ANGELA RANKE: So I’ve been invited to go barefoot bowling with Kevin Rudd, or KRudd as he prefers to call himself. A letter came in the mail the other day, addressed to me personally:
“Dear Angela,” it begins, yep we’re on first name basis me and the KRudd.
“Politics can be a little boring. But it doesn’t have to be.
“So before the pressures of work and study set upon us for the year, I’m inviting young people like you from across the southside to kick of your shoes and join me for a game of barefoot bowls.”
Now, as excited as I was to be assured I was still a “young person”, I couldn’t help but find this invitation mildly humorous and slightly ridiculous.
I can just imagine it. There we’d be, all these hip Gen Yers at the local bowls club because duh, where else would we want to be than at the local with the old timers on a Friday afternoon – when former Prime Minister himself would rock us with his presence.
The hordes of fans under the age of 30 would cheer all the while tweeting and posting pics to Facebook.
The thing is, this scenario is probably not far off reality. Rudd has always had a big following among “young people” as we’re known.
It started in 2007 when he swept to power with the mantra “it’s time for change” and he’s built on it ever since.
With each passing year the F-bomb Federal Member for Griffith has further cemented himself as the hip, tech-savvy pollie not afraid to show his softer side.
Every aspect of Rudd’s political persona is geared towards projecting this image, whether he’s tweeting about being a Grandad or posting on Facebook to his legion of fans.
His appeal has spread further afield to the US, where just last month he was invited to Skype with students at Virginia Tech University.
Most pollies wouldn’t know what Skype is, let alone know how to use it.
And while Rudd’s media stunts can come across as ridiculous at times (cue last week’s chin-up routine), he clearly knows what he’s doing.
No other politician enjoys the level of exposure he does or the level of recognition, even if it’s not all favourable.
That star power may come in handy after the chips start to fall following September’s Federal election.