The moral midget in the world
“Yet [John Howard’s] behaviour lately on two issues – AWB’s improper payments to Saddam Hussein’s regime and refugees from Indonesia – raises the question whether his political skills may have more serious consequence for Australia than simply keeping him in office.

In public debate, the Prime Minister nips and tucks, using words, especially adjectives, carefully so that he can later disown sentiments that he had seemed earlier to be endorsing. As he is neither a blatant bigot nor simple-minded, he does not appear to be lowering standards, whether of competence or morality. He appears, rather, to be trying to be sensible. But the effect is that the issue is allowed to crumble or evaporate in a flurry of self-protective corrections, refinements and denials, as well as complex, bureaucratic outcomes.” (Age)