Cynicism - pure and simple.
In today's Australian, it's Canberra commentator concludes: "for the government ... the real political damage is just having the issue back at the top of the television news".
While the SMH reports that in a US cable "an unnamed "key Liberal Party strategist'' told US diplomats in November last year that the issue of asylum seekers was ''fantastic'' for the Coalition and ''the more boats that come the better''.
Politics is a great sport enjoyed by a tiny percentage of Australians.
Like the audiences on the ABC's QandA program, they (mostly) cheer their side and boo their opponents.
Many of these enthusiasts seem to value the horse race journalism of the sort that Shanahan specialises in, where every issue is judged on which party or politician will benefit or lose the most.
And the smart cynicism of the unnamed liberal strategist chills their spine with admiration for its audacity. Just as the clever advertising insiders do on the Gruen Transfer. Such clever people.
Not asylum seekers, not illegal refugees. Just people like you and me.