I think the Sydney Morning Herald editorial on Kevin Rudd is spot on:
But Rudd’s exit provides a timely warning to the public for when it is next wooed by an everyman politician who seems too good to be true. As always in public life, all is not what it seems. …
Having starred in a stunning election victory, Rudd soon revealed himself, to colleagues then the public, as something less than he promised. In various guises he was the indecisive and revengeful anti-hero Hamlet, the egomaniac Coriolanus, the ambitious Macbeth, the gullible and jealous Othello, the rash Romeo and megalomaniac Julius Caesar.
We saw him refuse to accept advice, unable to manage people, often weak on delivery and, worst of all, lacking the courage of his convictions. The public, quite rightly, began to see through Rudd. When he backed down on strong action to tackle climate change, they wondered where he drew the line on principles versus politics.
Sensing weakness, his colleagues, themselves flawed by ambition, conspired with the evil Labor Party structure to force him from office.
As victim, the revengeful Rudd vented through sabotage and the undermining of Julia Gillard, thereby consigning Labor to a precarious hung parliament three years ago and, now, years in the wilderness. Through it all, Rudd has displayed self-delusion and narcissism of Learesque proportions. King Lear, like Rudd, allowed ambition to derail his better instincts, disconnect him for reality and leave a trail of destruction.
The damage Rudd wrought on Labor will take years to fix, although the task would have been greater had he not returned to the leadership for the September 7 election.
Labor’s relatively muted loss was testimony to his policy instincts, communication skills and lasting affinity with many Australians in all walks of life. Rudd also deserves credit for starting the difficult process to remake the Labor Party as a modern, democratic force.
King Kevin indeed. He did have incredible communication skills, and a lot of charisma. All of us have a number of psychological weaknesses, but Rudd’s were so massive that they over-ran all the good he did or tried to do.