The Dim-Post

July 27, 2013

Try winning the race by running faster

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:45 am

More fine examples of the Pundit’s Fallacy in the Herald recently. According to Fran O’Sullivan Labour leader David Shearer needs to ‘cosy up to business bosses‘, while John Armstrong wants him to ‘move to the center’ and:

be more strategic when it comes to picking fights with National. But he needs to pick some fights with the Greens

If you swallowed poison and begged Armstrong for help he’d advise you to move to the right and be mean to the Green Party, while O’Sullivan’s relationship to New Zealand’s CEOs is roughly that of a twelve year old girl to a boy band: it’s impossible for anyone to adore them too much and no problem that can’t be solved by simply loving them more.

Shearer’s (and Labour’s) problems don’t have anything to do with political positioning, or loving CEOs. Poll after poll shows us that the public like Labour’s policies and they don’t like the government’s policies. Why would you want to ‘move to the center’ when you already occupy the center? Shearer’s problem is that he’s not a very good opposition leader, and the public are disinclined to elect someone obviously incompetent to run their country. The solution to that is that Shearer needs to be a good opposition leader. That means NOT looking like a mumbling, stuttering  half-wit on the news every night, and it also means having MPs and staff who break good stories and score hits against the government. Ideally it means his party stops inflicting PR disasters on itself every couple of weeks.

32 Comments »

  1. Armstrong also noted that Simon Bridges showed guile beyond his years by putting the Tusker Peters in his place by uttering “I will speak more slowly” ..In Armstrong’s Golem like devotion to the Precious party, this amounts to a Prime Minister in waiting type intelligence. Such rapier wit.

    Comment by Ben — July 27, 2013 @ 10:30 am

  2. Trouble is, if Shearer’s going to let Whaleoil determine party policy, he’s going to listen to them too – his roof-painting beneficiary hallucination, the man in the Napier pub, the getting tough on teachers speech all indicate that he considers a half dozen soft National voters to be somehow more significant than the eight hundred thousand who stayed at home in 2011. He doesn’t “look” like a mumbling halfwit – he is one. I also disagree with the “couple of weeks” Alas, it happens more often than that.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 27, 2013 @ 11:07 am

  3. Listening to TV3 news last night while driving home they had David Cunliffe giving an assurance Labour would repeal the GCSB legislation, followed by David Shearer. Cunliffe was decisive, Shearer a bit less so. TV3 of course framed Cunliffe’s comments as a leadership issue and that’s part of the problem – Shearer is hopeless but no one else, it seems, is allowed to shine.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Cunliffe-takes-mic-at-anti-GCSB-meeting/tabid/370/articleID/306521/Default.aspx

    Comment by MeToo — July 27, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  4. You far left idiots have helped make Shearer the mumbling fool he appears to be by constantly undermining his self confidence. Go ahead, make the extreme left Great Red Hope your leader. He’ll make Julia Gillard’s leadership look like a good idea. Australian Labor saw the benefit in moving to the right with Rudd. The fervent reds in NZ Labour apparently can’t learn from anything. (Why they’re reds in the first place I suppose.)

    Comment by Redbaiter — July 27, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

  5. The confederate flag speaks volumes.

    Comment by Paul — July 27, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

  6. Still no luck finding Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate Russell? Keep searching, guy. Keep searching.

    Comment by Judge Holden — July 27, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

  7. Shearer needs to own his mumblefuckness – “so what if I stumble over my words, my message (and/or) principles are still the same – unlike our high school winning debate team PM who would readily argue that bears don’t shit in the woods if it suited his principle of ths moment”

    Comment by PoliticallyCorrectedNZ — July 27, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

  8. Isn’t saying “Shearer can only win by becoming a competent leader” basically the same as saying “Win the race by running faster”?

    Comment by Hugh — July 27, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

  9. “Isn’t saying “Shearer can only by becoming a competent leader” basically the same as saying “Win the race by running faster?

    No, “leader of the Labour Party being a competent leader” is necessary. It just so happens that Shearer isn’t competent, as a manager, ideologically or whatever.

    It’s very easy for people to say, “do not adjust your TV, reality is at fault”, but the reality is that Shearer, and alas, the Labour caucus members that made him leader, are NOT competent, and worse still, people can SEE that.

    Maybe, possibly maybe, perception is reality, but incompetent management of incompetent reality is NOT reality.

    Even Professor Henry Higgins won’t make Shearer PM.

    Shearer is an incompetent, unprincipled and spineless moron. No amount of spin will conceal that.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 27, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

  10. Muldoon called Bill Rowling a “shiver looking for a spine to run down”. Maybe that was true, but Bill Rowling had principles and Shearer has none, nor competence, and one shouldn’t insult the electorate for seeing that in the polls. They know that Shearer isn’t a Prime Minister in waiting. Everyone knows that.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 27, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  11. >Shearer is an incompetent, unprincipled and spineless moron. No amount of spin will conceal that.

    That’s extremely harsh. I think he’s just not a very good leader of the Opposition. I don’t doubt his competence at other things, and his prior work was admirable. He seems like a nice, thoughtful kind of person. Unfortunately, that’s not what was required to challenge Key. If Shearer were actually the PM, I think he might be really good at it. But I doubted his ability to win it from the moment I laid eyes on him (when Matthew Hooton annointed him “the next Labour Prime Minister”, something that I personally considered a virtual kiss of death).

    Comment by Ben Wilson — July 27, 2013 @ 3:51 pm

  12. I’m pretty certain that, were Shearer to be replaced, Labour’s polls will not turn around. There’d be a temporary bump, but there almost always is after a leadership change.

    Comment by Hugh — July 27, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

  13. What if they replaced him with Justin Bieber?

    Comment by Ben Wilson — July 27, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

  14. “when Matthew Hooton annointed him “the next Labour Prime Minister”, something that I personally considered a virtual kiss of death”

    funnily enough, in oppositeland the guy is almost always right in his predictions of opposition politics… (of course in oppositeland Matthew Hooton is Nandor Tanczos)…

    Comment by nommopilot — July 27, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

  15. >funnily enough, in oppositeland the guy is almost always right in his predictions of opposition politics

    To me, what was off was just how keen on the idea Hooton was. He’s avowedly right wing, so why did he like Shearer so much? Interestingly, a lot of right wingers I know seem to like him more, the more they hear about him. But I doubt that will translate into them voting for him.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — July 27, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

  16. “a lot of right wingers I know seem to like him more”

    That’s the problem. I don’t suppose that it’s a vast right-wing conspiracy to have Shearer in place as Labour leader because he’s National’s best hope (which he is), it’s simply that he’s the man who either threatens them the least by being useless (which he is) or by having beliefs (insofar as his own weak mind is able to accommodate something as as strong as a belief) that align with their own (which they would, if he knows what a belief is).

    “But I doubt that will translate into them voting for him.”

    Exactly. Now try to get the ABC club to understand that. Lots of luck…

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 27, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

  17. “That’s extremely harsh.”

    That would be harsh if he intended to do something of little consequence, but he has ashpirashuns to control the destiny of four million. He’d better be up to the job, or get out.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — July 27, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

  18. “The confederate flag speaks volumes.”

    It is meant to dimwit. All Stalinist/ statist speech codes must be confronted and eventually abolished. They should not exist in any true democracy. Its never what is said that offends you anyway, it is merely that you cannot bear to have your assumed moral superiority challenged.

    Comment by Redbaiter — July 27, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

  19. No-one’s saying you can’t use a confederate flag, ‘baiter. But we can judge you on that choice. As well as the drivel you spout.

    Comment by Flashing Light — July 27, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

  20. We will know we live in a democracy when everyone is happy to see a confederate flag

    Comment by Hugh — July 27, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

  21. the Dukes of Hazard test🙂

    Comment by Sacha — July 27, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

  22. I wonder how many slaves Redsterbaiter owns?

    As for Shearer, he’d probably make a decent Foreign Minister, but leading a major political party is quite another thing. I’m still of the view that Cunliffe would be the most effective candidate to do a Kevin Rudd-style spill. If worst comes to worst, is there a Michelle Boag of the Left who has the cojones to flush out the ‘dead wood’?

    Comment by deepred — July 28, 2013 @ 12:36 am

  23. When people criticise Redbaiter’s ideas, it’s Stalinist groupthink and Orwellian repression.

    When Redbaiter criticises people’s ideas, it’s a fearless crusade for freedom and human rights.

    Comment by Hugh — July 28, 2013 @ 2:57 am

  24. The problem is that Cunliffe doesn’t have the power to clean out the dead wood. There is a substantial minority of caucus who have been in place for around 30 years, will continue to be elected by their local LEC’s and could well decide it is more in their interests to run campaign of destabilisation against a Cunliffe administration to try and get it rolled in favour of something they can more easily control. The best thing the Rudd coup had going was the mass resignation of key opponents – I don’t think Cunliffe will be so fortunate…

    Comment by Richard29 — July 28, 2013 @ 9:06 am

  25. I wish someone would update the Redbaiter bot. It seems to have the same rudimentary AI it had in Usenet days.

    Comment by Richard — July 28, 2013 @ 11:29 am

  26. Shearer actually gave a pretty good speech yesterday at the GCSB protest in Auckland. Set piece events aren’t really a problem for him, so is there a job for a politician that only involves big speeches, and avoids having to think on your feet?

    Comment by Alex Braae — July 28, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  27. Set piece events aren’t really a problem for him, so is there a job for a politician that only involves big speeches, and avoids having to think on your feet?

    President of the United States of America?

    Comment by Flashing Light — July 28, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

  28. Governor General?

    Comment by Hugh — July 28, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

  29. Gosh, Fran O’Sullivan has come a long way from the halcyon days of Malcolm Gramaphone’s anarchist underground magazine ‘Counter-Culuture Free Press’ back in the ’70s…
    ref: http://www.thrall.orconhosting.net.nz/11nzunderground.html

    Comment by id2d — July 28, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

  30. Wow. so Fran was also a groupie in the 70’s. She’s been doing it for decades. Still, you have to admit she had impeccable taste back then. Mr Gramaphone sounds like a lovely chap and what a cool name for their lovechild: God Gabriel Galaxy Gramaphone!

    Comment by jps — July 28, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

  31. Your comment on John Armstrong was beneath you Danyl. I have known John for 30 years but wouldn’t have a clue how he votes and that is why he is so respected in the Gallery .You may be frustrated with Labours polling at the moment but don’t shoot the messenger – if I wanted inane attacks on anyone who criticizes the Govt I can read The Standard – from you I expect a higher level of analysis .If for example the public are happy with Labours policies ,and I am not sure that you can be as sure as you are that this is the case,why the huge gap in the polls ? It has to be more than the points you make doesn’t it ?

    Comment by Mark — July 29, 2013 @ 12:04 am

  32. I have known John for 30 years but wouldn’t have a clue how he votes and that is why he is so respected in the Gallery

    I’ve only been reading Armstrong’s columns for about ten years – although I’ve read a few earlier ones roaming through the Herald archives. Mostly his writing flatters whichever main party happens to be in power (so they reward him with access, so he rewards them with more flattery) but his respect for pre-meltdown ACT and contempt for any party to the left of Labour are pretty strong indicators.

    Comment by danylmc — July 29, 2013 @ 9:19 am


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