Peter Hartcher's essay is as elegant and erudite as its author.' --Bill Bowtell
Peter Hartcher is the political editor and international editor for the Sydney Morning Herald. He has won both the Gold Walkley award for journalism and the Citibank award for business reporting. His books include Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the Missing 7 Trillion Dollars and To the Bitter End: the Dramatic Story Behind the Fall of John Howard and the Rise of Kevin Rudd.