Rooting Pig Caught in Ngaio: PM Safe

Farrar’s wistful “How did he think he could get away with it?” post this morning on John Edwards’ downfall put me in mind of NZ’s highest-profile philanderer and the “Double Standard” campaign of the early 1980s.

NZ’s media organisations of the day carefully avoided all mention of the scandals that those in the know joked about almost daily. There were the jokes about the “NZ Stud Book” and “tarmac”, the latter so named because she worked for Air NZ and ensured that the PM always had a soft landing when he came to Wellington.

Then posters in the form of newspaper boards mysteriously started appearing around Wellington, drawing on the widespread knowledge of the secrets that the fourth estate was assiduously protecting.

After a wild boar, which had been sighted on Thorndon Hill was caught, we were treated to “Rooting Pig caught in Ngaio, PM safe” (thanks to DPF for the correct wording). On another occasion the memorable, “PM’s pen is mightier than sword” (with little in the way of a gap between the second and third words). And so on. Can anyone remember the others?

Oh, the point of this post? I have no answer to Farrar’s question. Edwards, Clinton et al. are formidably bright, and all had so much to lose from taking such a silly risk. After New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer’s recent debacle some of the better informed analysis suggested that such men believe themselves invincible. Perhaps the awful downside exaggerates the thrill of it all.

One thing I can say is that the media are not, as Redbaiter suggests on kiwiblog, prone to covering up only left-wing politicians’ lapses. If you are not convinced of this, just start reading this post again, from the top.

[Postscript: Although the identities of the Double Standard crew were a closely guarded secret, I was eventually told by a normally reliable source that a well-known humourist was involved. I look forward to reading one day the truth of this, when the person in question publishes their memoirs.]

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5 Responses to “Rooting Pig Caught in Ngaio: PM Safe”

  1. Fairfacts Media Says:

    It is a delightful story JafaPete, but Muldoon was over 20 years ago.
    Let us think about the issue of today.
    What are the media hiding from us in 2008?
    Despite my post on Saturday, yes, you could be right.
    The media might be hiding a scandal to protect the right, as we speak now.
    But recent evidence, with the Edwards being a prime example, suggests the left are given better treatment.
    There has been much said about when a Republican has his pants down he is a Republican politician, but when a Dem does it, he is just a senator from wherever, etc.
    But the Muldoon story is delicious.
    Mind you, I have heard tales about Dear Leader from other journos.
    But we need not repeat those as they are well known enough already.

  2. jafapete Says:

    Thanks Fairfacts. I looked at your Saturday posts, but couldn’t tell which is the pertinent one. Perhaps I’m not in the know anymore…

    Oh, and congratulations on getting another notch in your kiwiblog right belt banned from The Standard. Persistence pays off!

  3. Inventory2 Says:

    Now now JP – no needs to get snarky!

    But thanks for the memories – the Old Tusker eh – who’d have thought that he would have been, in the modern vernacular, a chick-magnet. And speaking of Muldoon, what’s with this line that Helen Clark is peddling about the “gin-and-schnapps” election of 1984? She mentioned it in the House last week, and again on Breakfast this morning. It almost sounds like something out of the C/T playbook!!

    My fave Muldoon story was that of a young Don McKinnon being sent down to the basement on the night the snap election was called to let down the tyres of Muldoon’s car so he couldn’t drive home that night. By all reports, he was as “diabetic as a newt”!!

  4. Stephen Says:

    Hilarious story, i’m sure there are more from those delightful times…

    As for:

    “There has been much said about when a Republican has his pants down he is a Republican politician, but when a Dem does it, he is just a senator from wherever, etc.”

    Steve’s theory: The Republican gets elected on the basis of a lot of moralising, thus it’s pretty damn relevant that he’s a Republican. Democrat gets elected with token American moralising, but more so on the basis of ‘class’ issues, so the focus is not so much on his politics. By some accounts those voting for the Republican are the ‘values voters’ who “bizarrely” vote against their own economic interests, but value conservative ‘god, guns and gays’ policy most.

  5. toad Says:

    My favourite was the Tom Scott cartoon the day after Muldoon called the snap election.

    A very seedy looking Sir Robert was lying in bed, Thea was bringing him his morning cup of coffee, as Sir Robert asks “You don’t recall me saying anything about a snap election last night, do you?”

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