Trumpwatch: The Art of Deflection





The Art of Deflection

The Right make a big thing out of  Personal Responsibility. It is core to their philosophy of the primacy of the Individual, as National’s website points out again* and again*  and again;

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With the Cult of Hyper Individualism, “taking Personal Responsibility”  is the corollary of the “Small State” and reduced government services. The Right demand Personal Responsibility from everyone. (So when an individual ‘fails’, the fault – and responsibility – must lie with  him/her, rather than the State’s tilting the playing field toward the rich and the powerful.)

The leadership of the National Party have demonstrated on numerous occassions how ‘dedicated’ they  are to their  philosophy of Personal Responsibility;



When faced with a failing policy and worsening social and economic indicators, National automatically defaults to three standard deflections;

#1 Blame the previous Labour government

#2 Blame ‘welfare abuse’/Release a ‘welfare abuse’ story in the media

#3 Blame Global Financial Crisis or similar overseas event

If the problem is Auckland housing-related, there is a fourth default-deflection the Nats can rely on;

#4 Blame Auckland Council/RMA/both.)



Works a treat!

Doing it  right-wing style – why take personal  responsibility when there are perfectly good scapegoats available?

The newly-elected right-wing Donald Trump administration  appears to have taken lessons from National’s strategy for blame-gaming over the last eight years;



Trump’s three default positions appears to be;

#1 Blame the media

#2 Blame Obama/Clinton/government departments

#3 Blame the rest of the world

Blaming Hillary Clinton also appears to be a personal favourite of  some Trump’s supporters. Faced with their hero – an unstable, thin-skinned narcissist in the White House busily tweeting bizarre comments in the early hours of the morning – pointing to Clinton as a “worse alternative” is the only possible  strategy remaining to mitigate Trump’s increasingly  irrational behaviour.

Without the bogey(wo)man of a “worse alternative”, one is ultimately left with assessing Trump’s actions and utterances on it’s own merits of what is, or isn’t, acceptable behaviour.

After all, for most left-wingers and liberals in New Zealand, it can be generally agreed that our former Dear Leader, John Key, is nowhere as bad as odious characters throughout history such as Franco, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Pinochet, et al…

But,  would you still vote for him?

As with National, the Republican Party is also big on  personal responsibility;



Taking personal responsibility – the Right-wing way.

Time for a beer…




National Party: Our values

National Party: Speech to National Party Central North Island regional conference – John Key

NZ Herald: Transcript – John Key’s speech at the National Party conference

New York Post: Trump blames military for SEAL’s death

NDTV: Donald Trump Blames Oscars Fail On Show’s Political Tone

BBC: Trump blames Obama for town hall protests and security leaks

TVNZ News: Trump blames FBI for failing to stop media leak

Daily KOS: Trump Blames Jews for Anti-Semitic Attacks on Cemeteries and Elsewhere

NPR: Trump Blames Media For Downfall Of National Security Adviser Flynn

CBS News: Trump blames media for rift with intelligence community

ABC News: Donald Trump defends travel ban, blames computer glitches, protesters for airport chaos

The Australian: Trump blames fraud for popular vote

The National Herald: Trump Blames China Over North Korea Nuclear Program

The Economist: Blame Mexico!

New York Post: Trump blames Clinton for media reports on his Russian ties

Fairfax media: Republican Party office firebombed, Donald Trump blames Hillary Clinton

The Week: Donald Trump on blaming Hillary Clinton for everything: ‘Why not?’

The Guardian: Trump blames sexual assault claims on collusion between Clinton and media

Previous related blogposts

Trumpwatch: The Drum(pf)s of War

Trumpwatch: “… then they came for the LGBT”







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  1. I guess the old saying applies here, “Once a Privileged Tory, always a Privileged Tory”.

    People who thought Trump was some kind of anti-establishment figure are in for a shocking disappointment. Their ‘hero’ is an much a One Percenter as his wealthy cronies.

  2. When is the last time Trump, Key, or any other Tory took responsibility for their corrupt ideology?

    It’s always someone else’s fault. Especially when they can’t make capitalism work for the benefit of all

      • I don’t think you can tar the Greens with the same brush, CG. They seem adept at keeping their noses out of the trough.

    • As we know, personal responsibility doesn’t extend to a Ministerial Warrant despite various pledges and weasel words.

      Personal responsibility only ever extends to a ‘unit’, or ‘set of units’ as members of a Public – never ever to the person demanding it.
      The mantra used to be “with rights come responsibilities”. It seems they forgot about the ‘rights’ in their quest to enforce the (personal) responsibilities.

      It’s now the one way street – the street that leads to totalitarianism and fascism and it’s often a lovely little tree-lined right-of-way with trendy folk seated at gorgeous cafes serving soy milk lattes, frappachinos et al.
      A few metres behind are the slave labourers.

  3. I see one little problem.You are so busy looking at Trump you are oblivious to the alternative which is even worse!If Trump is impeached we get another neo -con to the Presidentcy.Mike Pense is a U.S.A First striker[along with Clinton,McCain,most of the Democratic Party upper echolons.,most of the CIA, most of the U.S m.s.m.,and the military industrial complex.A first strike on Russia ,which has been seriously discussed for the last five years,will guarantee the glorious hegomany of the U.S.A over the world for the next thousand years.An empire of the Exceptional people over the unexceptional.Does this sound a wee bit familiar?The only downside is that if anything goes wrong we all risk extermination.The upside is that it will solve the transgender bathroom problem,as we who survive the first blast will have no appendages left and will be all transgender !

  4. Wasn’t our former PM John Key a Master of Deflection, in a slightly more sophisticated way, when compared to blunt Trump?

    We get this all the time, also under English, and the MSM are too willing to assist in it, reporting mostly on stuff, which should not really be all that important, given the threats we face from global warming, climate change, a new arms race, and high volatility in many crisis regions.

    Does anybody know, about 20 million are facing famine in Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and Northern Nigeria?

    What are MSM, what are most people out there doing about it? Stuff all, I note.

  5. Wasn’t our former PM John Key a Master of Deflection, in a slightly more sophisticated way, when compared to blunt Trump?

    Indeed he was, Mike. At a public meeting regarding a health issue I spoke to a woman who intensely disliked National’s cuts to the health sector.

    But she thought John Key was “nice” and voted for him.

    Hard to get my head around it, sometimes.

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