Perhaps it's not Tony Abbott. Maybe it wasn't Julia Gillard, or Kevin Rudd. It might not even have been Mark Latham. (Spoiler, it was totally Mark Latham).
But Latham aside, the pity and madness of modern politics might not be the singular fault of a bizarre onion-eating Paleo-reactionary like Abbott, or a narcissistic personality disorder in search of ego validation… paging, well, pretty much all of them.
The pity and madness of modern politics might just be how we do politics now. It was not always thus.