The dirtiest election campaign backfires

Yesterday looked like it was going to be a pretty bad day. There were scandalous revelations, blatant lies, unrestrained corruption gnawing at the very heart of the left. At least, that’s what we were promised.

But in the end what we got was a pretty standard, decade-old MP’s letter to Immigration asking about timeframes for a constituent(1) and a chorus cry from people who were never going to support anything Labour did anyway for Cunliffe to resign.

What happened next was interesting.

As the story developed – or rather, undeveloped, because a few pictures of someone’s wife standing next to Rick Barker is not the Zimmerman Telegram – I saw a lot of people on my (admittedly leftwing, Wellington-focused) Twitter feed coming together to call bullshit on the whole thing.

https://twitter.com/nintendoug/status/479142090039754752

My personal favourite:

Even the satire accounts got into it:

And of course, there were posts at The Standard along the same lines: (2)

This isn’t a redemption story by any means. It’s not smart to issue categorical denials of something when you’ve been in politics for 15 years – but of course it’s also not smart to prevaricate and say you’ll check, because then Paddy Gower follows you around with a microphone all day demanding a yes/no answer (and check out the audio of Cunliffe’s stand-up yesterday for some fantastic examples of journos demanding an answer which will give them a good headline.)

But it is, really, a story of hope. Because you have to ask yourself just how desperate the Nats have to be if their first kinghit on Cunliffe is an 11-year-old pro-forma MP’s letter which says nothing more than “how long is this going to take, yo.”

I expect there’ll be more – I figured this election year was going to be nasty – but we know their game and we are refusing to play it.

(1) This is where Matthew Hooton demands Donghua Liu’s 2003 street address because what if David Cunliffe’s office drafted a letter about someone not from his actual electorate, huh? HUH? CORRUPTION!

(2) This is where the right accuses us of acting on orders from the Party. Nope, just a simple case of great minds thinking alike!

ETA: no, this morning’s poll isn’t great, but I defer to Dimpost’s analysis on that one.

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