Friday, September 09, 2005



Duplicitious Don

To return to one of my semi-regular themes, one of the reasons people like Don Brash is that he is perceived to be an "anti-politician", driven by principle and conviction; an honest man rather than a lying scumbag like all the rest.

That perception was looking fairly untenable in light of his repeated equivocation, duplicity and convenient "memory lapses" over Iraq, nuclear ships, and US thinktanks. It ought to be well and truly shot after his performance over the backing of his campaign by the extremist Exclusive Bretheren sect. Initially he declared that the smear pamphlets had nothing to do with him, and that he knew nothing about them. Then, after four days of denial, he suddenly came clean and announced that actually, he did know about them - approved them, even - though he hadn't read them. Finally, last night we were treated to the unedifying spectacle of "honest Don" trying to claim that he hadn't been lying or misleading anyone with his repeated denials, because he hadn't known 100% that the pamphlets that he was being asked about were those the Bretheren had told him about. It's this sort of technical weaseling which gives politicians (and spindoctors) a bad name, and while if Brash is to be believed, he may not have told any outright lies, there's no doubt that he was "economical with the truth" and deliberately sought to mislead the public about the extent of his knowledge and relationship with the Bretheren. That's par for the course for politicians - but for one who has sold himself on his honesty, it ought to be a death-knell.

11 comments:

The problem I have with Don's "honesty" {as opposed to his policies, and what he represents} is that he is a bright person, an sharp cookie, not stupid.

He can relate economic matters like a machine. He's been at the top of his field for a long time. A person doesn't succeed at that level without having a sharp recall of facts and a great memory for detail.

But as your post says, time and time again, he 'can't recall this' 'I don't recall saying that' I met them once, no , maybe 2 or three times'.

This is the clincher for me "he deliberately sought to mislead the public about the extent of his knowledge and relationship with the Bretheren"

And can we REALLY believe Brownlee when he says the cult Exclusive Brethren issue was NOT DISCUSSED between members of the Nat campaign team from Monday on? Really, that is stretching credibility just too far.

Posted by Aj : 9/09/2005 03:03:00 PM

Ah, it must be hard - pretending to be incompetent so the public won't decide that you're evil.

It really does look like they had a sit down, looked hard at what they'd said and when, and tried to come up with some tortured story that made them look like half-wits instead of lying half-wits. They'd better hope everyone manages to keep their story straight until Election day - it's a heck of a lot easier when you tell the truth from the beginning. Covering up isn't easy in a nation where the media is at least vaguely honest and the bulk of the population doesn't get it's news from right wing talkback hosts.

Posted by Tiberias : 9/09/2005 06:11:00 PM

Brash cant jsut say "that pamphlet is from that church that visited me" that would be offensive if he was mistaken and quite possibly political suicide.
If he said "I think it might be that church" that would possibly be the most honest thing to do but again could get him in trouble if they denied it.
If he said "I have an idea but I am not sure so I wont comment" that might be the strongest but it still looks a bit funny.
I dont think the credibility thing is that bad for national in this case BUT it is a good distraction for labour so is net a good strategy for them to focus on it.

Posted by Genius : 9/09/2005 06:37:00 PM

it's the ol' is it cock-up or is it conspiracy?

and the Nats really really need it to be read by the public as cock-up.

i suspect we will never know the real truth - those on the left with hold with conspiracy, those on the right with cock-up, and the reality could be a mix of the two.

Posted by span : 9/09/2005 06:40:00 PM

the best thing Brash could have done was to have said, when asked if he knew who had produced the pamphlets, "i don't see how that's relevant - i know that National didn't."

Posted by span : 9/09/2005 06:42:00 PM

Don has really put himself in a bad space this close to election day.
He and all his senior spokespeople have argued very strongly over several days that they knew nothing about the pamphlets, until finally Don says ,well ,yes I did meet with them in August and they said they would be putting out these pamphlets to get rid of this Lousy Labour Government and I said that was fine.
He never shared this meeting with anyone else,
so we are told.

Has his experience as the Governor of the RB (his main claim to fame) created a loner who doesn't share anything with his collegues. He has said as much on one interview.

This is not the type of person we need for PM in my opinion

Posted by Puriri : 9/09/2005 08:32:00 PM

I was living in the US when the whole Clinton/Monicagate thing was going down - listening to Don try and rationalise his way out of the box he's drawn for himself by basically saying in essence "you weren't listening closely I was choosing my words and being very subtle" really reminds me of Clinton arguing every so earnestly over the meaning of "is"

Posted by Anonymous : 9/09/2005 11:32:00 PM

Anon: snap! I had written some snark about how similar this was to Clinton's equivocation over the meaning of "is", wondering whether those righties (and there are a few who, while they weren't running blogs at the time, were around on usenet) who had been so virulent in denouncing it (or snearing at it later) would show some consistency and condemn it from Brash as well, but decided to cut that bit.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 9/10/2005 01:17:00 AM

not cock up and not conspiracy. the fella was visited by a group who said they were going to attack labour. some time later don is asked whether National produced them. No. Did he know. Strictly at that time he did not know because he had not made the connection to the previous visit. he had a suspicion but was genuinely not sure. as soon as he knew he came clean. it is understandable that labour are dragging for all they are worth. It is nowhere close out to the outright lies of clark. I look forward to reading your criticism of the corruption at NZQA and the Printers Union using public money to back labour

Posted by sagenz : 9/10/2005 03:43:00 AM

Actually, he was asked, "What do you know about the leaflets?" and in return he said "absolutely nothing". That's an unequivocal statement.

Now, he's trying to get out of it by saying, "Oh, THOSE leaflets, I didn't know it was THOSE leaflets." And maybe technicall that's the nitpicky literal truth, but the substance, like with Clinton, is a lie.

Posted by Ghet : 9/10/2005 01:27:00 PM

Just an aside to the Don problem - I've been wondering when someone would ask him if he thinks the EB cult are 'mainstream'.
So far no-one has. I think he's said that peole who support National are mainstream. The EB cult support National. Therefore, the EB's are mainstream.
This is a very scary thought, given the fact that even the Nat's own Nick Smith called the EB cult 'a very dangerous sect' back in thhe 90's.

Posted by Aj : 9/10/2005 08:08:00 PM