By the time the Prime Minister toured the flood regions last Wednesday - over a week into the crisis - he was playing catch-up. In fact, let's call it compound catch-up.
You see, "Scott" - as some prominent women now call him, given an unctuous tendency to refer to Julia (Banks), or Brittany (Higgins), or Grace (Tame) - was already pretty famous for sluggishness. Think bushfires, vaccines, and rapid tests - each of which confirmed a detached procedural air when a sense of emotional commitment was required.
At this late stage in the electoral cycle, the timing could scarcely be worse. In politico-strategic terms, the government should be at DEFCON 2 - a formal election campaign is imminent.
Every decision, every word, should be directed to burying old sins, not exhuming them.
Anything to stop voters revisiting "that" bushfire handshake, or recalling bitterly that mRNA procurement had not been "a race".
Little wonder Morrison kept reporters and cameras away from his first voter interactions last week.
Mind you, Morrison had been dead unlucky getting COVID, and thus being confined to quarters right when he needed to be out there in the thick of it.
One thinks of how it could have been. Remember Kevin Rudd in 2011, with the chinos rolled up, knee-deep in a burgeoning Brisbane River hoisting suitcases above his head to help clear a flooded house?
Yes it was a stage-managed TV appearance, but TV is a legitimate way of talking to voters - a lot of them, all at once. And in pictures. The "talking" done by Rudd's actions was unmistakeable. He was there, he knew about the mud, the destruction, and the stench first-hand. He was one of them. He got it.
Empathy amid the uncertain trauma of a major crisis is psychologically critical. It's a leadership instinct. Between Rudd and the then premier Anna Bligh, whose response was her finest hour, there was no shortage of either. Ditto John Howard after Port Arthur or the Bali bombings.
So given Morrison's comparatively chequered history, we might well ask, where was the government's plan B when the rain bomb hit and Morrison was isolating?
But before doing that, it let's dwell on plan A, which was to capitalise on the rosy economy and the worsening national security environment.
Obviously when the brains at the PMO sketched out their pre-election glide-path last spring, they hadn't factored in what former Howard minister Mal Brough used to refer to as potential "embuggerances".
[About here I'd love to cite Mike Tyson's observation that everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth, but I used it recently so, that's not possible.]
Anyway, embuggerance number one was actually visible in November, because the dangers of the emerging Omicron wave were being openly discussed by epidemiologists even before the first local infections showed up.
In raw political terms, its greater transmissibility alone raised the risks of governments state and federal evangelising a return to open commerce and unfettered school resumptions. Yet strangely, no adjustments to that rhetoric were thought wise even once the strategy started going sideways.
This led seamlessly to embuggerance number two, which was that the scale of infection quickly overwhelmed the time-consuming PCR testing sites. And when we say "overwhelmed", remember we mean overwhelmed with voters.
This caused the third embuggerance, which was that the required switch from PCR to self-administered rapid testing immediately foundered due to a critical supply shortages and ludicrous price-gouging.
Cue widespread dismay, frustration, and plummeting polls.
Still, Team Morrison must have consoled itself that nothing lasts forever, and memories of such SNAFUs would quickly fade once Omicron had peaked and the RAT supply was fixed.
Plan A could still work, right? Well, yes, especially because the worsening crisis on Ukraine's Russian border would reinforce in voters' minds that the world is a dangerous place, and we need a tough and resolute leader known for his strong borders to lead the country.
National security is a core strength for the Coalition, after all. Which is why Labor is giving the government no scope to credibly claim an ALP government would weaken our defences.
There's an enormous billboard being driven around Canberra in recent days, picturing Xi Jinping placing a vote for Labor in a ballot box and calling Anthony Albanese Beijing's preferred candidate.
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Ironically, though, it is the Coalition that China is boosting most, and Morrison - who now talks of an "arc of autocracy" - well knows it.
A khaki election is gathering pace, with defence spending on the up, nuclear submarines on pre-order, and their naval bases committed to. Well, pre-committed to, perhaps. Announcements aplenty; details, not so much.
But then comes the flood to remind voters that the clearest and more present danger comes from the altered climate, and from the government's inability to respond to disasters, either literally or politically.
All of which brings us to that plan B. Surely the answer to Morrison's enforced absence was to have the Treasurer on the ground in the flood zone, pronto? He's the man with the chequebook, after all.
Why didn't Josh Frydenberg take Morrison's place? Could it be that the Deputy Liberal leader and likely replacement for the top job was thought too likely to succeed where Morrison had failed?
Or is it that in this professionalised era of message discipline and lame follow-the-leader government, nobody even thought of deploying the more capable number two?
The most enduring governments have actually benefited from a degree of competitive tension between the PM and the treasurer - Hawke had Keating, and Howard had Costello.
Perhaps Frydenberg was simply unavailable, crafting a magic-bullet budget that will need to do an awful lot, and facing an existential contest in his own usually safe Liberal seat?
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