Thursday, September 08, 2005
I won' t pretend I'm not pleased about this. Or gobsmacked.
But it's not a total surprise in that this kind of screwup is typical of the slipshod way National's campaign has been conducted to date.
I mean, Hodgson screwed up, and the costings of the loan write-off could embarrass Labour, but Brash is screwed.
As if having friends like the Brethren wasn't bad enough.
One of the main things he had over Clark was his personal credibility - odd in a man who changed all his opinions on assuming control of the National Party, but there it is.
And now it's gone.
Why? Let's work it though.
When he spoke to Paul Holmes, he said he didn't know who was putting out the nasty pamphlets. Strictly speaking, this could well be true. It's not as if the fact that he knew the Brethren were planning some pamphlet campaign or other was sufficient proof to go public with.
In retrospect, this is merely unfortunate.
Then, after the origin of the campaign was revealed, he walked out on the press rather than talk about it.
He could have come clean and explained his position then, and quite possibly not lost anything by it. Not doing so was something of a moral failing we might charitably suggest was brought on by too much political coaching. But not enough to do the political thing and just lie.
Instead, he looks evasive.
And Gerry Brownlee continued to tell anyone who will listen that National knew nothing.
Then, in a fantastic interview by bFM's Noelle McCarthy (audio), Brash just admits it. He knew in advance that the Brethren were planning a pamphlet campaign.
After that, again talking to the press, he was unable or unwilling to explain why he didn't come clean earlier.
Now he has a explanation, if only in relation to the Holmes quote, and it's a bit late for it to wash.
I do feel a little sorry for him as a person, but some of the qualities that led him to this point are the same ones that would make him a disaster as a Prime Minister.
I have before now professed a distrust of "strong leadership". That doesn't mean I want a political incompetent in charge of my country. Least of all in an MMP parliament.
The debate should be good viewing.
And the pamphlet campaign, it seems, will still go ahead.
Anybody thinking of punting for Labour on Centerbet should probably take whatever odds they're offering now.
As I say, credit to Noelle M for the interview (and Russell B for noting the critical fact).
Of course, you might prefer to hear a interview where the politician is given all the slack he could ask for; my interview with Rod Donald should be up on Scoop sometime soon.
Or to you might want to read a short news article based on exactly one fact.
Or a New, Brief Hood: Suggested Excuses for the use of Dr Donald Brash in this Evening's Televised Leaders Debate.