The ends of Howard and Costello?


Observers typically claim that a political leader succeeded or failed because he (less often she) was charismatic, strong, principled, arrogant, ideological, popular, in touch with the people, or an out and out bastard. Such judgments usually ignore the more interesting dilemma of how leaders must be all of those things at different times, carefully managing public perceptions of their character as they go. After the Coalition’s crushing loss in 2007, what sense can we make of Howard and Costello as political characters?

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