It does however make it a little harder to care much about it when Bill Heffernan gives her a serve. Funny that at this moment SBS should serve up that fine, now venerable documentary about Harvey Milk, presumably as a warm up to the theatrical release in the antipodes of Sean Penn's Oscar winning ways. Not much seems to have changed over the years.
But as a poodle is to a pit bull, so Gillard's coarse wit sags up against Janet Albrechtsen, who in her latest column, Tough love a hard sell, sets new standards of snarly gnarly rhetoric, as she reaches across the aisle to discuss with David Williamson just how compassionate conservatives really are.
Dame Slap really cares!
To get things going, she makes sure the terrain is carefully defined - any criticism of conservatives lacking compassion is based on lazy and crude logic. The real problem is the way the Left promote a monopoly on the stuff, and conservatives fail to articulate their compassion.
I guess the 'fuck you, greed is good', never mind about the financial meltdown recently articulated by Albrechtsen lacked a little finesse.
Ritually doffing her hat and her arguments to the wonderful John Howard and his wonderful policies, Albrechtsen promises to stay true to the core value of conservatives - namely rationality.
I guess that means Peter Costello's recent flirtation with fundie loon Christians (and John Howard before that) is just a sign of how prayer is a deeply rational form of thinking.
Albrechtsen proposes four filters when considering leftie compassion, so called - the motive filter, the intestinal fortitude filter, the brains filter and the fashion filter - and then demonstrates how hard it is for conservatives to think logically when it comes to matters of emotion.
Firstly the motive filter. She notes that under Howard activists made a big deal about the Howard government keeping children in detention centres. So did the activists have a point? No, because the Rudd government also keeps children in detention centres. "The new-found silence suggests they do not care much about detained migrants ..."
Okay logic time. So comrade Stalin keeps people in gulags, while father of the nation Hitler favors concentration camps. Is silence an indicator that their policies are admirable? Is the silence of communists about Stalin, and their rage against Hitler a piece of fair minded, rational thinking? Or should we rail against the commies, in Nationalist Socialist style, and stay silent about the concentration camps?
Is keeping children in detention centres indefinitely a good policy? Is there any ethical or social consideration here, or is all morality refracted through the looking glass of self-serving politics?
I look forward to Albrechtsen getting out on the street and protesting the cruel, inhumane detention policies of the Rudd government. Now that'd be active conservative compassion. (That's if you think life amounts to more than disguised political ploys, partisanship dressed up as nobility).
Albrechtsen doesn't say much about the fortitude filter, but maybe that's because it takes guts to sink the boot into the poor on a regular basis as dole bludging no goods and neer do wells, as opposed to the average derivatives trader's wonderful dedication to humanity. Whatever, appeasement, sucking up to that sniveling bunch of drongos after a quick and easy buck, is clearly something only Neville Chamberlain would do.
This brings on talk about the brains filter, and how important it is to apply to whingeing lefties, especially given their Howard hating ways and their attitude to indigenous Australians. Unlike conservatives, who've derided the very concept of stolen generations, and derided the notion that blacks have a hard time in this lucky country, and sent the lazy walkabout bludgers out to do a bit of hard yakka as a way to get their minds off petrol sniffing (not that compassionate conservatives are in any way inclined to stereotypes - see Noel Pearson, who also thinks blacks are a mob of sit down bludgers).
Compassion buffs, it seems, aren't very bright, which no doubt explains why the late breaking, hasty, cynical invasion of the Northern Territory has worked out so well.
Finally it's on to the fashion filter, and those silly rubber bracelets championing every cause under the sun, like that wretched David Hicks and his supporters. Albrechtsen amazingly allows 'legitimate criticisms' - who, what, where? - in relation to something somewhere at some time somehow remotely connected with Hicks, but then she quickly moves right along, because as we all know Abu Ghraib, rendition, torture and Guantanamo Bay turned out to be such jolly good policy wins for Bush and conservatives everywhere.
Yep, it's all good. Calls for compassion that fail the four policy filters - like blowing up Iraq to convert it to democracy - it seems will now be assigned to the scrap heap by the fair minded Albrechtsen.
Which might explain why she's happy in her arguments to revert to catch phrases deriding Howard-haters and bleeding hearts (you know, the kind who rabbit on about human rights, and anti-terror laws, as opposed to the government's right to lock up anyone anytime if they think they're terrorists, given the fine and noble job that Mick Keelty did with Dr Haneef).
But Albrechtsen really is fair, she really is. Margaret Thatcher made a mistake when she declared there was no such thing as society. There is a society, it seems, and a deep sense of care within it. Disability carers and foster parents are just two groups who deserve more help than they get. Sure, but let's hope that sense of care never extends to single mothers - those fornicating sluts deserve all they get, and should be sent off to a matchbox factory forthwith.
Then Albrechtsen gets down to what she probably thinks is the fundamental problem - conservatives need to do a much better job in the spin and hype department. Like it's all about spin and hype. For compassion you just need to tweak a really good wrong 'un Shane Warne style and bowl those stupid lefties out. Compassion, it seems, is best understood as a form of trickery.
Sounds good. Name a minority group, and I'll expose them for the phony, grasping, self serving conservative hating, bleeding heart leeches and blood suckers and assorted vampiric ghouls they are, pumping the healthy bodily fluids, the warm succulent juices of conservative compassion, out of the body politic ... What's that you say, I need to show I'm caring and sharing and not just abuse the shit out of wankers? Ah fuck it, it's just too hard.
Yeah, you bludging blacks and feminists and gays and weirdo hippies, and you deluded greenies who've burnt down Australia and should be hung from the nearest lamp-post, fact is religious conservatives in nuclear families are far more generous than you great pretenders, you bloody secular liberals and communists and pinkos and perverts. Nah nah.
You see it's okay for a Christian to give, but not a government. Not with my bloody taxes you don't. Piss off. I'm a caring compassionate conservative. You dumb fucker.
Dearie me, will somebody just send along a decent managerial class to run the country, and send these wretched hard core ideologues off to the ghettos where they might learn a thing or two about the real world.
The funny thing is, the sort of conservatism preached in the west - with its attitude to gays, blacks, women and those sort of losers - is actually not too far removed from the kind of intolerance of outsiders and 'others' preached by Islamic fundies on the other side. Ask an Islamic fundie and a Christian fundie about evolution, and they'll agree in spades.
Ask Janet Albrechtsen about compassion, and it sounds alright in theory. If it just didn't mean getting into bed with you bludging tossers and wankers and scumbugs.
Jeez, Janet, stay the way you are. All this caring compassionate crap is too hard, it's a real mind fuck. I might be mangling Henry Miller a bit, but didn't he say in the land of fuck, it's fuck or be fucked?
Just go on fucking over the fucked and don't bother rationalising it. Nobody expects conservatives to be compassionate. And nobody expects you to be rational. Now out with the cane. Dame Slap time!