Three years ago, Australia’s prime minister won re-election. The headline and lede from the New York Times read:
Australians Re-elect Howard as Prime Minister
Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, who went into the country’s election with a good-luck message from
President Bush, was decisively re-elected Saturday, according to official returns.
Today, the prime minister lost:
Bush Ally Defeated in Australia
Australia’s prime minister, John Howard, one of President Bush’s staunchest allies in Asia, suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the electorate on Saturday, as his Liberal Party-led coalition lost its majority in Parliament.
Siding with Bush is only important if you lose an election.
And in 2004, the New York Times made sure (in the third paragraph) that we all understood Howard’s re-election had nothing to do with support for the war in Iraq:
Iraq loomed in the background during the campaign, but Australian political analysts cautioned that the voting was not a referendum on the war. The main issue was the economy, and that is booming.
But in the third paragraph today’s article, the the Times goes ahead and connects the dots for its readers:
Mr. Howard’s defeat, after 11 years in power, follows that of Jose Maria Aznar of Spain, who also backed the United States-led invasion of Iraq, and political setbacks for Tony Blair of Britain.
So, when Howard won, it had nothing to do with Iraq. When he lost, it was the same Iraq war backlash felt by other world leaders who sided with Bush.
The New York Times is still awaiting the election results of Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroder.