Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Taming of Tanya 2

Operation Taming Tanya seems to be coming along nicely:

"Some in Labor are predicting a big future for deputy leader Tanya Plibersek. Perhaps prophetically, this year she read Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and the autobiography of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir." (There's nothing like a good read: As they relax over summer, politicians plan to catch up with their reading, Troy Bramston, The Australian, 23/12/13)

Is this not a sign? Could the Labor Zionist operatives behind OTT - see my 30/10/13 post The Taming of Tanya - be grooming her for the top job once One-Term Tony's but a bad memory? And is it time maybe to start speaking of 'Short-Term Shorten'?

If so, Plibersek's highly embarrassing 'rogue Israel' outburst of 2002 (My Goodness, I don't quite know what came over me!) will have to be atoned for big time. Which is perhaps, if I'm reading the tea leaves correctly, where Israel's first female PM (1969-1974) Golda Meir comes in.

Is Labor's Golden Girl about to become the Golda Meir of Australian politics? 

It's a hard ask!

For starters she's got to be able to say with a straight face when the time comes: Palestinians? What Palestinians?

Then there's Golda's legendary will of iron and heart of stone? Could that be a bridge too far for Plibersek?

It's not a pretty picture I'm afraid: 

"My moment of eye-opening disillusion with Golda Meir came early on in Elinor Burkett's new biography of the female premier, titled simply Golda. The year was 1950, and Golda Meyerson, as she was then known, was nearing 60 and had just returned from her stint as Israel's first ambassador to the Soviet Union. Her son, Menachem, off studying the cello in Yugoslavia, was having marital problems with his new wife. She was pregnant and insisted the couple return to Jerusalem to have the baby. Meir assumed her daughter-in-law was trying to sabotage her son's promising music career, so she decided that, as punishment, she would ignore her first grandchild. The baby girl that was born that year, Meira Meyerson, had a mild case of Down syndrome. Meir refused to see her. The child, she demanded, should be institutionalized. 'Golda was like a stone,' an old friend confessed to Burkett.

"That Israel's fourth prime minister was a stone is not news. Any of the half-dozen biographies already published, or even her own ghostwritten 1976 memoir, My Life, attest to what could generously be described as an iron will. And for a woman who shoved her way into the innermost circle of Labor Zionist leadership, a notoriously egomaniacal group of fiery political men, one can almost forgive her some spitefulness and coldness along the way. Certainly, one wouldn't want to judge Meir any more or less harshly than her male cohorts. What Burkett tries (and succeeds in) doing is taking a sympathetic but unapologetic look in order to discover what happened when her life intersected with power. It's not pretty. Anyone expecting the 'part Superwoman, a dash of Emma Goldman, a smidgen of Nelson Mandela, all wrapped up in the warmth of our grandmothers,' as Burkett describes the popular image of Meir, won't find her here. In her place is a tragic, lonely, sickly figure, a terrible mother who cuckolded and neglected her husband, alienated her loved ones and often terrorized her closest friends." (From Gal Beckerman's review of Elinor Burkett's Golda, Will of iron, heart of stone: book shines light on Golda Meir's harder side,, 29/8/08)

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