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Stark

Written By: - Date published: 9:36 am, September 2nd, 2008 - 36 comments
Categories: john key, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

John Key’s attempt to ride on Obama’s coattails has been rightly ridiculed in the New Zealand press, but the differences go much deeper than their respective speaking abilities or Key’s charisma deficit.

As this quote from Obama in a recent piece in The Nation shows, when you look at whose interests they’re serving the contrast couldn’t be more stark.

It’s time you had a president who honors organized labor, who has walked on picket lines, who doesn’t choke on the word ‘union,’ who lets our unions do what they do best and organize our workers and who will finally make the Employee Free Choice Act (legislation that would remove barriers to organizing) the law of the land.

John Key “a bit like Obama”? Hardly.

[Hat tip: G.blog]

36 comments on “Stark”

  1. Dom 1

    Key’s use of this comparison shows he is clueless about politics and, indeed, life. He’s now opened himself up to so much scrutiny in the ways he is NOT like Obama (which are many) and prime among them is exactly what you mention – that Obama comes from a grass roots organising background, it is how he’s managed to pull together support – he’s been out there, knocking on doors and mobilising people. Key couldn’t be more different.

    Plus, Obama is hot and, apparently, well-endowed. Key looks like a Ken doll…

  2. Tane – in case you didn’t notice, what Key said was:

    “”I’m a bit like (Barack) Obama,” Mr Key, 47, told the Financial Times. “I am not institutionalised in Wellington”.”

    Nothing more; nothing less.

    Just a friendly reminder in case anyone embellishes the truth 🙂

  3. Felix 3

    I’m a bit like Obama too. I tend to wear my hair short.

  4. lukas 4

    the only people ridiculing is Helen Clark and Cullen… hardly the people you could trust for character references!

  5. insider 5

    No comment on innocent public servants being smeared by the PM? Nothing? No mention at all? Wonder if they are members of a union? Wonder if that union is speaking up about the unwarranted attack? No? Nothing?

    [Tane: Someone may at some stage. You know the rules here, we write what we each feel like writing and we do it as we find the time. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to go elsewhere.]

  6. Scribe 6

    Wow,

    I didn’t realise walking on picket lines provided such strong qualifications to be the leader of the free world. I feel much better about Obama’s candidacy now.

    I2,

    Just a friendly reminder in case anyone embellishes the truth

    I find it hard to believe anyone would do such a thing. I’d be shocked — shocked, I tell you.

  7. Tane 7

    Scribe, don’t be a dork. Clearly standing on picket lines is not a ‘qualification’, no one’s presented it as such. But it does show a stark difference between the two figures.

    One has a record of supporting and empowering working families, the other wants to take their rights off them.

  8. Daveski 8

    [Tane: Daveski, off-topic smear. You can do better.]

  9. I’m a bit like Obama… oh shit… who am I kidding… I’m not at all like Obama…

    Edit: Daveski – that made no sense. Can you try to explain yourself more clearly next time?

  10. Scribe 10

    Tane,

    You linked to a piece in which the author says people deserve a president like Obama “who honors organized labor, who has walked on picket lines, who doesn’t choke on the word ‘union,’ ” In other words, “vote for him, he’s qualified”.

    Struck a nerve did I? You’re normally not one to respond with comments like “don’t be a dork”.

  11. vto 11

    I’m like both Obama and Key. Two legs.

  12. Tane 12

    Na, it’s just I generally respect your comments as well reasoned and it’s disappointing to see you make a cheap misrepresentation of my post.

    I would have thought it’s clear the article was simply making an observation that Obama is supporting organised labour and strengthening the rights of workers. My comment then contrasted Obama’s policy, and record, with Key’s.

    What’s so hard to understand?

  13. Tim Ellis 13

    It was a silly throw-away comment to make, but has been taken completely out of context as a diversion tactic. John Key was clearly referring to his youth and inexperience compared to Helen Clark.

    It is interesting that John Key was not the first to make the observation. This from government minister Peter Dunne in the Sunday Star-Times on 24 February:

    “Hillary Clinton oozes policy and experience and all of that, and you could say she is like Helen Clark. John Key is fresh and relatively unknown, and doesn’t that sound like Barack Obama?”

    The government didn’t seize on those comments and ridicule Peter Dunne for making them. But what else was happening the same week Peter Dunne said this? Oh, yes, Helen Clark was hearing from Owen Glenn for the first time that contrary to Winston Peters’ public claims, Glenn had donated a large sum of money to New Zealand First and that Winston Peters had solicited the money.

    My captcha is “function Truax”. I don’t know what a Truax is.

  14. Daveski 14

    Hi Tane

    I appreciate I was close to the line but it was very much on topic.

    Your premise that the media have ridiculed Key is clearly wrong and should be challenged.

    Sod – my comment looks vacuous now … a lot of nothing 🙂

    I’d have preferred to have debated the issue rather than have it blanked within seconds.

  15. ak 15

    Don’t worry, if things change he’ll be a bit like McCain next week…or Valerie Vili, or Paris Hilton….and if sales volumes change the billboards will go from tampon packet back to beer or weetbix – “whatever it takes” remember?

    Expect more hilarious chameleon reincarnations like “Noddy does Rambo” (nice one GS) as our nimble featherweight contorts in the populist wind and leaps on any passing bandwagon from here till November.

  16. Tane 16

    Then debate the topic bro, but don’t go accusing me of being a Labour stooge on my blog.

  17. Greg 17

    How can you expect to be taken seriously when you continue to take quotes out of context and change their meaning. Meanwhile the PM is accusing the SFO of corruption – because its investigation could be damaging to her.

  18. Scribe 18

    Tane,

    Na, it’s just I generally respect your comments as well reasoned and it’s disappointing to see you make a cheap misrepresentation of my post.

    Most will see the irony of your comment. For those who don’t, this post is a cheap misrepresentation of what John Key said.

    I generally respect your comments. This sort of post is usually more up Steve’s alley.

    Report card: Could do better.

  19. I’m like both Obama and Key. Two legs.

    …bad, four legs good! Oh I am such an ass…

    Edit: Ooh Ooh scribe’s getting all pedagogical – odd considering it’s scribe that usually gets schooled…

  20. Wayne 20

    Oh please. Key and his PR flacks have been trying to paint him as the Aotearoan Obama for months. That small qualifying sentence the right is hanging onto doesn’t change the fact Key is trying to weasel his way into the Obama narrative, and failing.

  21. randal 21

    I would say John Keys is a bit more like Michael Jackson after a skin whitening treatment.

  22. Tim Ellis 22

    I had to laugh when Helen Clark pointed out Obama’s impressive oratory, and called John Key “wooden”.

  23. slightlyrighty 23

    Oooooooo.

    John Key say’s he is a bit like Obama, in that they are both not institutionalised in their respective Capitals, and are both pragmatic.

    whoo hoo!

    In what way is that not a valid comparison? Only in the ways that Clark and Cullen have spun it, which makes it a grand distraction from other issues of the day.

  24. Tim 24

    “I didn’t realise walking on picket lines provided such strong qualifications to be the leader of the free world. I feel much better about Obama’s candidacy now.”

    What about Lech Walesa and Solidarnosc? All he did was “walk on picket lines” (while George H Bush supported his opponent Jaruzelski).

    I don’t really see how being fighter pilot and voting with one of history’s greatest idiots 90 per cent of the time qualifies you to be the ‘leader of the free world’.

  25. Tim – you forgot he was a failed fighter pilot. Only losers get shot down.

    Which reminds me – slightlyrighty – your failed attempt at sarcasm only underscores your complete lack of argument – you should probably head off back to the bog where you and your mates can wallow in your pointless hate.

  26. Scribe 26

    Tim,

    I don’t really see how being fighter pilot and voting with one of history’s greatest idiots 90 per cent of the time qualifies you to be the ‘leader of the free world’.

    I knew McCain was a maverick who broke with party lines a lot, but didn’t realise he aligned himself quite so closely with Bill Clinton 😉

  27. Tane said “I would have thought it’s clear the article was simply making an observation that Obama is supporting organised labour and strengthening the rights of workers. My comment then contrasted Obama’s policy, and record, with Key’s.

    What’s so hard to understand?”

    Mate, it’s easy to understand. You guys are the only ones comparing Key and Obama’s records on workers’ rights. Key hasn’t made that comparison, and nor, to the best of my knowledge, has Barack Obama 😉

    Just remember what the Financial Times said Tane, and try to stay on topic:

    “‘I’m a bit like (Barack) Obama,’ Mr Key, 47, told the Financial Times. “I am not institutionalised in Wellington’.’

    NOTHING MORE; NOTHING LESS.

    (Caps used for emphasis only – I’m not shouting at you!!)

  28. Dom 28

    The issue is that Key compared himself to Obama, yes, on one point but thus opening the door for all this other comparisons (ie. Key has given us the rope, we’re just hanging him by it) – if nothing else it was a stupid own goal and one that’s made him look like a dork – again!

  29. Matthew Pilott 29

    Inventory2, if you want to try and run that line then feel free, but you’re demanding that we look at those words and those words alone, with no context. It makes you look silly:

    Thus, for your benefit, I conclude Key has no intelligence whatsoever. Why, when making such a comparison, would he choose to name someone who has never been to Wellington? It’s a false comparison – Key has been to Wellington, Obama has not. Therefore, there’s no way Obama could have been institutionalised in Wellington. So, Key’s quote shows a lack of reasoning one would equate with a three year-old.

    Hey, maybe to interpret a quote we need to look at the context… As opposed to NOTHING MORE; NOTHING LESS.

    Or do you still want to pretend the entire quote is based around the two of them not being institutionalised in Wellington, and nothing more?

  30. Daveski 30

    IV2 – I agree entirely. Moreover, the opening line about the opening paragraph is completely unsupported by the evidence.

    It lead me down the dangerous path of trying to work out WHY Tane would take this approach.

    I hope that once Clark finally announces the election, we can focus on more substantive issues.

    I see that Lynn has posted something on polls and he’s right about individual polls being meaningless. It will be interesting to see the trend over the next couple of weeks given the issues that aren’t been discussed here compared to the trivial scandal du jour that is increasingly evident.

  31. Crank 31

    I think we all realise that Key was talking to the Financial Times who’s readers probably have no idea who he is, any knowledge of the NZ political landscape or even who Helen Clark is for that matter.

    By comparing himself to Obama he was simply using an example most would get when trying to explain the fact he was a new kid on the block in the political scene, a fresh young face versus the tired old incumbant and has broken polling records for prefered leader from opposition.

    Can we take this quote in context “yes we can”

  32. randal 32

    so its okay to lie depending on who your audience is. I see. where will it all end?

  33. Tim 33

    Robinsod – give the guy a break, he did spend 5 and a half years being tortured. But still, I don’t see how that qualifies you to be President (any more than being a currency trader does) and it seems to be his main selling point. I suppose more importantly I don’t agree with his policies at all.

    Scribe – Ha! Touche, but Bill could play the saxophone…

    I also hope Obama wins whereas I hope Key doesn’t win.

  34. forgetaboutthelastones 34

    hi guys

    i’m a bit like muhammad ali in that ‘i am the greatest!’ And also neither of us are institutionalised in Wellington.

  35. ben 35

    Great story. And timely. The Foreign Minister has just been stood down. Clark has stood by watching Winston lie and could be testifying on Thursday. Yet, both she and Cullen found the time to comment on Key’s comparative ability to speak publicly.

    Nice one.

  36. Glenn 36

    Let’s see Obama repeat that quote in front of a business lobby. I bet some of you swooning, doe-eyed lefties honestly believe he would. Bless.

    As for charisma-deficits, perhaps people in glass beehives shouldn’t throw stones. Clark might be many things, but charismatic, she ain’t.

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