We have yet another example of the difference in expectations between Americans and voters in other countries. We have politicians who disappeared for months from office, solicit prostitutes from the Senate floor, and call workers “wetbacks.” Yet, they remain in office. However, New Zealand’s National Party MP Aaron Gilmore has resigned after calling a waiter a “dickhead.”
Gilmore got into a verbal fight with a waiter who cut him off from more drinks at a dinner with lawyer Andrew Riches. When the waiter said he had had enough, Gilmore reportedly exclaimed “Don’t you know who I am?”, and calling the man a “dickhead.” He also threatened to arrange to have the waiter fired through his connections to the prime minister.
Gilmore denied Riches’ allegations on the specific statements but admitted that he was drunk and abusive. After initially refusing to resign, he finally relented to the demands of his party and opposing parties.
Gilmore reportedly had a habit of using his office for threats. Emails were later disclosed from his time as a contractor to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) prior to his return to Parliament in 2013. The emails contained veiled threats to a Treasury official where Gilmore said that, with his return to Parliament, “I am sure this sort of thing will come back to haunt you if you want your career to reach its full potential.”
His conduct is worthy of scorn and punishment but I am struck by how forgiving we are in relation to American politicians. In our red state/blue state paradigm, voters now retain politicians simply because they are deemed as better than “those other guys” in the opposing party. It is a remarkable protection for reprobates and scoundrels in office.