Howard’s submissive body language

Photograph of John Howard with George W Bush

John Howard’s body language worries me. I want a leader, a statesmen to lead Australia, not a lapdog.

Some years ago, the ABC had vision of Howard greeting some visiting American dignitaries — I think Colin Powell was one of them. Anyway, as people got out of limos and approached each other the US visitors strode forward, calm and confident. Meanwhile Howard hunched down and cautiously extended his hand in a classic primate gesture of submission.

It was like a small-time shopkeeper receiving a visit from The Big City Bank Manager. It was embarrassing.

On the weekend, Howard was still behaving like a puppy-dog to George W Bush, as I think the photo (right) from the Sydney Morning Herald shows. OK, it’s only one frame, but I think it shows a nervous John Howard anxiously looking for approval from The Boss. What do you think?

But hey, have a look at the rest of the photos. At least Hyacinth is in her element. A shame Laura couldn’t make it, eh love?

7 Replies to “Howard’s submissive body language”

  1. Malcolm Turnbull is probably the only person I’d vote for. He has that gentlemanly quality. I don’t especially know his broader political standing, but does that matter? He’s someone I could believe in, or at least sleep with, or go down on, or something.

    Why can Rudd suck up to China but not Howard to America? Is the dollar the only thing that matters? Do we support China’s policies blindly while it’s forking over the money?

    What’s Mandarin for “oil money sponsoring genocide in Sudan”.

    But yes, Howards bodylanguage is increasingly unsure. The back foot really doesn’t suit him.

  2. @jason: Well, for starters, thanks for the disturbing image of going down on Malcolm Turnbull. A good thing I’m trying to lose weight…

    As Snarky Platypus pointed out, Turnbull is a small-l liberal, certainly a major contrast. And with a business background he’s used to making bold, effective decisions. I’m astounded at myself that I think he’d be a good choice when I really don’t know much.

    There’s really no difference between the US or China if “sucking up to them” is our approach. Both, well, suck. Australia is the 15th largest world economy, and we should act like a grown-up. Howard’s subservience and sycophancy to the US and his discomfort dealing with any country that isn’t white, English-speaking and cricket-playing has always been a liability and certainly has no place in the 21st century.

    At least Rudd would be trying to talk as an equal.

  3. @patrick: Ah, very insightful. Not.

    By “shut up” I figure you mean you agree with my point, you just don’t like what I’m saying so you’re resorting to schoolyard “debate”. Tough.

    And “like you could do any better”? Two points. First, I’m not putting myself up as PM, so I don’t have to be able to do better. I just don’t think Howard’s up for the job. And secondly, I think I could handle my body language better when talking to world leaders. I certainly did OK when I worked at the ABC.

    Then again, I’m not fighting to retain my job and my whole government in the face of plummeting opinion polls.

    Higher-quality commentary next time, please. That’s the last time you get even close to making it a personal attack. Your comments are now being moderated.

  4. Dear Patrick,

    Please note that Stilgherrian has never claimed to be capable of being Australia’s PM.

    I would expect people who have the gall to run for that job to be able to stand up to bush a little better than little old Stilgherrian.

    Mrmm… I’d love to see a press conference with Stilgherrian and Bush – I suspect one of them would be running verbal rings around the other…

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