While in office, Australian Prime Minister John Howard was one of President Bush’s “staunchest allies,” supporting the Iraq war and refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Last year, frustrated Australians voted Howard’s party out of power in a “humiliating defeat.” His support of Bush also cost him his own constituent election, making Howard the first sitting prime minister to lose his seat in Parliament since 1929.
Misery loves company. Last night, Howard joined some of his fellow fallen neocons — including Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton, and Scooter Libby — at an annual dinner hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). AEI presented Howard with its annual “Irving Kristol Award” for being “one of the world’s most successful democratic politicians.”
Making his first major speech since losing the election, Howard wasted no time providing his hosts with some conservative red meat. He warned of the threat of “Islamic fascism,” boasted that the “surge” in Iraq is “beginning to bear fruit,” said that viewing the Iraq war as a distraction from fighting terrorism is “naive and dangerous,” extolled “traditional” marriage, and proclaimed a “major ideological battle” against the left:
The dominant left-liberal elements in the media in both our countries apparently cannot bring themselves to acknowledge good news stories coming out of Baghdad. [...]
Those who hold to conservative values continue to face a major ideological battle.
The left liberal grip on educational institutions and large, though not all, sections of the media remains intense.
Howard’s speech can serve as a preview to the future: he recently signed with the prominent Washington Speaker’s Bureau, a move that allows him to follow in the footsteps of a number of unemployed, but loyal Bushies, including Rudy Giuliani, Andy Card, Tony Snow and Scott McClellen.
Indeed, Howard’s speech has already won an admirer. Writing about the event at the National Review Online, Mark Steyn called Howard a “great man” and then asked: “Any chance of a quickie constitutional amendment to enable Howard to run for President?”