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Negative vs dirty

Written By: - Date published: 7:13 pm, September 13th, 2008 - 69 comments
Categories: election 2008 - Tags:

There’s an important difference between negative campaigning and dirty tricks but it already seems the two are getting confused in the media.

Negative campaigning is saying bad things about your opponent that are at least arguably true (eg Clark saying Key was like a tourist at the South Auckland markets).

Dirty campaigning is knowingly telling lies about your opponent (eg the Bush campaign’s lies about McCain in 2000 for example), making attacks on personal issues ie. something that has nothing to do with your opponent’s policies or political persona (eg the attacks on Clark for not having children), or using an unethical practice (eg. telling different audiences contradictory things). 

Dirty campaigning should be condemned. Negative campaigning is valid; it is part of contrasting your case for being elected with your opponent’s. It would be better if everyone could just make a positive argument for being elected but the pubic also deserves to know about candidates’ negatives and only their opposition (and, occasionally, the media) will tel us about them. Incidentally, Key says he will not run a negative campaign but does what you hear him say meet that promise? Indeed, every time he say he won’t run a negative campaign he is purposely accusing Labour of being negative. That’s an attack from Key in itself and its usually followed by more hackneyed negative lines about the Government.

While we’re on the topic, when Helen Clark said ‘hard hats on’ to Labour supporters, contrary to what the commentariat seem to think,  that did not mean ‘get ready for a dirty campaign’. It meant ‘get ready to work hard’. I can see why someone who never has anything to do with manual labouring would get it wrong; they probably equate a hard hat with a military helmet, to be worn when shrapnel is flying. But working class people know you wear a hard hat when you’re on to a building site. ‘Hard hats on’ means ‘get to work’.

[Update: I didn’t think this was necessary but appearantly it is: I’m not claiming that either side has a monopoloy on employing dirty tricks.]

69 comments on “Negative vs dirty ”

  1. Dean 1

    “Negative campaigning is saying bad things about your opponent that are at least arguably true (eg Clark saying Key was like a tourist at the South Auckland markets).”

    SP, perhaps Labour could buy 30 seconds of TV advertising to tell Nick Smith to “take his pills” in front of the nation. That would only be negative, not dirty right?

    eg the attacks on Clark for not having children indeed.

    Do you actually believe what you post?

  2. r0b 2

    I can think of another example of “dirty”. Dragging politician’s families through the gutter for personal amusement. That’s pretty dirty isn’t it Dean. How do you post in the thread “On morality” with a straight face?

    Interesting post SP, nice clear distinction. It will be interesting to catalogue examples of both negative and dirty tactics as the campaign progresses.

  3. Dean 3

    “I can think of another example of “dirty’. Dragging politician’s families through the gutter for personal amusement. That’s pretty dirty isn’t it Dean. How do you post in the thread “On morality’ with a straight face?”

    Much the same way as you do, r0b. You obviously think turn about is fair play or you wouldn’t defend Labour with such veracity. Which by the way is my new favourite word after your party’s ex favourite foreign bagman – sorry, generous philanthropist – used it so effectively this week.

    A Labour party member calling someone to task over dirty politics. The irony is quite delicious.

  4. r0b 4

    Much the same way as you do, r0b.

    We both know that’s a lie Dean, and you can’t cite a single example.

    You obviously think turn about is fair play or you wouldn’t defend Labour with such veracity.

    I defend Labour because they are the anchor of a left wing government for NZ, and that is what is best for the people and the environment of NZ. No other reason.

  5. r0b 5

    defend Labour with such veracity.

    Incidentally – for the first and probably last time you are correct with that claim (albeit probably inadvertently).

  6. Dean 6

    “We both know that’s a lie Dean, and you can’t cite a single example.”

    We both know you took one sentence from a paragraph and quoted it in isloation. Sorry, didn’t work. Besides:

    “Incidentally – for the first and probably last time you are correct with that claim (albeit probably inadvertently).”

    How about it, r0b? Should Nick Smith take his pills? Are Labour guilty of dirty politics?

    Take your time. However if you prefer you can instead take a leaf out of SP’s book and call me a dick.

  7. monkey boy 7

    How about:
    [03 September 2008
    “Young people are a group I?m passionate about,? says Mr Key.
    So is Gary Glitter.
    Posted by Prog Blog at 1:19 PM]

    Is that ‘arguably true’? Is this the common currency in ‘left blogs?’ say what you want about Key, as long as it is not an outright lie?

    Set the ‘standard’ then wash your hands of it with semantics?

  8. gobsmacked 8

    Monkey-Boy: that would be a joke. Tasteless, perhaps, but nobody with a functioning brain would take it seriously.

    As for the Nick Smith jibes, in the House people on National & Labour benches shout stuff at each other. Other parties too, I expect. Some of it isn’t very nice. It has never been any different. If you don’t believe that, start reading your history books. It’s a House of “Representatives”, warts and all.

    Everybody who follows politics, and has been around longer than five minutes, knows this. So Dean, you can either play Sanctimonious Maximus, and pretend that It’s All The Other Lot’s Fault S’Not Fair S’Not Fair, or you can credit the rest of us with a bit of sense and stop … well, being a dick.

    As for dirty campaigning, that’s another of those tedious “Let’s Ignore the Rest of the World” lines from the embarrassingly insular New Zealand media. Our elections are much cleaner than those in the USA, Australia and the UK, to name but three. Almost pristine by comparison.

    John Key will get attacked in the campaign, not because of Dirty Tricks, but for a fully justified reason: he wants to run the country, and he’s not up to the job of Prime Minister. Actually he’s not up to a coherent English sentence.

  9. r0b 9

    We both know you took one sentence from a paragraph and quoted it in isloation.

    Nothing in isolation Dean, your whole comment, one sentence, here it is:

    Key, the Kiwi Ken


    Dean enjoys dragging politician’s families through the gutter for his own amusement. So he’s perhaps not the best person to comment on matters of morality, or pass judgement on dirty tactics.

    (PS – look up “veracity” in a dictionary)

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    MB, I won’t smear the entire right by pretending they are all as stupid as you. I’ll just ask you.

    By what logic can one tasteless shitty post on one blog be representative of the entire left?

    How is your comment not a smear on the left? Do you see comments like that one often from the left? How prominent? How much support do they get from lefties? Cites please, or an apology. Take your pick.

    Compare that to whaleoil’s photoshops and the support he gets in comments from righties to his more disgusting posts. Or whoever that idiot was that photoshopped Clark’s head onto a hermaphrodite. Or the numerous blogs dedicated to the dycocracy conspiracy mongering, ably led by the popular publisher Ian Wishart.

    Tarring ‘the left’ with that single unrepresentative post is an exact example of a dirty tactic.

    So thanks for that.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    r0b

    Thanks for that link, I miss AncientGeek’s comments. There was a righteous dude.

    (PS – look up “veracity’ in a dictionary)

    spoilsport 😉

    I was looking forward to Dean’s uses of his new favorite word.

  12. randal 12

    what really annoys me is the pseuds in the media like fran mouldy who are continually projecting their own infantile id feelings onto the candiadates. Every second thing she says is a perjorative adjective. The electorate can do without these infantilised so called journalists delivering a subjective commentary on everyone they dont like.

  13. mike 13

    Negative or dirty.. depends how you say it really and the look on helens face when she insulted Key was telling.

    She is getting very desperate and it was framed by TV1 as such.

    The full page pics on the press this morning were priceless too – her dream team partner peters has really taken it out her these past weeks… and more to come apparently, blackjack anyone?

  14. randal 14

    mike that is a barefaced lie. you just heard fran mouldy say that on teevee tonight and until you can back up that assertion with any evidence then you are a liar just like mould.

  15. Dean 15

    “Everybody who follows politics, and has been around longer than five minutes, knows this. So Dean, you can either play Sanctimonious Maximus, and pretend that It’s All The Other Lot’s Fault S’Not Fair S’Not Fair, or you can credit the rest of us with a bit of sense and stop well, being a dick.”

    I never said that Labour’s opposition weren’t as bad.

    Why is everything an us vs them debate with you lefties? Reminds me of a schoolyard.

    r0b:

    “Nothing in isolation Dean, your whole comment, one sentence, here it is:

    Key, the Kiwi Ken


    Dean enjoys dragging politician’s families through the gutter for his own amusement. So he’s perhaps not the best person to comment on matters of morality, or pass judgement on dirty tactics.”

    Nothing in that comment suggested that I agreed with the way Davis has been treated, r0b. It’s not my fault your written comprehension is muddied by your political agenda. I was simply pointing out a truth – the left, such as yourself, like to be offended when such things are mentioned. Yet they’re perfectly capable of ignoring the same from their own bunch.

    Which includes you at this point, seeing as you’re avoiding answering wether or not it’s acceptable for Labour MPs to tell Nick Smith to “take his pills”.

    I actually expected better from you, but I suppose it is nearly election time so I might have to make some allowances.

  16. impressive piece of hair-splitting. Of course, it allows you free reign on anything that you consider to be true, regardless of whether it is provable or not.

  17. randal 17

    did you actually make any sense out of that macd? as far as I could see it was all yadda yadda yadda then nick smith take ya pills then a typical tory trick of looking down his nose and playing the paternal bestower on the WHOLE world. well dean should realise that Labour is here to make things fair for ‘all’ while the tories seek to appeal to a narrow base of grabbers and snatchits who can barely disguise their rapaciousness in their ultimately failed quest to get elected.

  18. r0b 18

    Nothing in that comment suggested that I agreed with the way Davis has been treated, r0b

    You really are shameless Dean. First it was quoted out of context. Now it doesn’t mean what it means. Nothing in that comment? How about: “Highly amusing”. Hmmm. So anyway, while you’re giving lectures on morality, why not take a good long look in the mirror.

    PB I miss AncientGeek’s comments. There was a righteous dude.

    I feel like AG is still with us in spirit bookie!

    I was looking forward to Dean’s uses of his new favorite word.

    Damn you’re right – I shoulda let it run.

  19. DeeDub 19

    Dean:

    “seeing as you’re avoiding answering wether or not it’s acceptable for Labour MPs to tell Nick Smith to “take his pills'”

    “Why is everything an us vs them debate with you lefties? Reminds me of a schoolyard.”

    I guess I’m one of these ‘lefties’ you keep talking about Dean, and I’m a newbie here, but I will say that I don’t think that kind of taunting is pleasing behaviour on either side. However, the fact that people are so passionate about their political beliefs will always lead to a certain amount of name-calling and point scoring. I would think it naive in the extreme to expect otherwise come campaign time.

    Either way I’m voting Labour for their policies and you’re probably voting for one of the blue or yellow lot….

    But hey, we agree that name calling is not nice. So count me out of the schoolyard.

  20. monkey boy 20

    I think that some authors on The Standard have been campaigning on a negative/dirty tightrope since its inception last August. I also think that if what has so far passed for ‘negative’ is anything to go by, there is more of the same in the pipeline. There is going to be a concerted effort to intensify the negative/dirty campaigning between now and the election, at least.
    Now you can put lipstick on it, and dress it up with a neat little speech about ‘negative/versus dirty, hell you can even put a purdy pink chiffon on it, douse it in Chanel No. 5 and call it Gertrude. It is still a pig.
    The post we are discussing is an indication that, as unpleasant and morally compromised as some may feel about the unrelenting shit-fest they are about to unleash, even they have consciences. So there is a chink of light breaking through the turds. But it also renders the post a flip-flop of ethical equivocation. Previous evidence indicates a concerted strategy to destroy Key’s credibility which is only going to get nastier – sorry – ‘dirtier’ – sorry – ‘negativer’. Key has said he will not campaign dirty, but you have indicated you will, but just offer the defence that you are merely being ‘negative’. You just lack the courage of your convictions, that is all.
    It could be argued.

  21. Paul Robeson 21

    She’s a great prime minister. She’s worth twice what Key is.

  22. randal 22

    well if you want to arguer about all that stuff please go somewhere else. this is a serious blog for people to express their point of viw on the subjects put forward by the keepers of the flame. it is theirs just like anything of yours is yours. if you dont like take a hike.

  23. Robin Grieve 23

    Politics has only really got dirty since Helen Clark took the helm, Cancerous and corrosive are her words I think. It is also another example of the arrogence of the left to accuse others of doing something when they are doing it all the time.eg accusing the Nats on the priveleges commitee for having an agenda as if the Labour MPs don’t, do me a favour what were all the patsy questions. “do you think you could have been talking to his brother Wayne Peters?” What a joke. Well done to the Standard in trying to defend the indefensible.

    [lprent: The Standard is a program and has no opinions. There are about 12 people that write articles here, who often have differing opinions. Address it to one of them. ]

  24. Paul Robeson 24

    It has been great to have a prime minister who has put the interests of the country first, and played a coy game- not swinging in behind any of the zealous foreign policy positions of our era, but not neglecting our duty or interests either.

    So she signed a painting for charity. It was for charity, and she’s busy.

    Key the other week on Ashcroft- I think someone in National met him. Knowing full well ‘Actually it was me and he has just left’.

  25. Paul Robeson 25

    Robin- what do the Nats stand for and who do they represent?

    Who is going to benefit from ACC being privatised or ‘opened to competition, apart from Australian insurers and lawyers?

    That is the difference between Labour and National.

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Monkey-Boy

    Dirty campaigning? Read your own blog. Look up “hypocrite” in your dictionary. Then look in the mirror.

    Robin

    Politics has only really got dirty since Helen Clark took the helm

    Utter rubbish. Ever heard of Muldoon?

  27. Paul Robeson 27

    Iwi/Kiwi

    This is cancerous and corrosive.

  28. r0b 28

    I guess I’m one of these ‘lefties’ you keep talking about Dean, and I’m a newbie here, but I will say that I don’t think that kind of taunting is pleasing behaviour on either side.

    Hi DeeDub, welcome aboard. Nice to welcome a newbie – I’ve been here too long.

    Yes, agreed, I think that particular incident went over the line. Labour have been running the Government for 9 years, and although their record is excellent, it isn’t perfect.

    But compare the occasional stupid comment (Labour) with, as Paul Robeson rightly points out, Orewa and Iwi/Kiwi and the like. Compare it with The Hollow Men. Compare it with running a deliberately deceptive Labour Lite facade to try and conceal your secret agenda and get yourself elected. Compare it with what National will do to this country if they do manage to deceive their way in to government…

  29. higherstandard 29

    r0b

    You were starting to froth in your last paragraph.

    Nice to see everyone forming into two lines on this post and shouting at each other bit like parliament at question time.

    Clinton was right with his view that the get your hard hats comment by the PM meant that she wanted people to get to work but her speech on Friday in my opinion suggests that this years campaigning for the political parties is going to be characterised by playing on peoples fears, smears and character assassination.

    As gobsmacked said way back this is pretty much situation normal for politics in most of the countries we are similar to – and the reason why in trustworthiness and popularity stakes politicians and political machines perform rather poorly.

  30. monkey boy 30

    Dirty campaigning? Read your own blog. Look up “hypocrite’ in your dictionary. Then look in the mirror.

    Gosh Gobby can’t you take a joke? Just lighten up.

  31. monkey boy 31

    Actually, on reflection you are right, i am not above using sly innuendo or entendre. But have I ever refused to discuss an opposing view? have I ever told anyone they are ‘banned ofr life’ if I do not enjoy their opinions? have I ever been linked to a political party organisation? Did I ever claim I was set up to represent a party or movement, then use the blog as a platform to advocate for something with a tenuous link to that? If that qualifies me as a hypocrite, then guilty as charged.

  32. monkey boy 32

    Actually I was so stung by the accusation gobby – I looked it up: Hypocrite
    Noun:
    a person who pretends to be what he or she is not [Greek hupokrinein to pretend].

    I think I qualify for a sick-pass on this one.
    But, everyone! don’t take my word for it go to ‘Monkey with Typewriter’ for my unique take on current affairs and politics with searing insightful political commentary, and make up your own minds. It’s online right now!

    Yes! hat’s waht I said! you can make up your own minds!

  33. randal 33

    I dont think I will bother going there if it is the same lackluster stuff that you write here. sorreeeeee…why waste the effort?

  34. DeeDub 34

    Robin Grieve:

    “Cancerous and corrosive are her words I think”

    Thank you Yoda. Not sure why, but I thought you might ne a left-wing Jedi master?

  35. Tanya 35

    The right-wirng is the best, honest, brightest place to be. Go Nat’s, save NZ from the brink of oblivion! Let Labour fight dirty, the voter’s will appreciate Key’s much fresher approach!

  36. monkey boy 36

    There may be merit in what you say, randal. It’s your choice. You are entitled to your opinion. In fact you have a right to holding your opinion. So should you ever visit and tell me the same, I still would not censor you, on the grounds that i did not agree. I have a couple of visitors to MWT, one is a absolute wing-nut of teh right poersuasion. I don;t hold his views, and actually think he is a bit pathalogical. But he has a right. And debate is about shallenging opinions, not shutting them down, by smearing the other person..

  37. r0b 37

    And debate is about shallenging opinions, not shutting them down, by smearing the other person.

    Hypocrite fits you perfectly monkey. How can you deliver your little homilies on quality debate and not smearing when you write rubbish like this:

    Clark cuts the thread

    Honestly, grow up.

  38. DeeDub 38

    Never mind the negative versus dirty debate…. did anyone just see Phil Goff on Agenda having Guyon Espiner for breakfast?

    Brilliant!

  39. forgetaboutthelastone 39

    yeah loved that – Guyon Espiner gets the smackdown from phil goff. Very interesting Agenda actually. Mainly because of the total ineptitude of these journalists on show for everyone to see.

  40. mike 40

    Speaking of dirty tricks…
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10532061

    “Rochelle Rees told the Herald on Sunday she was interested in politics but not affiliated to any party”

    Really being elected onto the National Executive of Young Labour isn’t afffiliated to any party?

    The left caught out again lying to the public – pathetic

  41. forgetaboutthelastone 41

    mike:

    Too bad for you that the MSM in New Zealand have too many trivial things to concern themselves with to be bothered with something like ‘the facts’.

  42. Mike, that story is really about the completely “clueless” journalist Cliff Taylor. A tech journo doing a story fed to him about a google bomb and he does not bother googling the person who fed him the story.
    More lazy, clueless journalism.
    Rochelle appears to have a sense of humour if you can look past the anti human pro furry animals aspect to her personality.

    [lprent: She should have – she isn’t a sysop yet. But she is a pretty good coder.]

  43. mike 43

    So just like when helen clark misleads the public it’s the medias fault for not asking the correct questions.

    This deception thing is becoming quite regular from the left.

    “Campaign on trust” what a joke

  44. Clueless Cliff Taylor has updated the story, updated it without basic fact checking on the new info she has fed him this morning.
    One thing the left and right appear to agree on is the elementary school standard of print journalists in this country.

  45. Draco TB 45

    Never mind the negative versus dirty debate . did anyone just see Phil Goff on Agenda having Guyon Espiner for breakfast?

    Got youtube?

  46. I saw it Draco, with Goff installed as labour leader six months ago they would have been 10 points in front.

  47. burt 47

    Paul Robeson

    She’s a great prime minister. She’s worth twice what Key is.

    According to what the Auditor General discovered as illegally spent tax payers money and taking into account National’s “blunder” with their GST. The PM is worth 8 times what Key is worth.

  48. randal 48

    So Keys is using espinnerer for his fall guy now. Just as well I suppose as he {keys} is liable to lose his tmeper when anyone dares to question him. Hell this election is getting tacky already…zip a deedooodah zipadeeday…

  49. Pascal's bookie 49

    burt, that’s been done to death and you know that if the AG had used 12 instead of 3 months, the Nat’s would have been in the same boat as Labour.

  50. Pascal's bookie 50

    r0b

    I feel like AG is still with us in spirit bookie!

    True, now that I think about it a little.

  51. Bill 51

    Barnsley Bill and Draco TB

    If Goff ‘slapped down’ Espiner, is that really a cause for ‘celebration’?

    If journo’s were in any way half decent at their jobs then ALL politicians would dread upcoming interviews. But they’re not. So politicians aren’t. And that isn’t good for any of us.

    A good journalist wouldn’t indulge in beat-up, or rumour/gossip. They wouldn’t focus on personalities. They would have done their homework and any politician who tried to peddle a dodgy line would be made breakfast of.

    But that’s not happening. I guess part of the reason is no journalist wants to be the one who sticks their neck out first and is subsequently denied access to the next spoonfed sitting of ‘official’ pap.

    My point is not whether Goff or Espiner were in the right on Agenda. If a politician can get the better of a journalist who abides by the do’s and don’ts outlined above, then said journalist should be looking for a new job. And they should be seeking alternative employment if they do not abide by the do’s and don’ts…’cause then they ain’t failed journalists; they just ain’t journalists at all.

  52. lprent 52

    mike:

    Really being elected onto the National Executive of Young Labour isn’t afffiliated to any party?

    Last time I looked the Young Labour exec was about 20 strong. In other words about a third of the people who turned up to the conference. It wasn’t exactly hard to get elected on to it. I think what you have to do is tor turn up and not vehemently object to getting elected.

    Rochelle was on it for a year but hasn’t even been a NZLP member for a few years. Like manay of the posters here, she tends towards the greens. I her case because they have a better policy about the treatment of animals.

  53. monkey boy 53

    r0b I really do think that there is a danger that New Zealand is heading for ‘banana republic’ status. Which is why I wrote my post. Anyone who wished to make a contribution and rebutt or debate it then all the better. For goodness sake, I’m running a blog called ‘Monkey with Typewriter’ don’t you think that there may be a eentsy clue that i am being provocative or giving myself range to indulge inn the satirical?
    If you want to put your head in the sand, and pretend that all is rosy in the garden, then fine. I think there are serious constitutional issues at stake here, and Helen Clark is for better or sorse, exhibiting a natural human tendency to exploit them. Not because she is a bad person, but because the checks and balances are so ineffective they render a government even under MMP as a potential despotism. Don’t take my word for it read up on Mike Moore the other week. Like I said to randal your own opinion is your prerpgative. This is the election campaign now. It is about debating and challenging issues and it is about engaging provoking and arguing. How many times have you endorsed the ‘secret agenda’ meme? All well and good, can’t I do a ‘banana republic’ meme?
    By the way in case you forgot, I also posted this on the same day:
    “Actually – on reflection – I was rude to do this (post a copy) so, I’ll pre-empt the reasonable thing to do, and ask whoever is moderating if they would please delete my long link-whore-post.
    heheh you said ‘wank'”
    As you may divine from the ‘wank’ reference ‘growing up’ is not an option, I’ve seen what it does to people.

  54. Draco TB 54

    with Goff installed as labour leader six months ago they would have been 10 points in front

    That’s what I was saying about a year ago. HC has been a great PM for us but the allure is wearing thin.

    If Goff ‘slapped down’ Espiner, is that really a cause for ‘celebration’?

    Bill, all I was asking for was a youtube copy so that I could watch it. I don’t watch TV and the TVNZ OnDemand website only seems to work if you have MS Windows installed. (Wonder if the next Labour government could be persuaded to legislate that all government departments and SOEs etc have to use open standards rather than proprietary ones – show their support for a free-market)

    But, yeah, the reporter should be able to hold their own against a politician that they’re interviewing. It would be much better for our democracy.

  55. Ari 55

    Not because she is a bad person, but because the checks and balances are so ineffective they render a government even under MMP as a potential despotism.

    No more than under FPP- in fact, considerably less so.

    Under FPP, you were likely to have a government composed of a single party. (and maybe the occasional independent who lends support) Single-party governments are much more inclined to despotic tendencies, as multi-party governments are far more likely to destabilise under those conditions.

    Really, the constitutional issues you allude to are themselves the problem- mainly, the parliament exercises sovereignty in New Zealand, even if it is nominally invested in the Monarch.

  56. Seeyaseeya 56

    Who cares? ‘Dirty’ old Labour and it’s publicly-funded blogs are gone come November 8…wonder who the Opposition will be once the party implodes?

    [lprent: Your previous pseudonym was better – I liked the pie part. BTW: This blog site is paid for me. That makes it private property not public. The NZLP has been around for over 90 years and is still going very strong, it will be interesting to see what your comments are when they win the treasury benches again. ]

  57. Bill 57

    Draco TB and Barnsley Bill.

    Fucking hell, I’ve just gone back to your comments. Blame it on the snarky bastard hang over….maybe not. Sorry you guys. I must have been halluci-reading or something.

  58. r0b 58

    i am being provocative or giving myself range to indulge inn the satirical?

    On your own blog MB you can do what ever you like, knock yourself out, it won’t bother me at all. But if you come here and deliver little homilies about not smearing other people, then expect to be called on your hypocrisy.

    And as for your banana republic line for goodness sake, go for a little walk, or do whatever it is that you do to calm down. NZ hasn’t been in danger of being a banana republic since we got rid of Muldoon. If you have valid points to make on your blog you won’t be doing them any favours by losing them in the kind of juvenile nonsense I linked to above.

  59. Tim Ellis 59

    I feel like I’ve missed the boat on this thread, but having popped out of the country for a couple of days and already missing my politics fix I thought I’d comment anyway.

    I agree SP, there is a difference between negative campaigning and dirty campaigning. I would categorise them differently, with different categories. I agree that telling either broad truths about your opponent, or emphasising what are clearly reasonable, albeit arguable summaries of your opponents weaknesses, is negative campaigning. Examples of this might be Helen Clark saying “John Key isn’t committed to kiwisaver”, or National responding: “Labour can’t be trusted to deliver tax cuts”.

    I think a clear example of negative campaigning was the pamphlet the Exclusive Brethren sent out in the 2005 election. From memory the EBs made about fourteen key assertions about Green Party policy, of which seven were factually hard to dispute, six were hyperbolic but reasonably arguable debating points, and one a difficult claim to justify. More on that soon.

    Where negative campaigning uses extreme hyperbole to create fear among, or prejudice against a certain group of vulnerable people, I would call that dirty campaigning. That’s the below-the-belt stuff. Sending a fake eviction notice to state house tenants from a would-be National Party minister is a classic example of that.

    Pretty much any campaigning that drags a politician’s family into the debate is just plain dirty. Trevor Mallard was guilty of this with his disgraceful comments in Parliament about Don Brash a couple of years ago. Likewise, some of the filth put around about Helen Clark falls into the same category. The snow-job on Colin Moyle some thirty years ago the same.

    Anything defamatory is dirty. If you can’t defend it in court, then you shouldn’t be saying it. The smear on John McCain is a good example of this.

    I think a further example of dirty campaigning is negative campaigning that has come about through the use of dirty tricks. Using stolen or private correspondence to attack your opponent falls into this group. So too is being dishonest about the motive for the campaign.

    This is where the Exclusive Brethren campaign in 2005 moved from negative to dirty. They were dishonest about their identities. They claimed to be merely a half-dozen concerned businessmen, and gave false addresses. Any reading of their material demonstrated that they were trying to encourage voters to vote for, or against, a party or a group of parties. Trying to be cute by claiming otherwise made it dirty.

    Rochelle Rees’ google-bomb attempt almost crossed over from negative to dirty, because she was dishonest about her political affiliations. She is no more a neutral, interested observer than the Exclusive Brethren were. Her google-bomb was intended to encourage people not to vote for John Key, because she supports, presumably, the LPG group. It doesn’t matter whether she’s still affiliated to a particular political party. She is affiliated, as the Exclusive Brethren were, to a group of parties by taking the approach she did.

    I say almost crossed over, because I don’t personally see google-bombing, the way she did, as anything more than a prank from a young radical. I thought it was funny at the time. It also simply isn’t effective. Who, really, would google the word “clueless” in a New Zealand domain, and press the “I feel lucky” button? I just can’t see it as having any influence on voters, fullstop. It has been reported all over the show in NZ media, but I can’t imagine why anybody would go googling the word “clueless” in New Zealand, and then click that button to bring up the result.

    Further, calling somebody “clueless” is hardly defamatory. It’s like google-bombing Helen Clark as, let’s say for argument’s sake, “green-eyed”. How many people would actually google that expression?

    If somebody had google-bombed John Key with something downright horrible, with an expression that might actually be searched, like “rapist”, then that would be dirty.

    On the whole, though, I think this stuff is self-regulating. Constant negative campaigning, or any dirty campaigning, tends to fall pretty flat with voters.

  60. Higherstandard 60

    “Given his background in Merrill Lynch, which has just gone belly up, I would have thought New Zealanders would come to the conclusion you wouldn’t put a man like that in charge of New Zealand’s economy,’ says Finance Minter Michael Cullen.

    Negative, dirty or just plain desperate ?

  61. Bill 61

    And then there is….Merril Lynch bought for bargain basement price by Bank of America who are down 20%, Lehman Brothers gone, $40 billion attempted rescue package for AIG, Bank of England throwing £5 billion at the banks, NZ’s Australian banks exposed to sub-prime loans….

    Is it still too premature to gather the gear for a party?

  62. $40 billion attempted rescue package for AIG, Bank of England throwing £5 billion at the banks

    F*ckn welfare parasites…

  63. Bill 63

    On the bright side (of the dark side?) anyone willing to make a bet that the US brings down the global economy stands to make a killing – as long as they GO SHORT!

    Oh. And any idea how the US is going to fund it’s next war given all this?

  64. Bill 64

    And in a nice wee slight of hand…Bank of America buys Merril Lynch; transfers its bad debts into Merril Lynch. Merril Lynch goes bankrupt and Bank of America walks away.

    Think I can do the same; set up a subsidiary of myself and transfer my student debt?

  65. Vanilla Eis 65

    Bill: It (almost) worked for Enron.

    Amazing the ways you can make money if you have a little bit of knowledge about how the corporate world works.

    Captcha: Mistake smallest (It certainly wasn’t!)

  66. higherstandard 66

    Ah yes Enron the Godfathers of Kyoto and carbon trading.

  67. Bill 67

    Ah dear…”The extra Bank of England funds were almost five times oversubscribed by banks, which put in bids totalling £24.1 billion..”

    And on top of the $40 billion Merill Lynch buy out “a consortium of commercial and investments banks have also agreed to extend 70 US billion dollars of credit.”

    Makes you wonder (maybe).

    And the Nats want to borrow how much? From where? At what cost? Go Nat!

  68. Vanilla Eis 68

    HS: Enron got up to some considerably dodgy shit, but mostly they failed because they had terrible accounting practices and flat-out lied to the public about their (non-existent) profits. There’s a reason that their accounting firm, previously among the top 5 in the US(PWC, DeLoitte, KPMG etc), folded when Enron did.

    I don’t really see what that has to do with carbon trading on an open market.

  69. bill brown 69

    What’s the bet that the Nats $50 per week tax cut will disappear because of “global economic factors” around December 2008?

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