But what is the question?
So, if you asked any leader, "all in favour of national security?", don't you think the ayes would have it every time? Every where? He then spends the rest of a very long column poking the ayes out of anyone who objects to an unqualified endorsement of a "whatever it takes" approach to national security matters.
Those members of the public in favour of national security (and who isn't) must fall in line behind the country's leaders, because they are all clamouring over everyone to be at the front of this pack. "It's not only that the electorate demands security; if the worst eventuates, politicians do not want to be accused of having failed to act when something might have been done to thwart a terrorist attack.... It's about being in touch with the electorate, as most successful politicians are. The same cannot be said of many members of the intelligentsia."
"Sure, there is opposition among large section of the intelligentsia to the national security stance of both Howard and Beazley. Yet these politicians' slightly different positions are popular within the Australian electorate - which helps explain why the Labor leaders will possibly be inclined to give broad support to the Prime Minister in Canberra today."
And that is it in a nutshell. If you can scare enough nuts to shell out their votes to get you into office, it doesn't really matter if the issue passes muster with the folks who think about these matters -- the intelligentsia. To hell with them. Its the majority vote that counts. Has anyone stopped to consider, with due respect to my fellow and loved countrymen and women, that half of the population has an intelligence level that is less than average, and that it only takes those folks plus one to make a majority?
The really critical point of Henderson's appraisal is that at no point does he suggest that the intelligensia is wrong in its analysis. They are only wrong in their judgment of popular politics. And how stupid of them is that?