PM Moonbeam afraid to debate

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, October 10th, 2011 - 31 comments
Categories: brand key, election 2011, Media - Tags:

Buried in Friday’s Herald’s media section was a big political story. After John “Moonbeam” Key had his hour of talking about his cat while the country was being downgraded, Radio Live responded to the complaints of this blatant and illegal political favouritism by offering to host a Leaders’ debate. It was canned, though, when Moonbeam refused to front up.

It’s funny. The Nats keep saying they want a debate on things like asset sales but, given the opportunity, they chicken out.

This is their election strategy, of course: only do soft media, keep Moonbeam out front doing the smile and wave act, and avoid debating the merits of their platform vs the Left’s at all costs.

31 comments on “PM Moonbeam afraid to debate”

  1. queenstfarmer 1

    How is denying your opponent (who is on about 7% support) an additional platform, not smart politics?

    If it has annoyed and peeved the Labour Party, then it is obviously smart tactics.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      “If it has annoyed and peeved the Labour Party, then it is obviously smart tactics.”

      What if it annoys and peeves off the voters. Is it smart tactics then?

      • queenstfarmer 1.1.1

        It would only not be smart if it loses more votes than it gains (on a net basis), which of course we’ll never know as an exact figure.

        But what we do know is that John Key’s popularity has remained extremely high (for whatever reason), while Phil Goff’s popularity has remained extremely low (again, the reasons are irrelevant), so it is much smarter for John not to give Phil the chance to claw some back. Rugby analogies come to mind. I take the apparent annoyance at this of Labour activists as a clear sign this assessment is correct.

        • freedom

          no QSF
          what we know is Key’s popularity is reported as being unassailably high according to the unspecified polling of a few hundred carefully selected people, then broadcast as if Moses himself has returned from on high with the lessons we need to build Eden 2.0

          For all the people i hear day to day dissing the nice man and his Government i really wonder where the heralded 70% who love him are hiding.

          i only ask because the 30% who don’t like him seem to be everywhere

        • Colonial Viper

          It would only not be smart if it loses more votes than it gains (on a net basis), which of course we’ll never know as an exact figure.

          You seem to think that Key is being Prime Ministerial by calculating how many voters he can afford to piss off right before elections.

        • mik e

          Cowardly Key has no balls cat walk and cat talk how come he’s so scared of Goff then is its because he mucked up so many times and continues to fail to deliver

    • Pascal's bookie 1.2

      “This is their election strategy, of course: only do soft media, keep Moonbeam out front doing the smile and wave act, and avoid debating the merits of their platform vs the Left’s at all costs.”

      It’s obviously smart tactics, QS, if the merits of their platform don’t add up to much. Otherwise, what have they to fear? Why win by some, when you could win by even more?

      • queenstfarmer 1.2.1

        You’re missing the point. It’s like the Lord Monckton debate issue – why would (sane) environmental scientists want to give Lord Monckton a platform to make his arguments and gain publicity?

        [edit: I am NOT comparing Phil, or anyone else, to the “odd” Lord Monckton]

        • Pascal's bookie

          Bit rich claiming I’m missing the point when you’re witterring on about about whether or not the tactic is effective or not.

          Yep it’s effective, and it’s effective at what? Not losing votes to Labour, as you keep saying. Why is that?

          • queenstfarmer

            “Why is that?”

            Because it denies one further platform. That’s the whole point. It denies the opportuity for Phil to start to making inroads, which he desperately needs to do if he is to have any chance. Whether or not Phil could in a particular setting, who knows. But why give the chance?

            It’s really not that difficult a concept to grasp.

            • Pascal's bookie

              It’s a blindingly simple thing to grasp q, which leaves me questioning only why you think it so fascinating.

              But it’s only a good tactic if you think debates are obviously likely to lose you more votes than you’d gain.

              In other words, you’d only do it if you were scared of losing votes by comparing the merits of your case to the merits of your opponents.

              Which is what the post is about.

              If National was convinced of the merits of it’s case, and not at all worried that much of it’s support is from people who don’t really know much about National’s plans, then the wisdom of this tactic would change.

              It only makes sense if you are scared that standing your case up against your opponents would more likely than no lose you votes.

              I think we are in agreement about all of that.

              • Colonial Viper

                If National was convinced of the merits of it’s case

                Yup. The last thing that National want is people understanding its economic and social agenda.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  NActs economic and social agenda is relatively simple: Give all our wealth to themselves and their rich mates while screwing everyone else.

              • queenstfarmer

                I think we are in agreement about all of that.

                No. You still miss the point, which is that John Key has little to gain, and potentially more to lose, from such a debate. Whereas Phil has little to lose no matter what, being the underdog.

                • McFlock

                  Only “potentially more to lose” if their inaction won’t cost them votes. English has already said they expect as much.
                  Nat strategy now seems to be “do as little as possible and maybe they won’t see us – they’ll just look at the funny puppet as it smiles and waves”. This is not a strategy that gains the initiative as the election approaches.

            • mik e

              QSF The Allblacks turn up and play anybody and give them a chance to beat them ,Key is running scared he is a a lying coward.Lets other people fight his battles and blames other people for his and Nationals failures penoKEYo is a coward

        • McFlock

          Nt really – if we’re talking “tactics”, then the tactics depend on the differences between your opponent and yourself. Monckton is looking for a platform and to borrow credibility by “debating” with actual scientists. Labour already has platforms from grassroots up. Denying him a debate merely lets him repeat the refrain that Key is a do-nothing prime minister and a coward. You could argue that having a “leaders debate” between just Key and Goff also gives goff credibility, but it’s a bit weak and easily negated by having a combined major/minor parties debate (leaving labour in the grey area between the two).

          Key has platforms, too, but his biggest weakness is his lack of substance. He essentially needs to show people that he has guts. The danger is that it could backfire and reveal that he has no spine.

          All in all it would seem that the Nats refuse to debate not because they are comfortable with their lead, but simply because their leader is a jellyfish when it comes to unscripted interactions with anyone but chosen sycophants.

          • queenstfarmer

            Well if what you say is correct, then you should agree with me – it is smart for John not to give Phil debate opportunities.

            Denying him a debate merely lets him repeat the refrain that Key is a do-nothing prime minister and a coward.

            And on that basis, Labour should be happy that Key is denying additional debates (noting again that there is at least one set, IIRC).

            • McFlock

              At best, avoiding debate is only “smart” if the nat’s big weapon is actually a waterpistol. Even then they’ll still take hits for dodging the fight. Labour, on the other hand, could do with a big hit, but will have to be satisfied with picking up a few pawns as a result of nat cowardice.

              Essentially we’re looking at a stalemate that is expensive for both teams, more so for the nats. It should be noted that the less news there is about a leaders’ debate, the more time people have to look at National’s coalition partners. And laugh.

              As I said, the “smart” move for the nats would have been to make sure that their leader could actually perform creditably in a 1:1 debate. I guess the dilettente just couldn’t apply himself in the “My Fair PM” lessons, so now they’ll just give him a baby to kiss, stick him on a pedestal, and hope he doesn’t speak. Or sell the baby.

    • McFlock 1.3

      Actually, smart tactics would have been to have spent the last 8 months quietly training in how to debate without appearing like a pub braggart. Then reluctantly agreeing to a one-off debate with someone who thinks you’re a patsy. They underprepare, you wipe the floor, and all of a sudden your something other than “moonbeam” or “smile&wave”. And you increase the probability of being able to govern alone govern at all (your coalition partners being trace0element, and all).

      • Lanthanide 1.3.1

        Yeah, I agree that would be a much smarter tactic, if the practitioner actually had the skills and capability to pull it off.

        • Colonial Viper

          if the practitioner actually had the skills and capability and care factor to pull it off.

          But Key doesn’t, so he hasn’t.

          btw it would be a mistake to underestimate Key and his army of hired help. Many an investment banker has been eviscerated by him.

    • Blighty 1.4

      QST, is all that matters to you what is ‘smart politics’ or are you actually interested in hearing proper discussions of the problems facing this country and the options for fixing them?

  2. alex 2

    QueenStFarmer – Smart politics to not debate? More like we just have a PM with no sack. We should get a debate going of Norman, Goff, Peters, Dunne, Brash, Turia, and Harawira, and have them all rip into the dear leader. We’d see how smart not debating would look then.

    • queenstfarmer 2.1

      Who said not debating? There are debates planned, IIRC. Whether they include the minor parties (or non-parliamentarys like NZ First) I don’t know.

      And don’t forget, Phil will be very wary entering into a formal debate with the Greens, as the polls have shown that much of the erosion of Labour’s support has gone to the Greens.

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        Not on Radiolive.

        Love how you took Key’s office nixing a debate with goff and morphed it into Goff being reluctant to debate the Greens. I can feel the Dark Side is strong in you…

        • Pascal's bookie

          Not really, he’s pretty transparent.

          He might be effective on the radio or something, but anywhere people can scroll up and see what he’s supposed to be replying to, his sort of thing just looks stupid.

          • mike

            Agreed. The objection implied by the OP is that Key’s reluctance to front up for a debate about issues, when he says that’s what he wants, shows a tactic of dodging such debate. queenstfarmer says yes that’s true, but it’s the right choice from Key, why give your opponent a chance to speak when you’re ahead in the polls. What’s to gain?

            But the OP doesn’t claim that Key made a bad choice politically. Some of us believe that an informed public makes a healthy democracy, and that that principle is more important than what party you want to win.

            The post implies that Key is afraid of an informed public, and queenstfarmer’s argument about ‘net vote gain/loss’ does nothing to counter that implication. Quite the opposite in fact.

            And if it’s true as you say that Labour is dodging debating the Greens, (I have no idea or opinion about whether that is the case), then I’d criticise Labour too for the same reason. Just because Labour’s doing it too doesn’t make it ok. Two wrongs don’t make a right. The more public debate about issues and a level playing field for all parties the better.

      • bbfloyd 2.1.2

        you seem quite clever queeny… which is why i find it hard to believe you truly think this is how our country, and the issues we face that don’t just go away when we look away, can be run…

        the only tradition this kind of political maneuvering upholds is the art of flim flam….. and as such… our “prime minister” has proudly upheld the traditions of those illustrious gentlemen who gave us the opportunity to in vest in a once in a lifetime chance to own the brooklyn bridge…..the ancient temples of thebes…our very own cycleway…….

        the sheer emotion just brings a lump to my ………. throat…..

  3. Cin77 3

    Hahaha John Keys right! A proper debate would leave him flailing madly. I would totally watch that!

    Says a lot for what he thinks of his constituents when he won’t even front up about the issues in a non scripted format. Wake up New Zealand before we get stuck with this idiot for another three years

  4. Irascible 4

    Unfortunately Mediaworks would have decided to offer the “hosting” or “chairing” of the debate to either Henry or Holmes both of whom would have been protective of their cuddly mate Key while indulging in their usual huranging and hectoring questioning when dealing with Goff.

    However, despite the implied promise from Mediaworks that they would protect him in this way Key’s failure to front tactic is in keeping with his manipulators’ strategy of protecting him from any situation in which his ignorance and pettifogging arrogance can be seen without the distortion of the PR script writer and sock puppet manipulator.

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