For some time Matt McCarten has had a profile in New Zealand politics, because he has been able to express himself rather well. For he has not been much of a success story, having been President of the New Labour Party then the now virtually defunct Alliance Party. Bear in mind the Alliance peaked in vote in 1993, when first past the post made it a safe protest vote at 18%, 1996 saw it drop to just over 10% and when it was almost certain to get into power in 1999 it dropped to just under 8%. After losing its personality cult leader of Jim Anderton, McCarten's Alliance fell out of Parliament in 2002. Quite why he still has a column in the NZ Herald remains a mystery, and the Herald should think very carefully about whether he still deserves it after his latest rant. For rant is all it can be described as, being as devoid of fact and pithy analysis as many talkback callers.
We start with a headline that tells us that McCarten basically doesn't believe in liberal democracy. Quite something for a man who has had such high level involvement in a party that sought power and was part of a coalition government for one term. The "idiots rule" at poll booths. Unlike Matt, who knows better. Not that many of us who comment in politics don't sometimes wonder why people vote as they do, but for him to suggest that voters are stupid implies he is better than they are, and should make their decisions for them. I guess given his political heritage that may not be all that surprising.
Of course he doesn't mean New Zealand voters (yet) but rather Americans. Nothing like bashing a whole nationality of people, particularly Americans. I mean had he said Indians, or Chinese, or Kenyans or Samoans or... but he wouldn't would he? It's ok to bash people according to their nationality because in Matt's world white Americans have power, and can be insulted and denigrated. Not that he would tolerate anyone saying people of his nationality are stupid with "naivete and proud ignorance" (sic).
Then he has his own vision of the Bush years "Two years ago the Republicans, led by that boofhead, George Bush the younger, idiotically ran their own form of Rogernomics: giving the rich huge tax refunds; slashing public services". Matt did you actually follow US public policy over that period or just fit it into your binary left-right framework that fits New Zealand rather well, but doesn't fit the US? Where do punitive tariffs on steel imports fit into Rogernomics, where does bailing out banks, where does expanding state education ("No Child Left Behind" was a bipartisan initiative with that known "Republican" Ted Kennedy), where does increasing state spending and deficits fit into Rogernomics Matt? Yes there was a tax cut, which applied from middle to upper incomes, but slashing public services? No. Any privatisations? No, even though USPS, Amtrak and the FAA are all easy targets.
No, you see Matt is dumbing down US politics so you can understand it, except it's so dumb he's wrong. It is why the Tea Party opposed so many Republican nominations for the mid term elections and why the Tea Party has specifically rejected the past politics of both main parties. Such details confuse Matt, he obviously forgot Rob Muldoon was one of New Zealand's most socialist Prime Ministers, because he opposed him at the time.
Matt ignores that "going to war against two countries" was in part retaliation for 9/11. Of course he would rather the US sit back, take 9/11, feel guilty and let the Taliban be emboldened and maintain their totalitarian rule in Afghanistan without interruption. He would deny it, but that is precisely the implication of his statement.
He continues to be wilfully blind on Obama "."He used his majority in both houses of Congress to get an economic stimulus to save greedy capitalists from themselves and then introduced a health system to cover just about everyone who got sick". Actually Matt, the Bush Administration was playing big spend ups and bailouts first, but you were ignoring things at the time. The "health system" is compulsory health insurance, which you opposed when it was actually Roger Douglas's policy for New Zealand in a slightly different form. Too complex I know, just blank it all out Matt.
"Obama also saved millions of skilled jobs by nationalising the car industry" Steady on Matt, keep a tissue handy. Your economic illiteracy only gets you excited by seeing money taken off of millions of people somehow "saving jobs" by going to a few thousand.
"The liberals and progressives have been sidelined to a large degree. In New Zealand, the power of corporations and wealthy individuals in United States politics seems extraordinary" Yes you noticed how rich all those Tea Party supporters and American voters are. Oh that's right, they didn't decide things really did they? The US media was completely against Obama from the start, not that you'd notice this on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NPR, PBS, New York Times or the LA Times etc, but Matt doesn't bother consuming much foreign news, obviously.
"Can you imagine a corporation in this country being able to spend as much money as they liked to get a policy they want adopted, or unlimited funds to get a favourite candidate elected?" You mean like the campaign for electoral reform? Oh you mean spending their own money as much as they liked - their own money. However, you think it isn't their money do you? You think anyone with money must have taken it from someone somehow. Bit of envy is it, or just disbelief as to how free people actually function on a grand scale?
"the calibre of the "teabag party" Republican candidates are just plain scary. Many of their serious contenders oppose abortion openly, even in cases of child rape or incest on the basis that it is "God's plan". One of them opposed masturbation. Others argued that if they didn't get elected their supporters would take up arms to overthrow the country ."
Many? Really Matt? Or is that just your own spin again? Yes that's right. One opposed masturbation once yes, but it wasn't her policy platform, and your party had Alamein Kopu - one of Parliament's greatest non-entities, and screaming Pam Corkery, an enormous intellect there. Maybe had you quoted the Tea Party website which had only three policies you might have had some substance there: fiscal responsibility, smaller government and lower taxes. Hard to paint that as hysterical madness isn't it?
"Attendees at their rallies carried assault weapons" How many Matt? Do a handful at hundreds of rallies count at significant? Does this not happen with Democrats?
"The leader of the Congress Republicans campaigned actively for a candidate who dressed in Nazi regalia," Yes as a joke Matt, and your Sandra Lee once compared what happened to Maori as a Holocaust. Given Obama's past links to far-left radicals and a pastor who blamed the US for 9/11 and made numerous anti-semitic remarks, you might want to look in your own ideological backyard.
Then, finally, Matt sees this as advice for Phil Goff! "Working people need a party with specific visionary policies. Merely being a more pastel version of the other party won't get you elected next year, Phil."
Why not? It worked for John Key, he was Labour lite par excellence. Your party had a vision, and it didn't get close to the 5% threshold once it lost its "great leader" Jim Anderton.
The message Matt didn't get from this is that many Americans became scared at vast overspending by government of THEIR money (Matt doesn't understand that taxpayers think their money is theirs!) and borrowing ever more that will have to be paid off. He didn't get that maybe a lot of Americans WANT more of their money back, and don't like ever growing government doing more for them.
You see Matt, while you and your ideological compadres were thinking the USSR was simply an alternative way of looking at things, and it was best to be neutral in the Cold War, Americans by and large did not.
It would help if you took down the hammer and sickle in your brain and opened your eyes. You're more prejudiced than most Republicans, you're more stupid than many of them too because you can't even engage in basic research or read sufficiently widely to figure out what was going on in the US.
US voters rejected Obama because he was elected on a vapid bubble of hype, empty slogans of "change" and "can we fix it, yes we can". There was nothing behind this but the hype of believing one man could make people's lives better. That bubble has been burst, and Americans fear being pushed into second place by an Administration that keeps spending far more money than it gets in taxes.
Sadly, because you can't think beyond your ranting leftwing cage, you spout out empty nonsense which has at best a few grains of truth in it.