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Todd’s MAGA hat

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, May 25th, 2020 - 119 comments
Categories: Amy Adams, election 2020, International, national, paula bennett, racism, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, todd muller, us politics - Tags:

Todd Muller has spent the weekend talking about his aims and aspirations for the National Party.  No sorry that is a joke, he has been talking all weekend about his MAGA hat.

Sure it is something that an affectionado of American Politics would collect.  Like instruments of torture or a Klu Klux Clan hood.  But why would you display it?  And why when it was attracting attention would you let it dominate the discourse for the first weekend, the very time where all attention is on you and it is a chance to hopefully create a good impression.

And while I could understand an indifference on his part to the hat he should have realised that it has become a hated symbol, the modern symbol of white supremacy.  And when the Muslim Community urges you to put it away you would have to suffer from severe tone deafness not to hear their message.  From Amelia Wade at the New Zealand Herald:

Todd Muller’s Make America Great Again cap represents more than a trip to the United States and has no place being in his Parliamentary office, says a Muslim community leader.

Aliya Danzeisen of the Islamic Women’s Council said she understands it’s a souvenir, but the cap should be kept at home.

“That hat represents the denial of the freedom of beliefs. That hat represents the denial of minority voices. That hat represents the vitriol that has been harming that nation and has been harming the world for the last four years,” Danzeisen said.

“If he wants to be the Prime Minister of New Zealand it would be nice if he’d choose to display objects that represent the values of New Zealand.”

Todd then topped things off by, checks notes, suggesting that Donald Trump was not so bad and the Democrats were also to blame for the state of US politics.  From Dan Satherley at  Newshub:

Asked on Magic Talk’s Sunday Cafe show what he thought of Trump, Muller said he was making the US a more politically divided place.

But he said Trump’s rivals, the Democrats, are also to blame.

“Over the last 30 or 40 years it’s become more and more partisan, and I think that doesn’t work for the country as a whole. This is not an anti-Republican or anti-Democrat – I think both sides have built that partisanship to the level that it appears from the outside to be becoming quite destructive.”

Anyone who can think that the Democrats are to blame for the extreme evil that the Republicans have been practising on the United States during the time of Trump needs to have their compass recalibrated.

Todd tried to walk back his earlier comment by criticising Trump’s style rather than his substance but if anything has made things worse.  From Claire Trevett in this morning’s Herald:

“I’ve been asked directly do I support President Trump’s style, and I say ‘not at all’.

“I find his style of politics appalling.

“Hopefully they can understand I am a respectful person, and that my collection of political paraphernalia doesn’t in any way seek to align myself to any particular political positioning of any individuals offshore.”

So he does not like Trump’s style.  Does this mean he is ok about the substance of what Trump has been doing?  The abysmal way that Trump has handled the Covid epidemic, the trashing of Constitutional norms, the active voter suppression steps, the rewarding of his mates and the mass incarceration of people wanting a better life?

To add to his problems Mueller has announced that he is reshuffling the National Caucus list.  And some of the details have already been leaked.  It appears that Bridges may be on the outer.  And in a particularly brutal take down Paula Bennett’s safe list spot may be taken by Amy Adams.  Paula may not make it back into Parliament given National’s list seats will be a priority.

Those first few days are meant to set the tone for the term of a new leader’s role.  Lefties will be quite comfortable with the way that the public persona of Todd Muller is emerging.

119 comments on “Todd’s MAGA hat ”

  1. Heather 1

    A sad day in NZ politics, where a stale, pale, older boomer considers he will lead NZ as PM.

    His ideas are outdated, he has no concept that NZ wants a new way to move forward, we do not want to return to the conservative past he is outlining.

    Even to be discussing Trump and Trumps views, while establishing a picture of what kind of a man Muller is makes me very queasy.

    • xanthe 1.1

      Let me make my position absolutely clear. Should Jacinda lose the 2020 election to Todd It will be in large part due to those who set about using the old white male meme to attack him. stupid. stupid. self centered idiots.

      The only way to carry 2020 is relentless positivity and compassion. !

      • observer 1.1.1

        The problem with that line is it lets the baddies off the hook.

        e.g.

        "You're a cold, heartless, blood-sucking, selfish destroyer of lives. Another old white male!"

        "Aha! No, my grandmother was part-Maori! So you're wrong, I can't be a cold, heartless, blood-sucking, etc, etc. I win!"

        Target missed.

    • woodart 1.2

      as leader of nats, hopeing to be p.m. muller will have to wear many hats. but this one will follow him around forever now, with all its baggage. this is worse than brash walking the plank. huge own goal at first kickoff .

    • G unit 1.3

      Since when is someone who's born in 1968 a boomer? (23 December 1968 to be exact)

      He's Gen X.

      If you're going to slag him off at least get your basic facts correct.

  2. Wayne 2

    Micky,

    This, and the other items on The Standard about Todd, shows a whiff of panic on the side of the Left. It is no longer such as an easy walk to victory for Labour as seemed to be the case less than a week ago.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Thanks Wayne I have actually been comforted by Todd's performance so far. John Key was years in the making and had the benefit of extensive soft media and a good back story, poor state housing kid excels.

      Todd has none of this. I have followed the hat story for a few days now but did not think it relevant until he was criticised on Eid Mubarak by a representative of the Muslim community.

      And his Trump comments are bizarre.

      Key filled me with dread. Todd doesn't.

      • Bruce 2.1.1

        Spot on Micky, he is so stale pale and male. I think you really need to go through the new National Party list, his rumoured demotion of many of the ethnic list MPs other than his CCP mate and his refusal in the early days to share an office with Simon in Tauranga are telling.

    • lprent 2.2

      Huh? What other political stories are there in NZ right now?
      Not to mention that it is a bit unusual for the National party to fall apart like this.
      Deluded…

      • Wayne 2.2.1

        National hasn't fallen apart. It has chosen a new Leader. And from all the contacts that I have, I can tell you he is a pretty popular choice.

        Labour's spin on all this (by it supporters) to paint him a some sort of hard right racist misogynist will utterly fail.

        It is game on from here, and in your hearts you know that this is true.

        • lprent 2.2.1.1

          It is game on from here, and in your hearts you know that this is true.

          Oh I agree that he is probably much closer to the core of National than the small group around Simon Bridges. They were starting to exhibit the classic bunker mentality.

          My remarks were about the political wisdom of changing leadership (and apparently much of the shadow lineup) four months before an election. You might remember that I pointed out exactly the same thing when Little stood down and the Labour caucus put up Jacinda Ardern.

          The actual bounce was about 8% with an exceptional communicator. But Labour had potential coalition partners – which National appears to be lacking (apart from the dependent sock-puppet). So far Todd Who? doesn’t appear to be doing too well. FFS: caught up in a MAGA hat. That is a classic media pigfucker mistake.

          Labour’s spin on all this (by it supporters) to paint him a some sort of hard right racist misogynist will utterly fail.

          As far as I am aware, the highlighting about possible racism in the move have come from National supporters (like the one I quoted yesterday in my post). I actually ran across it on Kiwiblog with something that Farrar mentioned and which was highlighted by the National supporters on that site. They appear to be (like you) quite sensitive about it.

          It has come up across the writing from some of the ethnic communities. Like Godfrey and the Muslim community. I’m guessing that will be something that they will highlight if that is what shows up in the
          reshuffle. Similarly with women (which hasn’t been raised a lot yet).

          From my perspective, I suspect that National is more interested in shoring up their base vote. So I think that they will sacrifice some of the good work they have been doing to get out of the rich white man trap over the last decade. Which does get start getting interesting politically. So I’ll have a look at seeing just who the shadow positions go to.

          BTW: I fixed your handle up.

        • mac1 2.2.1.2

          Wayne, can you give us your version of the first gaffe that Muller made in my book which was to bring his family into the political discourse at his first media meeting with a joking but disparaging remark about familial discord and having two red-haired children. For me the issue is the casual stereotyping and the seeming unawareness of this, a lack of sensitivity, on Muller's part.

          • joe90 2.2.1.2.1

            joking but disparaging remark about familial discord and having two red-haired children

            Bloodlines..?

            • Shanreagh 2.2.1.2.1.1

              I think he said 'red-headed' children rather than 'red-haired'. His wife appears to have red hair. Normally it is a recessive gene. From large Scottish ancestry red haired clan myself with a about 10-15% each generation.

              • mac1

                Shanreagh, the context was that family disputes were to be had in his family because he had a 'red-headed '(you are right) wife and children, said jokingly. There is a stereotype about redheads that they are prone to anger and bolshy, and stereotypes are socially divisive, and 'othering'.

                https://www.thelist.com/129859/the-truth-about-redheads/

                or, https://owlcation.com/humanities/Redheads-Myths–Legends–and-Famous-Red-Hair

                • Shanreagh

                  I heard the reference and Oh dear as one of them, that stereotype by some has almost made me fit it at times! Sad that a husband/father needs to use this. Then you get it with the freckles or 'fly spots' that often go with the red hair.

                  There are other sorts of 'othering' or awareness of difference as well for red haired people…..many Drs know to be cautious around doses of drugs etc as an over sensitivity to some drugs is known in people who have the red hair and pale skin.

                  • mac1

                    I have just read the whole article, Shanreagh, rather than the first bit about stereotypical anger. Since I have a red-headed daughter and my wife is a red-head, then I too must have the recessive gene! I was not a red head, but fair though I was freckled and my beard was reddish. The rest of the article is therefore more revealing to me, if it is scientifically accurate. Temperature intolerance, pain receptivity, dopamine production, vit D production, skin cancer.

                    Not being an obvious MC1R recessive gene carrier, I didn't get the angry man accusations for being a redhead. I got that for being of Irish extraction! But not for being thick- instead I was bullied for being bright.

                    Hence my no doubt 🙂 MC1R induced high reactions to bullies, stereotypers and bigots. Being one of the 'others' is a help to developing empathy for those who are 'othered' by racism, misogyny, or the rest of the bigot's tatty arsenal.

                    Thanks for your reply that led me to this further understanding.

            • mac1 2.2.1.2.1.2

              Trump talking about Henry Ford’s bloodlines?

              https://truthout.org/articles/trump-condemned-for-praising-noted-anti-semite-henry-fords-good-bloodlines/

              Trump, another stereotype purveyor, the man who brings us MAGA hats.

        • KJT 2.2.1.3

          "Misogynist" Muller has already done that to himself.

          "Rascist" yet to be seen if he is. But obviously behind some of the people that put him there.

          "Hard right". Doesn't matter if he has inclinations that way. National spin doctors are well aware that, as a minimum, they have to, at least pretend to have a social conscience. Any "hard right" tendencies will be well hidden, in public.

          Hard right policies, like privatising health, have to be done by stealth. Or National's votes would be at ACT levels.

          • I Feel Love 2.2.1.3.1

            He started literally, as a clean slate, Todd Who? Now he's Todd the guy with the MAGA hat, it's even emboldened the scary righties, "burka & Killary" types.

            • observer 2.2.1.3.1.1

              Yes, that's exactly right.

              It isn't part of some cunning, dastardly plan. I don't know why some on here always reach for the conspiracy when the simplest explanation is overwhelmingly probable.

              He doesn't get it, not because he's evil, but because he's a dick.

    • KJT 2.3

      You should be proud. Lies, born to rule arrogance and misogyny in his very first speech.

      Keeping up the National party tradition.

      Repeating the same bullshit over and over. Unfortunately for those of us who care about our children's future, it too often works.

      https://getpocket.com/explore/item/cognitive-ability-and-vulnerability-to-fake-news

      "For example, repeated over and over, a story such as the one about the Pope endorsing Trump can create a glow around a political candidate that persists long after the story is exposed as fake".

      We need to make at least three steps forward, to counter National propagandising their way back into power at some stage, and marching us backward.

      Fortunately Muller is unlikely to inspire. Yet another “Peter Principle” corporate drone.
      Most of us have already seen more of those than we would like, at work.

    • left_forward 2.4

      National seems to have indeed lanced its festering boil and has a choice now on its way forward.

      This conversation is far from desperate Wayne, its just a valid enquiry as to whether the poison has been entirely excised – it is National after all. Todd’s Trumpist badge of honour and response suggests that he is impressed by the toxic POTUS.

    • Robert Guyton 2.5

      Wayne, "the Left" would have reacted energetically to whom ever replaced Simon Bridges, because of the natural tension that builds around a desperate action such as a late-run de-capitation of a rival political party. You believe the coalition was experiencing "an easy walk to victory" with Simon in the leadership role, but that replacement Todd Muller has provoked panic immediately upon his selection, despite his having to spend his first few days defending a glaring fault in his behaviour and belief; an admiration for Trump and the coveting and ill-considered display of a politically charged icon of the American Right Wing?

      I

      don't

      think

      so.

      • gsays 2.5.1

        Good to see you back round these parts Robert.

        • Robert Guyton 2.5.1.1

          Thanks, gsays. I've found it's safer to talk politics-only around here; deeper ideas are much harder to present without creating warps in the fabric of conviviality. Todd's hat is a good one to kick around and only Wayne seems perturbed by the game smiley

    • ianmac 2.6

      Wayne. Reading between your lines is a hint of unease about the Stolid Todd.

    • aom 2.7

      No need for the 'left' to panic Wayne – Muller screwed up, danced on a pin-head and dissembled so often during his RNZ appearance with Kathryn Ryan that he is going to be toast the first time he has to face the PM in Parliament.

    • Anne 2.8

      Sorry Wayne it ain't panic. Its incredulity. That a man aspiring to be our PM thinks it is okay to prominently display a MAGA hat given all it now represents.

      Aliya Danzeisen of the Islamic Women’s Council says:

      “That hat represents the denial of the freedom of beliefs. That hat represents the denial of minority voices. That hat represents the vitriol that has been harming that nation and has been harming the world for the last four years,”

      Very well said.

      • Bg 2.8.1

        … and the Burka represents???

        • McFlock 2.8.1.1

          He had a burka on the shelf, too?

        • left_forward 2.8.1.2

          I don't think that in this company Bigly, you will receive much support for a position that relies on your ignorance of another culture, even though you made a clever-boy connection. I assume that you don't have a clue what the burqa represents to muslim women, so it is up to you to find that out. But your passive aggressive question also suggests you already judge a culture you have no knowledge of, but still want to attack it and thus continue the harm that Islamic Women's Council has highlighted.

          So, it is a false equivalence, because we all know what the MAGA culture is about.

          • Bg 2.8.1.2.1

            I know what the Burka represents alright, and so do you, or do you believe that we should both travel to Saudi Arabia to protest against female gentital mutalition and see where that gets us?

            Btw why are so many black people supporting Trump?

            • left_forward 2.8.1.2.1.1

              No mate, you're on your own… in every respect.

            • McFlock 2.8.1.2.1.2

              Heh – this tweet seems relevant:

              If you condemn this quintessential symbol of far-right white supremacist political populism then, ahahhahah, you must also condemn this widely worn piece of clothing linked religious faith on the grounds that some governments use it as a discriminatory tool. Fucking WOW.

  3. Anker 3

    Wayne, I am panicking because I see a guy talking a big talk “I will be PM” and threatening what we have achieved under this govt in terms of the eradication of Covid19 ie talking about opening up our boarder ASAP. He is either reckless and ignorant, or at a time of crisis trying to get votes from vulnerable industries such as tourism. And he’s spinning a big line about National being better for business, the evidence for which doesn’t exist. And then I see the MAGA hat. And you brushed it off earlier, but read and re-read this article and let it sink in. Not helped by muller saying he doesn’t like trumps style. But no critique of the substance.

    unfortunately when people are vulnerable as many are now they fall for the big guy, talking a big line. At least with Simon it felt like what you see is what you get

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12334259

  4. Adrian 4

    So advice selection is not one of his managerial strong points. Matthew Hooten FFS !
    I can see a tone deaf wreck on the way.

  5. Tricledrown 5

    Muler opening our border to China when China have shown they were covering up the numbers of Covid 19 infections and deaths.

    Until we can be assured China is telling the truth ,with the outbreak of covid 19 in Northern China there has been no news on the numbers of cases in this region I would be very suspicious of the CCP and their NZ propaganda arm the National Party.

    • Graeme 5.1

      If we open our border to China prematurely the US border to us will be closed for a very long time.

      Todd’s thinking on this is a little shallow and appears focused on very short term political considerations. He’s going to run into a conflict between US and Chinese interests very soon.

    • gsays 5.2

      The notion that Bridges was the only one delivering on behalf of big $ donations from China can be kicked to touch.

      When Muller opined that China would be one of the first countries we open the border to, I did a double take at the tranny.

      • woodart 5.2.1

        doesnt matter who is driving the nats bus nowdays. it goes where the beijing office wants . kiwis who think the nat party is for them (farmers, small business, etc) are deluding themselves. todd who might display american political icons, but will be under no illusion that the jade dragon has the power.

        • Robert Guyton 5.2.1.1

          Also on Todd's trophy-shelf, Chinese liquor.

          • Jiggy Jones 5.2.1.1.1

            Absolutely. More than one bottle. Those shelves deserve a forensic study…

            His comments re: water are deeply concerning. As are his pathetic attempts to take credit for emissions concessions. He worked against the bill.

            • ianmac 5.2.1.1.1.1

              "He worked against this Bill"

              My thoughts too. Stolid Todd worked hard to get the Bill as small/light as possible – and succeeded.

          • Dennis Frank 5.2.1.1.2

            And what about those Hilary Clinton buttons I keep hearing the mention of?? A dead give-away of hard-right loyalties… 🤑

            • Grumpy 5.2.1.1.2.1

              Hard to get any further right than Hilary Clinton, just ask Bernie and Seth Rich…..

              • McFlock

                🙄

                In the 90s it was Vince Foster the weirdos obsessed over.

                • Grumpy

                  Yep, the list of Arkancide victims just keeps growing…….

                  • McFlock

                    Funnily enough, I've got the same items in a list titled "fucking delusional libels spread by people who discovered thirty years or so ago that reality doesn't fit their worldview so they just decided to make shit up because they're dickheads".

                  • joe90

                    The tRumpicide list grows by the hour..

                    • Grumpy

                      Probably…….the Clinton list stands at just over 50……

                    • McFlock

                      You think both the Clintons had 50 domestic political opponents murdered?

                      And yet Lewinsky, Ken Starr, Comey, and a myriad others are still alive.

  6. I Feel Love 6

    Re the hat, it's doesn't symbolise "inclusiveness" does it? I'm a war buff, I have a U Boat uniform from my NZ Navy grandfather (my family is old navy), if I were seeking a public leadership role I wouldn't bloody display it. He's made a mistake, dog whistling to the loony right, he's alienating the soft centre, which is fine by me.

  7. John G 7

    Is it just me or is there an obvious problem that the Nat party can't or won't see.

    Don Brash – conservative christian ( not 100% sure on that but his father was a minister)

    John Key – no obvious religious conviction

    Bill English- Conservative christian

    Simon Bridges- Conservative christian

    Todd Muller – Conservative christian

    Christopher Luxon- Conservative christian

    Obviously can't say yet about Muller or Luxon, but all have been rejected by the electorate except Key.

    What's that about the separation of church and state ?

  8. barry 8

    The Maga hat is a lightning rod for the left, which is what is designed to be. While we are looking at the hat his hands will be picking our pockets.

    As for the trumpians and the democrats – "you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.".

    • I Feel Love 8.1

      The hat isn't just a "lightning rod" for the left.

    • Gristle 8.2

      Anybody who tries to push a model that Labour=Democrats and National=GOP have a bad understanding of the political landscapes. Republican policies tend to be right of ACT (and whatever Christian party is operatic g today.) Whereas most National MPs would feel right at home in the Democratic Party.

      So if Muller supports Trump's substance then we've got another wolf in sheep's clothing.

      • Grumpy 8.2.1

        Good comment of where the US Democrat Party would fit in our politics. Even more incredible when Clinton is thought of as "left". Most US politicians would fit into National, especially the Clintons, Biden, Pelosi, Feinstein etc….

  9. Dennis Frank 9

    Anyone who can think that the Democrats are to blame for the extreme evil that the Republicans have been practising on the United States during the time of Trump needs to have their compass recalibrated.

    You really can't tell the difference between tribalism & evil?? Unwillingness to acknowledge that the Dems share responsibility for co-creating the partisan divide there signals that you intend to allow your partisan stance to prevent you from seeing things from a dispassionate, balanced perspective. Being realistic becomes impossible.

    "Lefties will be quite comfortable with the way that the public persona of Todd Muller is emerging." Understandable – taking refuge in delusions is a traditional lefty thing.

    Apart from those two points I share your distaste, as expressed, on a feeling level. The MAGA hat symbolises nationalism. The National Party was nationalist (a refuge for closet fascists) before it became liberal, so using it as a symbol for his connection to rural Aotearoa is sensible politics. Making rabid leftists salivate like Pavlov's dog seems an unanticipated consequence – but icing on the cake for him.

    • left_forward 9.1

      Pavlov's dog salivated because it knew it was going to get a food reward, not because it was baying to attack.

      The MAGA hat represents Trumpism, a concept that goes way beyond nationalism. It incorporates corruption, absolutism, anti-science, mysogyny, racism, anti-truth, and so on… all undesirable values that nobody of sane mind would want to see infiltrating into NZ politics.

      For a truly balanced perspective, you would not minimise what the hat symbolises.

    • patricia 9.2

      His casual brushing aside the upset expressed by the Muslim community was telling.

      He more or less said there was no problem with the hat because of …"context",

      So, the context being "He" owned it as a trophy made it ok?

      The "tin ear" was passed over with the National Party Leadership role it seems

      I thought he didn't do "opposition for oppositions" sake?

      • Dennis Frank 9.2.1

        Seeing things from the point of view of others is never easy – for anybody. Nobody would expect any Nat leader to be empathic: tribalism ensures that empathic Nats never emerge as leadership contenders!

        Nats have a political culture based on entitlement due to tradition & vested interests – minority groups are normally viewed either as an irritant to be marginalised or a tedious irrelevance to be ignored.

        We will see, given time, if he can transcend such tribalism. A natural leader will evolve as an individual from experience in any status situation – statesmen (and stateswomen) emerge (rarely) after becoming adept at representing an entire populace as well as their original tribal base. Jacinda has that, right?

        Re being oppositional, I suggest reserving judgment awhile. Balancing the common good with catering to his tribal base will be a severe test for him.

  10. AB 10

    I'm not sure that the MAGA hat will have much impact outside a circle of people who detest the Nats anyway. I would tend to regard collecting paraphernalia as more dweeby than a sign of malevolence. For me it tends to reinforce how uninteresting and unoriginal he is – rather than him being any sort of wolf in sheep's clothing. To me he's coming across as a dull, but imposing, bully – a backward-looking arse-kicker who represents a vision that I hope enough of us want to leave behind.

    • tc 10.1

      Agreed, just a blokey array of trinkets he should've kept in his pool room.

      Judgement fail assuming he cares, don't think he does as you say and he's got a fluffy onside media with the usual cheerleaders to take care of 'perception' anyway.

      Like Wayne's defence of it on TS said, he was being recognised as an up and comer so in that sense he's now arrived.

  11. RRM 11

    Todd's MAGA hat that has a Killary badge on the side of it?

    The Media Party hates all National Party leaders equally. He is just bringing this out into the open.

    Don't let this distract you from the fact that Golriz posed for selfies with Rwandan genocide criminals.

    • Dennis Frank 11.1

      Only one, that I saw. One swallow does not make a summer, as the Brits say…

      • Grumpy 11.1.1

        …….but the one who was a MAGA genocidal war criminal, not so much a swallow as a gulp!

        So Greens support black genocide? Really? Just as illogical as claiming Muller supports Trump but even if he did, so do 50% of American voters.

    • observer 12.1

      That's barely even a take. It's a primary school essay (C-) mixed with a 3 a..m talkback call.

      Zero understanding of the word 'persecution', that's for sure.

      • McFlock 12.1.1

        Or that the MAGA hat literally represents the persecution of women, people of colour, and queer folk. Look at the policies enacted to "maga", and the actions of the yanks who wear it.

        • Grumpy 12.1.1.1

          That's a rather long bow. The Trump administration seems to have a rather large proportion of "…women, people of colour and queer folk…"

          You comment seems to have a bit of Biden's claim that if you dont vote for him "you ain"t black"

          • McFlock 12.1.1.1.1

            I mean, I could point to things like:

            • Muslim ban.
            • DACA.
            • ICE detentions (and conditions, and child kidnappings).
            • Abortion rights.
            • Trans rights.
            • Queer rights.

            But if you don't know about them already, you're wilfully avoiding them.

          • left_forward 12.1.1.1.2

            What is the source of your info Grumpy, or does 'seems to have' infer a conveniently hidden truth. Why would such people want to work for Trump when he promotes policies and groups that harm their own? Sycophants perhaps?

            • Grumpy 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Several very high profile appointees fit those categories. Richard Grenell and Ben Carson are obvious examples.

              What policies does he promote that harm their own? Trump is recognised as a social liberal, indeed it has always been assumed that if he ran for office it would be as a Democrat rather than a Republican.

              • observer

                Obviously nobody thinks he is a social liberal. I assume you don't either. I would give you a link but it's hard to link to all the news, from 4 years of Trump. It would break the site.

                Start with the Supreme Court.

    • RedBaronCV 12.2

      I thought they were shallow comments. Owning/displaying this stuff signals to others that their beliefs are okay and that they may wish to act on them.

      And Ryan looks like quite a young guy but plenty of people somewhat older, a lot of them women, will remember people ( particularly old white male men who dominate parliament) busy stuffing their beliefs down others throats. So a lot of people are wary

      • Chris T 12.2.1

        "I thought they were shallow comments. Owning/displaying this stuff signals to others that their beliefs are okay and that they may wish to act on them."

        Thought it signaled he owns a US political souvenir hat, to go alongside his H Clinton badges.

        • observer 12.2.1.1

          And when asked about he did indeed use the "both sides" line …

          "Asked on Magic Talk's Sunday Cafe show what he thought of Trump, Muller said he was making the US a more politically divided place. But he said Trump's rivals, the Democrats, are also to blame.

          "Over the last 30 or 40 years it's become more and more partisan, and I think that doesn't work for the country as a whole. This is not an anti-Republican or anti-Democrat – I think both sides have built that partisanship to the level that it appears from the outside to be becoming quite destructive."

          That's exactly the problem. He thinks "both sides" is balanced. Trump = not Trump. The NZ public overwhelmingly don't. Even National voters don't.

          • Chris T 12.2.1.1.1

            Personally think you are reading a bit to much into what he is saying, but there you go.

            To me that reads as Trump is divisive, but the attitude of the Dems should also take blame.

            Missing where you are getting the whole "Balanced" both as bad as each other thing from.

  12. Shanreagh 13

    No matter where Todd Muller ends up, if he aspires further without being distracted by foot in mouth aspects like the MAGA hat he needs staff who will say 'hey boss, not sure that hat is a good look' and he needs to be open enough to accept their wisdom. Having been in the situation of advising 2 Ministers (lab/nat) on issues like these in a previous life I would have suggested he take all of his overseas souvenirs down and put them away and leave only ones that involve NZ ie meeting NZ people, opening NZ firms & a few of his family.

    Not sure if he has got this, or will give his staff licence to do this. Many managers feel threatened by this. He does not seem to be able to work it out for himself.

    On the other hand if the electorate was not already beaten about by his lack of awareness on social issues, ie being guided by his church, this glimpse of a not so personable individual gives us all a warning.

    He seems a klutz but then as they say many of his electorates would vote for a dog sitting on a letterbox if it had a blue ribbon around its neck.

    Klutz

    1) a foolishly clumsy person, or (2) a stupid person, especially one who is socially inept

    It won't worry the 'once over lightly Nats' but it will worry some of them who work on a more principled approach.

    I am glad we have had this brief glimpse though.

    If he doesn’t get someone we will have more ‘foot in mouth’ to look forward to.

  13. observer 14

    It's not that he's some closet white supremacist. It's a revealing indication of his complete lack of awareness.

    Let's play a game. You are an ambitious politician. You start plotting to become leader, weeks ago (we now know this was true for Muller). You have one huge advantage – no baggage.

    In fact, every single leader of the opposition in modern history had more baggage than you. They were ex-Ministers or high profile or had a back story (good or bad). Shearer was probably the least known, but even he had already been named NZer of the year.

    So you take 5 minutes to think about anything that might become baggage. You check your social media posts, make sure you haven't had a drunken rant in the distant past. If you got done for trying weed 30 years ago, you fess up. Get it out of the way. Better from you than from a "gotcha" reporter. It won't hurt you politically. You don't need some mysterious adviser to tell you this. It's obvious.

    Then you look around your office and see the MAGA hat. (In fact you see it every day).

    Which of the following do you immediately understand?

    1) It looks bad. Get rid.

    2) It won't matter.

    If you choose #1 then you understand how politics works.

    If you choose #2 you are Todd Muller. Clueless.

    And if you still don't understand, then look up some useful chapters in your guidebook, "Politics For Dummies". The one Hooton gave you to read. Headings include "Opportunity Cost", "Set the Agenda", "Explaining is Losing", etc, etc.

    • ianmac 14.1

      Stolid Todd said his MAGA hat will go with him to his new office. If he does the poor judgement.

      If he leaves it at home then he really had something to hide. Or something.

      • observer 14.1.1

        I imagine Hooton or Kaye will be whispering in his ear "For god's sake, kill the story!".

        That's why people who say it doesn't matter are so wrong. It's a character test. We will find out how stubborn he is. Mistakes aren't fatal, until you dig in and defend.

  14. Sanctuary 15

    Todd has no chance. His ruthless demotions of Bridges and Bennett – when rumour has it has win was razor thin – and the ambitions of Collins means he will be white anted and under mined for the next three months, pending a blood letting once they lose.

    The other hing is this. Labour lost “middle New Zealand” for over a decade thanks to the lazy arrogance of Sue Bradford and the Greens in the section 59 debacle. Those voters seem to have shifted back to Labour due to COVID-19, and it is entirely possible it will take National a decade to win them back.

    • left_forward 15.1

      The other hing? Do you mean when the nation woke up from its long slumber into the realisation that we will not punish or threaten our children with violence, particularly as when we say, we love them?

      If you are still back there Sanctuary, then your view of what has happened since will be skewed.

    • solkta 15.2

      Funny how that issue supposedly chased punters to National when John Key and most of National also supported that legislation, it passed 113 votes to 8.

  15. Treetop 17

    I want to see and hear how Muller goes in the debating chamber and during question time. Also how the displaced National MPs behave.

    Will someone be stupid enough to ask a question about the MAGA hat?

    • observer 17.1

      Ardern doesn't do dirty, but she could have some fun with it. Answering a Q about anything really …

      "Well, Mr Speaker, wearing my Prime Minister's hat, I would say … "

      "I welcome the new leader of the opposition, who threw his hat in the ring …"

  16. observer 18

    Muller just held a press conference announcing his new (old) team. So of course he gets questions about the hat. Not what he wanted to talk about. Reduced to saying "I've never worn it". Yes, that's a direct quote.

    (Are you starting to understand now, Todd? This is not a business meeting, where you decide the agenda. Better learn fast).

  17. Robert Guyton 19

    They'll be rueing the Trump-hat. There is no upside to it. The stratedgy now is to muddy the waters, talk their way out of it. Every forum that features the hat now provides the chance for them to smudge the primary reaction: using soothing words, splitting hairs, dancing on pin-heads and so forth and so on. It's how damage is reduced these days.

  18. Robert Guyton 20

    I think they're preparing Nicola Willis for the top job, when it becomes certain that no one can challenge Jacinda.

  19. Tricledrown 21

    Let's not get carried away 120 days till election night people will be feeling the pinch by then.

    No MMP election has delivered a landslide.

    • observer 21.1

      It won't be a landslide. If Labour and the Greens have a working majority together, say 55 + 10, I'd be delighted.

  20. Jackel 22

    What sort of dick collects American political memorabilia. Oh, that's right he's in the National party, that would explain it. I'm definitely getting rid of my MANGA, make angry nats go away, hat as I'm not sure of it's meaning or cultural context.

  21. James B 23

    Well at least you have your very own, home grown Todd Derangement Syndrome now…lol (well at least on the left)

    I have been coming here daily for years, as I do really enjoy many of the regulars comments and the topics. I seldom comment as if you disagree here you will get nailed to the post, more often than not. It’s can be the left’s echo chamber, except for the Greens here balancing out the left.

    However I feel many of you accuse the right of dirty, nasty, personal attacks, then do it daily here to anyone you disagree with or worse if they are anything right of labour, especially politicians …. Playing the man/woman and not the ball. But its ok when the left do it!

    You talk a big game, following our Prime ministers “kindness” but spewing vile crap about anyone who thinks differently. Its just the same (in relation to the MAGA cap) as the right calling Jacinda a communist because she was chanting “comrade” at a rally… it’s just bullshit.

    Regardless I will still visit every day as I can't help myself"lol, just I do with KB and TDB.

    • Robert Guyton 23.1

      Comments here about Todd Muller's MAGA cap are "vile crap"?

    • I Feel Love 23.2

      "chanted" "comrade" "rally", bullshit, nice try though.

      & the hat is vile, Larry David did an episode of his show where he'd wear it as a form of social distancing, very funny.

      • James B 23.2.1

        If he starts playing out the Trump play book then he's toast anyway, "but as soon as he spoke folks here just started piling on… mind you its half reason I come here lol..

        • I Feel Love 23.2.1.1

          uNo they didn't actually, the first few days, a lot of comments were "he speaks well", check back, coz to be fair he hasn't really said much of substance, the MAGA hat filled that void. Not much "vile crap" at all, care to recant "chanting comrade rally" or link to said "rally"? & “lol” reminds me of another commenter who always ended with “lol”.

    • McFlock 23.3

      "~ Derangement Syndrome" is getting as tired as "~gate".

  22. lebleaux 24

    "I have been coming here daily for years, as I do really enjoy many of the regulars comments and the topics. I seldom comment as if you disagree here you will get nailed to the post, more often than not. It’s can be the left’s echo chamber, except for the Greens here balancing out the left."

    I thought it was just me who came here for entertainment, but it appears I have a friend in James B.

    All this talk of a hat has made me somewhat introspective. I have a couple of brass artillery shell cases – does that make me a war-mongering baby killer – nope, merely the holder of a souvenir that one of my parents purloined 60 years ago. I have a pewter letter opener with a handle in the shape of a platypus – does this make me environment trasher who appropriates other peoples culture – nope it makes me the recipient of a souvenir that was given to me following the presentation of a paper at the Melbourne Convention Centre. What I don't have is a MAGA hat. This is because, or so it appears, that the outrage expressed has made Make Ardern Go Away hats very difficult to come by.

    Enjoy.

    • observer 24.1

      Everyone's moved on, but thank you for keeping the hat story alive.

      86% do not want Ardern to Go Away. Enjoy that.

      • I Feel Love 24.1.1

        New team of Nats, new team of trolls (I've been lurking for years), surely just a coincidence…

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