Do you have a sinking feeling over Todd Muller?
The MAGA hat that was a non-story he refused to make a non-story by keeping on answering dumb questions about it until he stuck it in a box. Thus indicating that if you ask enough dumb questions, he'll turn it into something.
Then the possum in the headlights reaction to the ethnicity question over the new front bench, which was only partly his fault but because he didn’t sound like he owned it. Nikki Kaye, who I also have a sinking feeling about, decided making Paul Goldsmith Maori was a good idea.
And then she doubled down when Paul Goldsmith decided to make "stick to your knitting" a headline grabbing story by suggesting they weren't the best choice of words when in fact there was nothing wrong with them, nor has there ever been.
It all lacked a self confidence. It all looked like you could say anything and they'd wet themselves in fear over what you meant, what you might have meant, or what it could mean. Ah, for the good old days when Sir John Key just laughed most of it off, was light-foot having the time of his life, and treating the idiots with the lack of respect they deserved.
Of course the trouble with trouble is, if you get off on the wrong foot, you're shaken. If you're shaky to start, making a hash of it doesn’t help. So it's hardly a surprise when Muller, who's also been charged with being largely absent of late when it comes to holding the government to account, reappeared on Sunday for a big speech.
David Seymour, it must be said at this point, deserves real plaudits for his role as de-facto opposition leader. He says more, makes more cogent points, holds the government to better account currently, and does it with far less resource than the National Party. Not that a lot of wider New Zealand will have noticed.
It's still early days, and in that is the hope for Muller. Most people won't be switched on and in to the election and it's detail until the end of July, maybe even August.
But anyway poor old Muller turns up in front of an upside down flag in Te Puna and tells everyone how he wanted to join the Labour Party before asking whether he should start again. If it was only that easy. It is the game of confidence, and he clearly doesn't have any.
My great fear is the great fear I have with all non-naturals, and that is when tough times strike too many people get in your ear and spook you further. Authenticity is what gels with people, and the more you are manufactured, the more you trip yourself up.
Muller's shambolic start can be fixed, because by August no one will remember any of this stuff if he's got his act together by then. But the key is, does he have an act to get together? If he doesn’t, if he's a busted flush, no amount of gerrymandered papering over the cracks will fix it. The race is done.
But he has to be more present, he has to get more aggressive, he has to stop being frightened of questions, and short on answers.
At best, as we sit here this morning, it’s a four out of ten start.