That's the way one wag treated the PM in Fairfax's rolling coverage of the Queensland debacle and the consequent fuss.
As a chicken!
Though as a reader kindly noted, the chicken looked pretty grumpy emerging from a Coptic church:
Kinda shifty and surly looking, with a touch of haunted, but as a result, if it isn't about leadership speculation, the pond isn't interested.
Happily, if you are interested in leadership speculation, that's all you can find.
Even in Murdoch la la land yesterday the header was provocative, if misleading:
They were quoting Nick Xenophon, but you'd never have guessed from the splash.
And then there were the comedians doing their bit for electronic graffiti:
And then there came the reptiles:
And what a stirring there was in the nest of the reptiles of Oz:
Oh there were all sorts of fingers in the pie, gravely talking of warnings, like the desiccated coconut who had enthusiastically endorsed the whole agenda:
Et tu Henry? But what about the asset sales, and the leasing, you goose?
And behind him tramped the usual rabble with signs, and portents and warnings:
There were a few who held out hope, or offered signs of support, and naturally the PM's Singapore man, his bro, his bromance brother, was front and centre:
Oh fan the flickering flame boys, flame the flickering flim flam man ...
But as always the best comedy line came from the Oz editorial:
Roll that one around on the tip of the tongue.
Savour it on the back palate, let it infuse the entire mouth:
We must not yield to the lethal power of negative politics.
The pond contends that this is the finest line the editorialist has ever come up with.
Though perhaps this concluding line is even more richly comical:
When renegade conservatives like Clive Palmer and shock-jock Alan Jones join with Labor to run a populist campaign against a reforming government, Labor benefits. Mr Shorten could also ride a wave of populist opposition into government next year. But Australia cannot afford to succumb to the destructive force of negative politics.
Shocking, as opposed to the sophisticated, nuanced and sbutle insights of the Murdochian press:
Populist? Moi? Negative? Moi? Never, just a jolly jape amongst chums ...
As always, the Oz editorialist made for some fine reading, with some tears, and tearing of sackcloth, and wild distribution of ashes:
Yes, never mind the steep learning curve Newman embarked on, determined to alienate as many areas of Queensland society as he could manage in a single term.
But on with the lamenting:
Oh the lost opportunities, the failures and the flops, and never mind the rosy-tinted spectacles the cheer leading reptiles, high on the kool aid, had offered for as long as possible, and are still trotting out when space allows.
What do do?
When in doubt repeat the three word slogans, and bemoan a few weak spots:
The Prime Minister is right that voters want competent government and that elections are not a personality contest. The problem is that in the eyes of many voters, his government has not always been competent. It has, since late 2013, been unpopular. It is encouraging that Mr Abbott said he is determined not to become “another weak government” and conceded there were lessons to be learnt from the Queensland election. The Abbott government has achievements such as stopping boats of refugees undertaking dangerous journeys to Australia to seek asylum. It has repealed the carbon and mining taxes. It has successfully concluded free trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea. But there are nagging doubts about the Prime Minister’s judgment. The strange decision to award a knighthood to Prince Philip destroyed any hope Mr Newman could cling to government. It was an indulgence that underscored Mr Abbott’s blind spot when it comes to the monarchy. It damaged the conservative brand, disrupted the Queensland election campaign and took the focus off Labor’s lack of policy credibility.
In a final par, the reptile editorialist translates the woes of Abbott and Newman into an Australian wide disaster, when it might be suggested it's simply a disaster for the reptiles and other assorted cheerleaders, and for the motley tribe currently in power.
But no, a disaster for American citizen Rupert is automatically a disaster for Australia.
Over in Fairfax land, the news was much the same:
Et tu Hartcher? After the years of hope?
But the pond's favourite moment - since it's the krazed kommentariat that forms the pond's beat - came with Paul "magic water man" Sheehan wringing his hands, and keening and moaning:
A few highlights.
It takes singular skill to point out that the carnage is all the fault of the public, and absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the leadership on offer:
Now the public, according to the polls, wants a fifth prime minister removed in seven-and-a-half years, and an 11th major leadership change in 11 years.
If the past is prelude, Prime Minister Abbott is going to be engulfed by the churn. His polling numbers are as bad as any leader's since polling started. He was expressly asked not to appear during both the Victorian and Queensland elections, while the Leader of the Opposition was ubiquitous.
His conduct before the Queensland election was obtuse in the extreme. Exit polling in Queensland found Abbott was a factor in the disintegration of support for Premier Campbell Newman and his government. It was confirmed to me by a Liberal strategist that this election was not simply a parochial result. It was a violent electoral swing, with Abbott's unpopularity in the mix.
Gone are the days when a party would stick by its leader as Labor stuck by Arthur Calwell from 1960 to 1967, until he had lost three elections (1961, 1963 and 1966) and turned 70.
Arthur Calwell! Yep, gone are the days of stupid, but not gone are the days of stupid commentators somehow seeing something noble in obdurate stupidity ...
It is of course all the fault of social media:
On a deeper level, the carnage is a sign of our intense immersion in social media, giving society a collective attention deficit disorder. Everything is faster now.
Yes, it's all too fast for the old man - waiter, some magic water, quick - and if you pay attention to the Abbott follies, why you're suffering from a collective attention deficit disorder.
But the finest flourish came at the end, with this hysterical introduction of Christians and lions into the discussion:
And the people are leaning into the amphitheatre and giving Abbott the thumb's down. Death.
Death? Retiring on a handsome parliamentary super scheme to don your lycra and ride your bicycle and write columns and otherwise turn into a pesky gadfly is death?
But that's the way Sheehan sees it. Democracy as a kind of lynch mob. And hapless Tony Abbott is going to be engulfed by the mindless lynch mob churn. Never mind if Abbott's been beyond obtuse, it's all the fault of the mugs gathered around the Furphy water wagon.
But do go on:
We are seeing a culling of leaders in an incessant and carnivorous news cycle that is chewing up people who took a path to public office that is much harder and more dangerous than carping from the sidelines. Newman, a former Army major, went into battle with big policies and acted on them. He didn't seek to be parachuted into a safe seat. He died in electoral battle honourably and he departed honourably. "This is the end of my political career", he said on election night. In his TV appearances on Sunday he even seemed relieved. I don't blame him.
Yes, yes, indeed, and many readers will remember Paul Sheehan's immensely sympathetic enconiums, tributes and warm glowing praise for Julia Gillard on her retirement.
The pond can't seem to locate them right now, and some might claim that Sheehan, during the Rudd and Gillard years carried on like a necromancing doomsayer, delivering all sorts of bile in the most bilious way imaginable ...
You can read the rest of Sheehan here if you're tired of hitting your head with a hammer ... and if you want carping from the sidelines and a relentless inability to see beyond a goose mourning an honourable electoral warrior, after having spent years slipping verbal swords into the backs of other electoral warriors.
Sheehan, in his writing, has all the grace and dimensionality of a Manly or a Collingwood supporter.
Schadenfreude ... it's so hard to escape its gravitational pull.
But enough. Time for the pond to steal away into the day, and leave the mourners to their bewilderment, and their collective mourning and the sackcloth and the ashes ...
Soon enough there will be a speech to pour over, offering entrails, runes and tea leaves, and a question time too, as if in one hour, anyone could turn around what has been building for years, and will go on imploding until the next election.
There's just time to note David Rowe celebrating Tony Abbott's press club speech, as if one speech could make or break what has long been broken, with a nicely grotesque image (and more Rowe here).
Strangely it seems to involve the nattering negativity which so upset the reptiles: