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I’m not being wise after the event. Back when Rudd and I would still catch up for dinner or coffee, I knew him already as a deeply insecure man who seemed to want nothing from politics but validation. Applause. Power. Without revealing what he said in confidence, it struck me that there was no cause he cared about as deeply as his own success. And so, just days before he defeated John Howard, I tried to warn we would shortly have a prime minister who was a mere cipher. “Kevin Rudd will be prime minister by December. Or, to be more accurate, our new prime minister will be ‘Kevin Rudd’,” I wrote. “This ‘Kevin Rudd’ will say just what you want, but may in fact be nothing like the real Rudd ... But, wait: here I am assuming there really is someone behind this ‘Kevin Rudd’.” So it’s proved, decisively so in this past month in which Rudd has ditched even policies many voters had assumed he believed in with all his heart.
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