According to the website of Mark Latham’s book of quotations A Conga Line of Suckholes:
Mark Latham was the Federal Member for Werriwa from 1994 to 2005. He was Leader of the Labor Party between 2003 and 2005. Mark Latham is the author of The Latham Diaries and five other books on Australian public policy, including Civilising Global Capital and From the Suburbs. He lives in the outer suburbs of Sydney with his wife and two children.
But if you don’t know that you’re unlikely to be interested in this eccentric collection. Virtually all the good quotes (with the exception of a few from Menzies, Whitlam and Keating) and many more besides can be found in international collections like Antony Jay’s Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations. The main interest in Conga Line is what it says about its author.
Latham’s old obsession with a fellow deeply flawed and complex politician, Richard Nixon, is on full display. In 223 pages there are 37 quotes by or about Nixon, a dozen more than Jay fits into 400 pages. Curiously, several of the Nixon quotes are about his extraordinary durability in the face of large setbacks. You can’t imagine Nixon voluntarily chucking it all in the way Latham did in January 2005 (though they both turned to book writing to fill in their retirement years).
Another theme that comes up more than once is not letting your enemies get the better of you. One, from Barry Humphries, is on the back cover: ‘Don’t let your enemies dwell rent-free in your head’. And then, under ‘Hatred’, another Nixonism: ‘Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.’ It’s sound advice, in itself, but not actually the wisdom a pyromaniacal bridge burner like Latham needed to read most, which would be to forgive a little more, so that you don’t end need to avoid enemies living in your head. I’m sure I was not the only person who found this part of Latham’s appearance on Andrew Denton’s interview show sad and misguided: