- Date published:
11:40 am, October 27th, 2011 - 37 comments
Categories: accountability, campaigning, election 2011, john key, labour, leadership, national, phil goff, privatisation - Tags:
It’s not surprising that National are trying to run a presidential, personality based election campaign – after all, their policies aren’t going to win many votes from those middle and lower income kiwis who understand them. And up till now, presidentialism has worked very well for National. But it’s also starting to become apparent to many that John Key is actually a bit of a dick.
Honestly, if I was pinning my hopes of re-election on John Key’s personality, I’d be a bit worried because Key has consistently failed to project any desirable personality when the pressure for a good performance has been on. He comes across as either weak or a dufus. Letterman, the catwalk prime mincer, the Rubber Wool Cup trotie, the pulweez can I haz handshakes – dufus. The economy, the credit downgrades, Christchurch, Pike River, Rena – weak. Weak is fatal, dufus is sort of funny to some for a while, but eventually everyone wants a strong competent leader. Yet it’s the PR screw-ups that are becoming the popular culture characterizations of Key. They are no longer just the views of the political cognoscenti but are instead becoming widely held perceptions among those mainstream apolitical kiwis that had formerly believed John Key was a ‘nice bloke’.
True the mainstream view of Goff is that he’s dry and lacking in any of Key’s personality, but then unlike National, Labour can afford to focus on its policy and showcase its whole team of candidates. Right now, as the horizons continue to darken, I think kiwis are developing a real taste for clear plans and plausible policies over style and no substance. So far Labour’s policy based campaign has been very shrewd for highlighting the utter vacuity of National’s campaign of ‘vote John Key cause he’s a neat guy’. Trouble is, Key’s clearly not much chop at pretending he is a neat guy.
Key’s teflon is well and truly chipping and his personality performances don’t seem to improve when he’s put on the spot. But Key’s all that National have got to attract vote so he’ll need to excel over the coming weeks. So no wonder the right are starting to panic. The RWC final reminded them victory is never assured, no matter how ‘invincible’ one side might seem to be or how hopeless the opposition might appear. It also reminded them their one trick pony is prone to choking when he’s needed most.