Key Muldoon

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, June 7th, 2013 - 45 comments
Categories: john key - Tags: ,

John Key morphing to muldoonSo the fuss about Russel Norman comparing John Key to Robert Muldoon is still rumbling on – almost a week later. National Party spinster David Farrar helpfully rounded up all the outraged editorials. Typically hypocritical of Farrar given the various times he compared Clark to Muldoon, as Andrew Geddis patiently lists here.

I’m with those who think that the comparison is warranted. Not in terms of up-front personality – Key is much more slick and cunning.  But Key is a big fan of Muldoon (see below), and his list of personal attacks and constitutional shenanigans has already grown more than long enough to challenge the old master. Read the post by Geddis for why those who are acting all outraged have a bad case of “doth protest too much”.

Anyway, not wanting to steal Russel’s thunder or anything, but I feel I should point out that when it comes to comparing Key and Muldoon, The Standard was way ahead of you. Like, six years ahead of you – the post reproduced below the line is from Tane in 2007. Interesting to note how much Key admires Muldoon…


John, I am your father

There’s been a bit of excitement round the traps today over this picture from Stuff.co.nz, which tries to merge Helen Clark’s face into Rob Muldoon’s.

Naturally, National Party blogger David Farrar has been wallowing like a pig in shit over Mike Moore’s comments in the Herald comparing the two, and he seems to think the Stuff image proves his point.

Personally, I think this one’s a much better fit:

keymuldoon-70.jpg

After all, if we’re going to compare anyone to Muldoon then we may as well start with someone who’s actually expressed his admiration for the guy:

CAMPBELL: What did you think of Muldoon?

KEY: Well I liked him, um…

CAMPBELL: Why?

KEY: Oh well he was a pretty strong leader and at the time it seemed good ah I think you could look back economically now and say um things necessarily weren’t that flash, ah, but at the time I liked his leadership and he, yeah, he seemed like a strong individual.

And is it just me, or is it kinda creepy how even the wrinkles on their foreheads match up?

45 comments on “Key Muldoon”

  1. Ted 1

    Remove JK’s toupee and the match would be even closer…

  2. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2

    Clark was more like Muldoon than anyone we’ve had since. That sneer. That chuckle. That swag.

    • Enough is Enough 2.1

      That competence, that unprecedented popularity, that dedication to all New Zealanders (the many not the few), that brilliant legacy…

      Ohh hang on that is all Clark and defineitley not Muldoon or Key.

      Imagine if Helen stood next year. Labour would win in an actual landslide

    • Anne 2.2

      These gormless right wing fools do like to create images in their heads that never existed in reality.

      Clark never swaggered! Far too classy.
      She never sneered. Could be sarcastic (and droll with it) but that’s not sneering.
      She laughed on occasion. Oh, the horror of it – dared to laugh.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2.2.1

        It was more of a cackle than a laugh.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1

          No, that was definitely Muldoon that you’re remembering there. He’s the only PM we’ve had that cackled.

  3. karol 3

    Interesting contrast in the split pictures of Key-Muldoon. yes there is a startling match-up, indicating a kind of Nat historical continuity.

    But in both match-ups, Muldoon looks superior, but pretty upfront and direct. Key’s face always looks like it masks his real views behind a PR pose

    In the split match-up, Muldoon’s mouth turns downward in his superior sneer. Key’s mouth turns upward in his perpetual, con man smile.

    In the side-by-side match-up, Muldoon has a confident half-smile of someone confident in his dominant position; Key’s face is twisted and calculating:

    karol – reading the teas leaves (or is it a Rorscharc Test?)

  4. Chris 4

    Not being old enough to really remember Muldoon I can’t really comment on the comparison. However, I do think it wasn’t a great move by Norman. Pretty much all I have heard about from the Greens conference was that. I didn’t realise they had actually released new policy until quite a bit after, but knew about this comparison pretty much straight away.

    While it is unlikely to cost them votes I was also a little taken back by the Greens going with the personal attack at all. National has so many policies that are unpopular that are easy to attack there didn’t seem to be a need to do this (particularly when the Greens traditionally have not). To me seems a much better idea for the Greens to continue focussing on their policies which are becoming more popular and let Labour continue with the personal attacks.

    Overall, it seems Labour and the Greens are angling to make the next election about whether or not you want John Key. As much as he is not liked here I’m pretty sure National would be more than happy for the focus to be Key v Shearer (which is what it would become) rather than National’s policies v Labour’s and Green’s policies.

    • Pete 4.1

      I think it was Danyl at the Dim-Post who pointed out that by retaliating against Key in this fashion after he has been describing the Greens as far-left devil-beasts is the politically smart thing to do. The meak may inherit the earth, but the electorate would, in the words of Bill Clinton, rather have somebody who’s wrong and strong rather than weak and right.

      • ghostrider888 4.1.1

        Muldoon the Superior of the two by far; no questions.

      • mickysavage 4.1.2

        Agreed and the faux outrage from the right after Norman’s comments was pretty calculating, especially after you compare Norman’s comment to the devil beast crap that Key and co have been dishing out lately.

    • karol 4.2

      Key as Nat leader, had been attacking the Greens. Norman, as Green co-leader chose the best from of defence is attack. The Nats depend on Key as PR, focal point for the party. He is their brand. They operate according to market style strategies. That’s what Norman responded to, while also critiquing the NAct government’s “extremism” and “anti-democratic” practices.

      The Greens meanwhile continue to put forward their policies as usual.

      • Populuxe1 4.2.1

        It was still a remarkably stupid comparison to make – Muldoon was a bully and an autocrat (things people seem not to mind in Left wing leaders so much like Chavez or Castro, but I’ll let that pass), but you can’t suddenly magic away his building of infrastructure (70% renewable) and his monomaniacal defense of the cradle to grave welfare state (nearly bankrupting the country in doing so). Muldoon would have been outraged by the TPPA and asset sales. Nor was Muldoon a flashy rich prick – he lived quite modestly and was far more in touch with some aspects of Maori reality than Key will ever be – can you imagine Key hanging out at a Black Power party? No, of course not. Muldoon also had a bit of a sense of humour about himself – can you imagine Key in the Rocky Horror Show? No, of course not.

        And given that Russel didn’t even come here until five years after Muldoon died, he can hardly speak from experience.

        • weka 4.2.1.1

          I suspect that like some others here you haven’t actually read Norman’s speech. He wasn’t comparing Muldoon and Key as people, he was comparing their specific actions. Go have a read of what the actual comparison was

          http://www.greens.org.nz/speeches/protecting-our-democracy-crony-capitalism-speech-dr-russel-norman-agm-green-party-2013

          (and I agree there is a limit to how useful the comparison is. Muldoon was a conservative not a neo liberal. But some of it is the same).

          • Populuxe1 4.2.1.1.1

            I did, but in politics it’s pointless to compare specific actions like that – one could probably make the same comparisons with Helen Clark or any prime minister. Ultimately you can only compare the big pictures, not the brushstrokes because people’s memories don’t work like that. And of course, given Russel had no experience of the Muldoon premiership, he is likely to be tone deaf to the divisiveness of his analogy.

            • weka 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Ok, point taken. I just assumed that given the speech was about NACT’s undermining of democracy, it would be obvious that Norman was talking about those aspects of Muldoon’s PM-ship.

    • weka 4.3

      Chris,

      1. the media have often ignored GP policy, so I would hazard a guess that the GP made a conscious decision about what they were doing knowing the risks.

      2. the GP produces good policy and has ways of getting that out. I doubt they will run a solely negative campaign at the election.

      3. I think you missed the point. It’s not so much about denigrating Key as a way to get votes. It’s about someone with a modicum of power standing up and calling NACT to account for their assaults on NZ democracy. About bloody time too.

    • Mary 4.4

      It wasn’t a personal attack. It was an acknowledgement of the similar attitudes to certain things, particularly their shared disdainful for democracy. Like Karl du Frense, the right were so quick to jump on Norman with how the two are different, but without referring to what Norman actually said. du Fresne is so disingenuous attempting to contrast Muldoon’s snarl with Key’s smirk. The fourth comment on du Frenses piece sums it up pretty well:

      http://karldufresne.blogspot.co.nz/2013/06/whos-norman-trying-to-kid.html

      • Populuxe1 4.4.1

        Still a facile response – Muldoon was a product of a completely different time and almost certainly did what he did because he thought he was doing the right thing. Key is a croney capitalist twit.

        • ghostrider888 4.4.1.1

          like that descriptionn of Key, Populuxe1(appreciation acknowledged with application of complete ‘handle’, respectfully).

    • tracey 4.5

      I disagree, no green voter will be put off the party because of a comparrison to muldoon.

  5. BM 5

    Muldoon is still very popular amongst quite a few of the oldies.
    Comparing Key to Muldoon is not a bad thing in the eyes of many who still remember him.

  6. Leopold the Viper 6

    Dictatorial, bullying, bigotted and whatever else, Muldoon was a child of the 30s depression, and was a defender of the welfare state. In many ways he was to the left of the Labour government which succeeded him – he was no Key.

    • weka 6.1

      Yeah, I think it does Muldoon, as bad as he was, a disservice to compare him to Key.

    • ropata 6.2

      Agreed, Muldoon was far superior to the smarmy Keyster

      M: control freak, K: relaxed (catatonic) about everything

      M: built assets, K: selling out

      M: drank too much & embarrassed himself, K: embarrassed the whole country

      M: command economy, K: lawless bankster

    • Ennui 6.3

      There is a prevalent little propaganda line deliberately foisted on us by the spin doctors that Muldoon was a socialist, thereby helping move the definition of Centre well to the Right.

      This is of course a load of crap, Muldoon was very much a conservative of his day, he held the reigns over a distinctly Keynesian Treasury. He also kept within a consensus dating back to the first Labour government that fostered the Welfare State. None of this does a socialist make.

      The really great thing he did was to continue the building of national infrastructure to support economic development. This has enabled Key to put these obviously useful and lucrative schemes up for sale to private interests at fire sale prices. Well done Rob, todays neo lib Nats are Thinking Big gains.

      • Jimnald 6.3.1

        +1

        todays neo lib Nats are Thinking Big gains FOR THE FEW, i.e. for themselves and the top few percent rich pricks

      • weka 6.3.2

        But Muldoon was a conservative, not a neoliberal, right? We shouldn’t lose that distinction.

      • Populuxe1 6.3.3

        Um no – no one has ever said Muldoon was a big ‘S’ Socialist, however as he supported public welfare he was indeed a supporter of small ‘s’ socialist policy. He was what might best be descirbed as a ‘wet tory’ – in that as a conservative he also supported public institutions, welfare, and rejected monetarist policy.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wets_and_dries

    • Roy 6.4

      Agreed. Many of Muldoon’s policies were wrongheaded and he was certainly a bully, but he did defend the welfare state and I believe that he did really want to do what was best for New Zealand. Key on the other hand doesn’t give a proverbial about what is best for New Zealand, and wants to completely destroy the welfare state.

  7. Jimmie 7

    I dunno what the big deal is with trying to compare Key with Muldoon anyway?

    From what I have read Key is probably closer to Holyoake than Muldoon when it comes his leadership style.

    Despite a few folks thinking that Key is the original angel of light he is nothing like Muldoon was with his dictatorial use of power to achieve what he was aiming for.

    Throw into the mix a fair amount of drunkenness and personal attack and you come to the conclusion that Muldoon was a Pit-bull compared to the Labradorish Key.

    Its not hard to see this and it is a waste of space for Norman and others to try and attack Key based on him having some kind of Mr Hyde dark personality.

    Attacking Key’s personality didn’t work in 2008 or 2011. It won’t work in 2014.

    The left would would be better providing a useful alternative policy platform to move NZ on as economic growth picks up next year and the need for keeping the purse strings tight diminishes.

    The voters may be more sympathetic to a realistic, pragmatic plan of growth that doesn’t included hammering anyone with a job with high taxes and dishing out too many freebees.

    Kind of like Clark did re: 2001-2005

    Oh and continuing the canine simile could Labour please put the Chihuahua Shearer out to pasture – he is kind of embarrassing.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1

      That all makes sense, especially when you completely ignore the basis for comparison, which is Key and Muldoon’s contempt for democracy.

      Oh, and you have to discount the cry-baby whining about having to pay your taxes, too. And the bullshit about freebies (lowest unemployment rate in NZ history).

      How is constructing a fantasy-based worldview working out for you Jimmie?

      • Jimmie 7.1.1

        Contempt for democracy?

        You mean crying a river because Key ignored all the asset sale brouhaha?

        So have they got all the signatures for the referendum yet?

        All the rest is just the left boohooing because they don’t like Key’s policies – get over it.

        As for the EC dumping – well if they wern’t so dysfunctional and had got a water plan sorted after 10 years then they wouldn’t have needed dumping.

        Again that is democracy in action – the government used lawful powers (voted by Parliament) to remove a dysfunctional Regional Council.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1.1.1

          Is that what you tell yourself? 😆

        • tracey 7.1.1.2

          Turning Auckland into a super city without recourse to the ratepayers first

          Being the most unrevealling government under the OIA in a very long time (but campaigning on transparency – actually obstructive

          “an ouster clause in the legislation permitting payments to family carers of disabled people

          its failure to pursue the Electoral Commission’s recommended changes to MMP”

          Um so your definition of democracy is if a party which gained fewer than 50% of the votes thinks the EC is dysfunctional then everything is tickety-boo. be careful what you wish for.

  8. gobsmacked 8

    In deeds rather than words, Key is far more Muldoonist than Clark ever was. So yeah, what Andrew Geddis said.

    But as usual, David Shearer doesn’t know whose side he’s on …

  9. bad12 9

    The pics would far better match if Slippery the PM was not supplementing His cranial hair supply with a vast amount of the soft hairs plucked from the anal cavity of a blind donkey named Brucie…

  10. jaymam 10

    Oh come on, I think all leaders end up looking like Muldoon:
    http://i50.tinypic.com/2ev9kia.jpg

  11. tracey 11

    The constitutional trampling that so enraged Mr Farrar

    “It is outrageous that her Government is so dismissive of doing the right thing, and worse suggests it is the fault of the Opposition Leader that she and Cullen blocked officials from being able to do a briefing. It reminds me of all the other constutional conventions that have trampled over:

    » Consultation on quasi-judicial appointments such as Human Rights Commissioners
    » Retrospectively amending the Electoral Act to protect a Minister who vacated his seat
    » Shattering the bipartisan consensus on electoral law reform
    » Continuing to make significant appointments within the final 90 days
    » Attacking independent officers who try to hold them to account such as the Auditor-General, Chief Electoral Officer and Serious Fraud Office Director
    » And now announcing a $150 billion guarantee four weeks before an election, and refusing to let officials brief the Opposition”

    That’s his full list after 9 years in office…

    Interestingly he is not at all outraged at the trampling by this Government. Surely that discredits him and ought to result in him no longer being regarded as a “media” or “political” commentator.

  12. Murray Olsen 12

    The links in the article are interesting. I’d forgotten just how rotten Mike Moore was.

    The only similarity I see between Key and Muldoon is in their contempt for established legal and legislative procedure. Muldoon was pugnacious and stormed his way through what he saw as obstacles, whereas Key is the relaxed conman who can rely on his sycophantic flunkies to do everything he requires. Muldoon liked to get his hands dirty whereas Key probably likes to get his manicured. Muldoon honestly thought what he was doing was right for New Zealand, Key does what he thinks is right for Goldman Sachs. Muldoon needed whisky to get drunk, Key is drunk on his own ego. I hated Muldoon with a passion, but Key makes him look good.

  13. Dan1 13

    I can’t believe the comparison of Key to Muldoon. Key is a lightweight. The closest to Muldoon is Judith Collins: same swagger, same arrogance, same selfishness, same appearance.

  14. burt 14

    Nationalise, regulate, denigrate your opposers. Yep… That’s the Labour/Green policy mix and political behaviour. Wage and price freeze gets swapped for a printing press and the ghost of Muldoon is indeed alive and well in politics – but it’s not Key.

  15. tracey 15

    Nice rose coloured glasses burt

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