Dirty politics: A response

Terrific responses to my ‘What we fear from the Right’ blog. However, I haven’t been able to get back to it until now. I’ve been away in Turangi for a couple of days, doing a little trout fishing (but someone forgot to tell the trout — or maybe they did), walking, and enjoying the hotpools and Taupo.

The first thing I should make clear is that the blog was intended to explain. If you want to understand how a lot of lefties see what’s going on, then this is how many of us see the issue of integrity in political behaviour.

The blog wasn’t intended as an excuse for last week’s behaviour in Parliament. I’m not sure whether the approach adopted last week was wise. (Parliamentary tactics used to be decided by a small group of the inner circle who meet every morning when Parliament’s sitting. But I don’t know for sure that that’s still the case.)

So yes, the examples I used in the blog do show my age, but this is the experience of many of those making decisions in the Labour government today. I could have mentioned much more — Muldoon revealing in Parliament that Colin Moyle confronted undercover police posing as prostitutes, thus destroying his career, for example. These were our formative years, and this experience shapes our thinking and our responses. The Moyle affair in particular was salutory.

Does the left do this stuff? Not nearly to the same extent in my view. I’m surprised to hear Clark refuse to rule out pushpolling, but I’d be absolutely gobsmacked if Labour were ever found to use pushpolling to spread a total lie.

Swiftboating? Again, no.

The attempts to confuse a part of the US electorate into thinking that Obama is a Muslim, and that he attended a radical Islamist school in Indonesia, are not based on any belief that there is something about Obama that more people should know about. They are cynical attempts to smear using total lies which the perpetrators must know to be false. The attempts last week to show that Key had a conflict of interest, and the attempts to show Key up as shallow and prevaricating were and are undoubtedly based on genuine beliefs about Key.

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12 Responses to “Dirty politics: A response”

  1. MacDoctor Says:

    JP: … are undoubtedly based on genuine beliefs about Key.

    Clearly these are genuinely wrong beliefs about Key.

    Certainly the conflict of interest ploy was patently a nasty attempt to divert National’s attention away from difficult questions like cost/benefit analysis of Kiwirail and how much was actually paid (consider the timing of the accusations – on the day of purchase of Kiwirail).

    I now pronounce the “Key is shallow and prevaricating” meme as tiresome. He is the leader of an opposition with a 20 point lead. He is not going to sacrifice that lead by prematurely announcing policies, allowing Labour to steal the bits they like and castigate the bits they don’t. No amount of name-calling and using the “slippery” label will get him to do this. No opposition leader on earth would do so in his position.

    Labour’s caustic personal attacks on Key are increasingly playing into his hands, making them look mean-spirited and tired – exactly what Key wants. If Labour want an icicle in hells chance of winning this election, they need to take some medication for their Key derangement syndrome and start producing some policies with vision.

    I’m not holding my breath…

  2. barnsleybill Says:

    Good morning JP.
    You mention that you would be “gobsmacked” if labour were ever to use pushpolling to spread a total lie. Are there degrees of lying? Little lies, medium lies and big bad lies.. Morality should not be measured on a sliding scale.
    For instance; the housing corp eviction letters last time. Where would you put that on your degrees of acceptable lying O meter?

    Clark’s stumbling efforts to smear Key last week were sad to watch. She never used to make mistakes like this. I mean, she has always indulged in this personal attack shit but at least the research used to be correct to back up her assertions. This time she cocked up and her legendary skills have completely left her because she is still talking about it this week. You were wrong, move on.
    Bill, You may well be right about last week’s attacks. Perhaps she should find some new advisers.

  3. MacDoctor Says:

    A lovely illustration today of why National is keeping its cards close to its chest. They release a policy outline for broadcasting which is, quite frankly, very uninteresting. Clark screams “an assault on public broadcasting” (the sky is falling, the skyyyyyyyy is falllllling!) Cue Mallard – it’s “a trojan horse for privatisation.” (Evil. it’s Eeeeeeeevil!)

    Puleeeeeeease! It’s just broadcasting, for goodness sake! Hardly Armageddon stuff, is it?

    Notice how, having been deprived of the privatisation message by Key, Labour are now into “privatisation by stealth” as their constant spin.

  4. ric Says:

    Dear Sir

    I act for Lynton Crosby.

    You falsely assert “I’d be absolutely gobsmacked if Labour were ever found to use pushpolling to spread a total lie, as has been the case with Lynton Crosby…”

    You appear to rely on an article from the Guardian as your evidence that Mr Crosby was involved in pushpolling. That claim is false. Mr Crosby’s predecessor Andrew Robb was the Liberal Party representative who was sued by Sue Robinson. My understanding is that Mr Robb denies that there was pushpolling in any event.

    Please withdraw the defamatory matter and post an appropriate apology.

    Ric Lucas
    Colquhoun Murphy Solicitors

  5. barnsleybill Says:

    Well… That is a first. Never seen a lawyer commenting (without a nom de blog anyway).
    Interesting that CT are watching the blogs.
    Might I suggest you have a look at a few of the other left wing blogs Mr Lucas.
    This particular blog is atypical of the normal left wing fare. Not too much frothing and bullshitting on here.
    You will find some tasty morsels to act upon at the Standard. Sit down first though, and don’t bother rushing to the porsche dealership on anticipation of a massive fee. It is unlikely that any of the posters there have twopence to their names.

  6. barnsleybill Says:

    Oh, andJP. The adviser situation has gone too far to fix things I would say. It shows a failure by Clark to renew and a failure of advice.
    I mentioned somewhere else that a complete destruction of labour would not be good for any of us. I much prefer a knife edge balance. It keeps the extreme ends in check.

  7. poneke Says:

    I could have mentioned much more — Muldoon outing Colin Moyle in Parliament and destroying his career, for example.

    Are you actually saying that Moyle was gay? That has never been said by anyone who supported him, as far as I know, and he denied it at the time.

    I suppose that if the victim of an outing attempt denies, and it is never conclusively demonstrated that the person is gay, then they have not been truly “outed”. So, have changed accordingly. And I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused anyone by any inferences that may have been taken…

  8. AndrewE Says:

    You are making me smile today JP.

  9. poneke Says:

    Muldoon revealing in Parliament that Colin Moyle confronted undercover police posing as prostitutes, thus destroying his career,

    That is just hilarious! Revisionism at its, um, finest, I think…

  10. unaha-closp Says:

    “If you want to understand how a lot of lefties see what’s going on, then this is how many of us see the issue of integrity in political behaviour.”

    We already know – Labour good integrity, National bad integrity.

  11. jafapete Says:

    unaha: I thought that my post was a little more nuanced than that. For example: “I’m not sure whether the approach adopted last week was wise.” You can read that as, “Last week’s antics were stupid and self-defeating” and you’d be right, but I leave the more forthright criticism to the right-wing bloggers.

    The crux of my argument is summed up in, “Does the left do this stuff? Not nearly to the same extent in my view.” Neither side has a complete purchase on integrity, but we may distinguish their behaviour — it’s all a matter of degree.

  12. David Baigent Says:

    Peter Farr, your quote ….”— it’s all a matter of degree.”

    Should read .. — it’s a matter of perception.

    David, Well, if some people will equate dog whistling racists and push-polling total lies with raising questions about conflicts of interest, then you might be correct. I don’t even know Peter Farr. But thanks for commenting and feel welcome to do so again.

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