This government is quaking in its RM Williams and has succeeded in emasculating the Treasurer. The crisis in debt and deficit, which the Coalition argued only it could fix in government, has been suffocated.
Abbott should know voters have long memories. They neither like being mugged nor being treated like mugs. They know the difference in approach from last year to this had more to do with his fate than theirs, his fragility rather than theirs, more to do with saving his own backside rather than any burning desire to pad theirs.
The people he and Hockey are urging to have a go know full well when politicians are having a lend and this time they will not be taken for granted.
If this budget does become the launch pad for an early election — and Abbott did nothing to dispel speculation about it yesterday — it would be a massive misreading of the mood of the electorate.
The electorate knows that this government will, if re-elected return to their ideology of hurting the less well off in favour of their mates, they just can't get their heads around the fact that levelling the playing field a little would solve all their problems.