Expediency spelt his exit
If you act like a NSW Labor premier, you get treated like one. In the end Kevin Rudd came to be perceived by the electorate as concerned only with spin, media management and the next day's headlines.
Whatever policy beliefs he had, he was willing to sacrifice to political expediency. This is exactly how voters in NSW have come to regard their last couple of premiers.
And when the popularity of those premiers collapsed, they were dispatched with ruthless efficiency by the Labor Party machine.
Pretty much the same thing happened to Rudd yesterday. Probably the only difference is that NSW Labor MPs had more sympathy for Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees than federal Labor MPs had for Rudd.
It's ironic that a political party founded on the male mateship of the union movement so often turns to women to fix its problems.
Recently there have been Anna Bligh, Kristina Keneally and now, of course, Julia Gillard. Before that there was Carmen Lawrence and Joan Kirner. The women who have been premiers have all come from the ALP.
Much of the analysis of what's happened this week will focus on the fact that much of Rudd's political failure was self-inflicted. And indeed it was. For example, he has only himself to blame for the exaggerated and moralistic language he was so fond of.
However, Tony Abbott shouldn't be forgotten in all of this. Abbott has now brought down two leaders. One of those was from his own party.
And there's one thing Turnbull and Rudd's downfall have in common. It is the emissions trading scheme. Last year Turnbull was overthrown by his Liberal colleagues because he supported the immediate introduction of an ETS. Yesterday Rudd was overthrown by his Labor colleagues because he did not support the immediate introduction of an ETS.
The ETS won't go away and the way Gillard danced around the issue at her press conference after she won the leadership demonstrates she knows just how difficult the issue is.
Her form of which stressed the need for community consensus on climate change action is a recipe for delay. If anything, community consensus on the need for an ETS is declining, not increasing.
With Gillard as Prime Minister, Abbott's job has become harder. That's certainly what the bookies think too. The odds of a Coalition victory substantially lengthened yesterday morning.
Gillard is a better politician than Rudd and she's not going to make the same women mistakes he did. The proof of this was clear to see at her press conference yesterday.
She was brazen enough to say that the government would stop its taxpayer-funded advertising in favour of the resources tax on condition that the resources industry stopped its own advertising. And BHP Billiton took only a few minutes to comply.
Some might call it intimidation. Others might call it just clever politics. Whatever it is, Rudd didn't do it and Gillard did.
Gillard will also realise that cabinet is there for a reason. If Rudd had ventured to consult cabinet about the mining tax he would have been told in no uncertain terms that it would never work - either practically or politically.
Rudd presented his policy decisions to cabinet as a fait accompli and, of course, it eventuated that the resource tax was far -very far -from the fait accompli Rudd thought it was.
Until yesterday the contours of the federal election campaign were forming in a bizarre way. Rudd thought he could win by saying he wasn't Abbott. Meanwhile Abbott thought he could win by saying he wasn't Rudd.
Each leader's campaign was based around what they were not going to do. Rudd promised a vote for Labor was a vote to stop Work Choices coming back. Meanwhile Abbott promised a vote for the Coalition was to stop the resource super profits tax. We never got to find out what Rudd's second-term agenda was going to be.
One half of that equation has now changed. Gillard can still claim she's no Abbott, but Abbott can't claim the same thing about Rudd. Gillard is popular, Rudd wasn't. Popularity allows politicians to cover a multitude sins.
The Coalition's small-target strategy (or, more precisely, its no-target strategy) worked against Rudd because his government was imploding. A similar strategy might not work against the new Prime Minister.