Thursday, October 30, 2008

Liarbour's Chief Campaign Strategist: What does she REALLY know?




Dear Leader is denying knowledge of the H-Fee smear.
But is she being truthful?
Here's what Stuff ran on election campaign strategies a few weeks back.
In Miss Clark, Labour not only has the winner of the past three election campaigns, but a politician so experienced and so shrewd that she is serving as Labour's chief strategist in this campaign.
So would she know her party president was out of the country digging dirt? Surely she communicates with the man? Stuff offers more detail.
Within Labour, the key campaign decisions are made by a strategy committee comprising Miss Clark, her deputy, Michael Cullen, chief of staff Heather Simpson, party president Mike Williams and MPs Annette King, Trevor Mallard, Pete Hodgson and Darren Hughes.
In 1999 its members spoke daily on a morning conference call, but Mr Williams, now in his 44th election here and overseas, says the team is so experienced that is no longer necessary.
It now meets once a week – on Monday nights in the Beehive – to plan the week ahead. Daily decision making is left in the hands of individuals, who communicate via telephone and text messages.
So I wonder what was discussed on Monday at the weekly meeting in the Beehive?
Now you might think the chief campaign strategist might want to know what was coming up two or three days hence, wouldn't you?
Surely, the much fabled neutron bomb would be discussed, wouldn't it?
Surely, last Monday Mike Williams might have said he was going to be out of the country, unless he was already out of the country. Wouldn't his absence have been noticed?
And this Monday, wouldn't you think he would give some kind of report on how things went?
Are we really expected to believe Liarbour's Chief campaign strategist did not know what her party president and campaign committee member was planning?
Remember, this election is about trust.
There's no doubt that in this general election, Helen Clark is wearing the pants in Labour's household.
In what will be her third attempt as Prime Minister to win the election for her party, she has placed herself firmly behind the driving wheel by declaring she is now Labour's chief political strategist, unlike the 2005 election when Cabinet Minister Pete Hodgson was in the box seat.
Hodgson is seen as a "good and loyal" trouper by top Labour ranks. But when it comes to outright cunning and stealth, Hodgson is not Clark's match, which is why he has been pushed aside.
Fran adds later:
The Prime Minister moved herself into the box seat after party president Mike Williams was caught out telling porkies to journalists over suggestions he made at Labour's annual conference suggesting that Labour could get some electoral benefit from Government advertising.
The party hierarchy is still clearly in the frame. Particularly Williams, who is Labour's chief fundraiser and party enforcer and general secretary Mike Smith, who has to keep tabs on the advertising spend to prevent a rerun of the 2005 campaign blowout.
Clark's chief of staff Heather Simpson - colloquially known as "H2" - is driving a considerable amount of policy formation and Cabinet ministers know it.
But when it comes to taking the credit (or the blame) for the election outcome, Clark has set herself up as numero uno. If Labour loses, it will be that much easier for caucus detractors to persuade her to stand aside so a new leader can be elected or roll her in a post-election coup.
Although senior colleagues do not say so publicly, among some of them there is considerable unease Clark has concentrated so much power at the top - "Doesn't she trust us?" one insider asked.
More importantly, if Labour ends up in another post-election spending scandal, Clark will be too close to the frontline to escape collateral damage.

1 comment:

Psycho Milt said...

You know how Labour keeps desperately clutching at straws, trying to connect Key to any kind of dodgy dealing they can think of? Makes them look ridiculous, doesn't it. Now review your last few months' posts on Helen Clark...