Looking at the right’s response to the revelations about Key’s courting Crosby/Textor — and denying it — it’s obvious they just don’t understand what’s wrong with deliberately selling a completely false bill of goods to the voters, and why the left fear their dirty tricks.
Take Adam at the Inquring Mind, for example. He suspects that “what has the left frothing with paranoia is that Crosby Textor are successful.”
No, Adam, it’s not. It’s the extent to which C/T— or the campaigns that they are associated with — go in spreading misinformation and lies. And the utter contempt for the voters and the democratic process that it betrays.
Many of us on the left have vivid memories of the hate-filled 1975 election, when National introduced us to blatantly rascist and anti-communist fear-mongering. On Labour’s side, Bill Rowling — a man of great personal integrity and decency — and the unsuspecting crowd of old school politicians had no adequate response to something that they could not fathom.
The dancing cossaks and brown brawlers that National treated us — along with a little gerry-mandering of boundaries — brought us nine years of Muldoonism. We lost the chance to have a properly funded superannuation scheme, amongst other things. (And it’s still not clear where National got the funding for the hugely expensive cartoons from Hanna-Barbera.)
Hence the concerns that underlie the EFA. You only have to look as far back as 2005 if you want to see an example of a party trying to con its way into power with lies, secret agendas and loads of secret money with lots of strings attached.
While the social democratic parties of the Anglo-American world are far from pure, overwhelmingly it is the rightists who specialise in dirty politics. They are led by the Republican Party in the US. Since Nixon the Republicans have been pioneering the dirtiest, most unscrupulous campaigning techniques seen since, well, the McCarthy era. Now, which party in NZ has the links with the Republicans?
The left fear that National and its little ally gladly use appalling Rovian tactics and in doing so undermine the democratic process. This is not paranoia.
It’s not seven years since Howard rode his way back into power across the Tasman on a wave of fear fuelled by a lie about refugees throwing their babies overboard in order to blackmail their way into Australia.
And just who was responsible for the rumours about Ken Livingstone having three secret children and hiring Muslim extremists, that so benefited the C/T-advised Boris Johnson campaign this year?
It doesn’t matter whether it’s push-polling, swift-boating or furtive smearing with rumour conducted at nudge, wink, arms-length distance from the official campaign. The left doesn’t want it here.
[Postscript: I don’t intend to comment on yesterday’s veents in Parliament, except to say that this post might help to explain where the Left is coming from. Is attack the best form of defence?]