Conservatives win by a landslide in Australia
It's difficult to connect election results in Australia with the political climate in America; different countries, different issues, different problems, different political personalities. All of these factor into a voter's decision in both countries so it would be somewhat futile to try and draw parallels.
But then, what fun would we pundits have if we paid much attention to reality?
"A short time again I telephoned Tony Abbott to concede defeat at this national election," Rudd said at a party meeting in Brisbane.
"As prime minister of Australia, I wish him well in the high office of prime minister of this country."
According to a Sky News/Newspoll survey, Liberal leader Abbott is on course to win a large majority as voters swing away in large numbers from the ruling Labor party.
Rudd was conciliatory in his speech and accepted his share of blame. "Tonight is the time to unite in the great Australian nation," he said. "Because whatever our politics may be, we are all first and foremost Australian."
In his speech he accepted he was to blame for the defeat. "I know that Labor hearts are heavy across the nation tonight. And as your prime minister and as your parliamentary leader of the great Australian Labor party, I accept responsibility. I gave it my all, but it was not enough for us to win. I'm proud that despite all the profits of doom, that we have preserved our federal parliamentary labor party as a viable fighting force for the future."
The win ends Labor's six years in power, under Rudd and Julia Gillard who deposed each other in successive leadership challenges.
Before the vote, commentators said the Australian electorate had tired of the revolving door of Labor leaders, and were looking for change. "Rudd's had his turn," one voter told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Actually, there are, indeed, broad lessons that can be drawn from the landslide victory. First, the winner, Liberal party leader Tony Abbott, ran on cutting the budget and is opposed to same sex marriage. As befitting Australia's social democracy, he is also proposing a maternity leave program that would cost the government $5 billion a year.
Also, Australia is experiencing a growing asylum-seeker crisis and the way that Abbott wants to deal with it is drawing a chorus of criticism from liberals. Offshore processing centers are controversial because of the conditions experienced by refugees and the legal limbo many refugees end up being subjected to. It's a bad problem with no good solution and Abbott sees only minor changes being necessary.
Australia is not as socially conservative as America but it's not France either. Any Democrat who wants to run by accusing a Republican nominee of bigotry for opposing same sex marriage should perhaps study Mr. Rudd's campaign in Austalia and see how well it worked out for him.