Kevin Rudd’s story in politics has the elements of a classic tragedy, expect that he is, thankfully, still living (though dead politically?). His rise was due to his own strengths and his downfall at the hand of former allies the result of his own fatal flaws.
Like so many, I had high hopes when Mr Rudd and his team were first elected in 2007. They achieved much, but there were some monumental failures as well. And way, way too much noise and sheer busyness. A calmer, more measured, approach would have been more successful, dampening down the 24-hour news cycle, not fueling it with perpetual ‘announceables’.
Just before the 2013 election, academic David Burchell wrote:
For the past seven years of our national life, he has played the role not so much of a political leader as of the central character in a literary tragedy of his own writing […] It has been the personal trajectory, and now the personal tragedy, that has held our attention – the meteor that is now plummeting to its fiery end. […]
It is impossible to forget the spirit of hope that spread across much of the nation [in 2007]. That is an achievement too often overlooked: it is rare that an individual can instil that sense of excitement in a country of such practised laconicism. And with that talent—the first sign that he could turn history to his own ends—Rudd became only the third Labor leader since the Second World War to take Labor from opposition into government. […]
It is a truth well known to the scripters of mythology: our greatest strengths are often our greatest weaknesses.