Bill English looks like a bloke trying to bail out the sinking Titanic with a bucket. Labour called last week's half-billion-dollar fiscal stimulus package "timid" but I'm buying National's warning that we cannot lumber future generations with oppressive debt levels that will choke the country's future for years.
Muldoon's National Government of the 70s racked up a debt mountain that took us the entire 80s and most of the 90s to get on top of and at a huge social cost that we are still paying for today.
Where do you think our appalling crime figures, lousy health statistics and rickety national infrastructure in the 21st century come from?
Twenty years of neglect in the late-20th century. It produced an underclass of deprived families that has spawned a host of problems our social services are now struggling to deal with.
Meanwhile, like a dilapidated run-down state house, the nation's infrastructure - its roads, bridges, communications and the other stuff a modern economy needs to thrive - was left to rot.
Oh no! Not the ghost of Muldoonism unleashed! Say it isn't so!!! However Ralston turns his attention from things past to the present administration, suggesting that National is not exactly overrun with options:
And this is where Ralston draws the "lucky loser" analogy:
Frankly, the Government doesn't have a lot of other options and it is trying to keep up confidence in itself and the economy.
Prime Minister John Key is playing the role that he is best suited to, a capable CEO of a company that is facing big trouble.
He is maintaining staff morale while trying to pull back on wasteful spending in the business and raising loans to keep the company afloat and maintain production.
The Government's decision to raise the minimum wage to $12.50-an-hour may not have impressed employers but it demonstrated it wasn't going to do the knee-jerk Tory thing in an economic crisis and throw low-income earners overboard.
The political honeymoon with National is fading but most of the public seem content to give it a fair go for the time being.
That will change in the coming months as the recession really begins to bite. Intellectually, people might realise this is a worldwide phenomena and wasn't brought about by anything this new government has done. But when the pain sets in, those people will look for someone to blame. That "someone" will be National.
The Labour opposition will be able to sit tutting on the sidelines saying, "I wouldn't have done that, you really should be doing this,
oh dear" knowing full well that its options would have been just as limited had it retained power.
Sometimes in politics it is not a bad thing to lose an election and, for Labour - considering the financial state of the world - if there ever was an election to lose it was the last one.