Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rudd's race

Watching Kevin Rudd, I'm reminded of the legend of Jack Lovelock; particularly his win at the Berlin Olympics. Lovelock was one of NZ's greatest ever athletes and an Olympic gold medalist. He was part of a select group of runners, stars during the '20s and '30s, who purused the dream of a sub-4 minute mile.

What's all this got to do with Kevin Rudd? Lovelock's race tactics might be just the thing for Rudd.

The "Lovelock kick", the unexpected but decisive break, is what won Lovelock gold in Berlin in '36 (David Robertson's short film is a brilliant dramatisation of Lovelock's training regime). It's about knowing your opposition well enough to know when they're attending to their own race and not paying attention to yours. It's also about having the stamina to break when you're ready and also about being able keep up if they go first.

Rudd's in this race, much more so than the last couple of Labor leaders and his position and strategy appear much more robust. He's overcome the initial wrestle for position, he'd copped a few elbows but he's still got form, a good position and appears calm under pressure. His current lead will undoubtedly reduce in the run-up to the election so he needs to focus on when to make his decisive break.

Howard race tactics already appear all too familiar but I can't see any mileage on interest rates, none either in Iraq, and possibly not even in migration. On IR, the government is very vulnerable.

Watching Howard on the 7.30 report last night, it was clear he was behind - the Santoro scandal blunted any advantage the he'd hoped to gain through his negative campaigning.

So where too next? Rudd has to be thinking "who cares, I'll make my move when I'm ready and if he moves first, I'll run him down".

1 comment:

Chris said...

Good metaphor. Helen Clark is very good at this. Labour went into the last election in New Zealand a few points behind but Helen Clark proved the better campaigner. The next elections on both sides of the Tasman are going to be interesting ones to watch...