I've been wondering why no-one points something out about Peter Costello. The same ping-pong argument goes on (in defiance of an obvious fact): "He could have been Prime Minister if he had challenged John Howard", says Tweedledill. "Oh, but the numbers were never there; that's why he didn't", says Tweedledumb. I say, like that cute song: Oh no, oh-no, you've got it all wrong!"
This simple truth is that obvious fact: He didn't challenge, because he couldn't win, because the numbers weren't there because...he wouldn't do the necessary to acquire them. Peter was only prepared to be supported by people whom it was easy for him to like and easy to have liking him. That's a satisfactory style in many places. A competitive political group isn't one of them. He just wouldn't do what Paul Keating or John Howard would do: cultivate the support of people whom he found beneath his dignity. A good numbers man has not only to swallow many a curry dinner in Manuka and many a yawn provoked by his interlocutors. He first has to swallow his pride. Peter wanted to have it come to him. And then perhaps he'd deign to accept it.
He started out saying that he was (to paraphrase it to a gist) a technocrat who wanted to get things done in government. Being PM was irrelevant. He was happy to make his contributions from the engine room in the treasury department and let others squabble over the captaincy of the ship of state. I won't digress on what I think of his particular efforts as Treasurer; I'm of socialist inclinations; join the dots. What I find worthy of saying is that he should have stuck to his original position. He may not have been the "world's greatest treasurer" like Paul Keating, but he was passable. As a survivor of W.A. Inc., I'm prepared and qualified to say that any Treasurer who stays on deck and sober is not to be scoffed at. Even a (shudder) Liberal Treasurer.
Peter didn't have the hunger for it and just drifted into a sense of entitlement to the leadership. He doesn't really have the makings for it. He should do the decent thing and lock all that out and do three good years as a constituency MP for the people of Higgins. They voted for him: he owes them that much.