Surely one of the biggest problems the National caucus has is the inability to pick talent.
When Sir John Key quit the answer was Steven Joyce, even though Key anointed Bill English. Sir Bill came to life in the election and on the night actually won.
But after his resignation, the answer was also Steven Joyce, or possibly Judith Collins, and if not them, Mark Mitchell.
There is no shortage of actual talent, but they went with Simon Bridges, and when Simon got rolled they didn't roll him for Judith or Mark, they rolled him for a bloke who history now very clearly shows wasn't ready, didn't want to be there, and basically from day one when he got bullied by a piece of American political memorabilia looked scared and hopelessly out of his depth.
And let us never forget they only rolled Bridges because they were hit by Covid panic.
Until Covid the Nats were actually winning poll-wise, and there was plenty of time left to make a solid economic case around an economy that had been tanked. So the caucus might like to have a good hard long look at itself as a group, seemingly unable to read the room, the mood, or spot obvious leadership material.
I partially admire Muller. It takes real courage to so openly admit defeat and walk. Mind you, it's an astonishing lack of awareness of your own inabilities to not be able to see that you are not up for it in the first place, if it only takes 50-odd days to fall on your sword.
Nikki Kaye by the way didn't help. She looked like an artificial appointment, urban and female - ticking some invented box, and if it hadn't been for Muller making such a hash of it, Kaye's fumblings would have got even more attention than they did.
So to the new leader. All I can say is, about time.
Judith and Gerry look like National, a National Party, an approach, an outlook many can recognise and resonate with.
They have enacted law, dealt with disaster, run the place and run it not only competently but successfully.
No one is asking who they are, no one doubts they know what they're about.
Most importantly for Collins she has two critical qualities that you will find aptly displayed in her recently published book.
Determination and self-confidence.
She is comfortable in her own skin, she doesn't second-guess, she doesn't look rattled, she looks and acts like a grown-up, at a time we have been sadly lacking the presence of grown-ups.
She doesn't look like she's had too many people in her ear telling her what to say, how to react, and what to look like.
She is her own person and there is no more powerful a quality for public life. Love her or hate her, you are in no doubt what you are dealing with. And what you are dealing with is a person who takes no prisoners, gets things done and has a good brain. If you don't believe me read her book ( I'm not on any commission by the way.)
She provides glorious contrast as well. She is called "Crusher" because of the boy racers. This Government under Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern wanted three strikes gone, and boy racers given more chances. Collins wants to smash their cars.
Has this been a mess? Of course, but it's a beltway mess. Muller's implosion is now a footnote.
It happened as far as I can tell at a time when half the country was in a queue up Treble Cone or Mount Hutt. Even the Prime Minister was on holiday. It will barely have been noted as people enjoyed the first normal holiday all year.
The original principles still apply: the polls will close and policy will be put out at a time most of us start to tune into the election, which will be mid to late next month.
Collins will be a real force, National a real alternative, and the added potential of one, if not both, coalition partners in a 5 per cent fight of their lives.
Never forget if neither make it, you're burning off up to 8 or 9 per cent, so you're suddenly splitting 91 per cent and not 100 per cent. In other words you don't need a lot more than 40 per cent to get to government.
Can Collins deliver that?
Well before Covid, Bridges had delivered it.
Collins will never die wondering, which is why you write her off at your peril.