The National Party's leadership change has been the most interesting I can remember. In 50 years of following New Zealand's politics, this was the first time I'd seen National promote a complete unknown.
In fact, looking back on all those years, this was only the second time either National or Labour had selected as leader someone I'd not seen in action. The first was Labour's David Shearer. Like him, Todd Muller was just a name. I had never even heard his voice.
So it was a rather uncanny to hear of his election and await his first appearance. And he did well. So well you had to wonder how many high-quality people have their heads down at Parliament, awaiting their hour.
Muller stood before that first press conference looking and sounding big, bold and confident. He was more prime ministerial than poor Simon Bridges could be. Muller hit all the right political notes, unequivocally praising the Government's effort against Covid-19 but asserting National's better understanding of small business and its ability to manage the economy back to health.
We saw a country boy who'd risen to the executive suites of Zespri and Fonterra, where he'd obviously acquired arts of leadership with corporate polish. It was as assured an opening performance as we saw from Jacinda Ardern three years ago and suddenly this year's election was in the balance.
Then the MAGA hat happened. Oh dear. When asked why he had it, Muller said it was a memento of a trip to the United States for the 2016 presidential election. He also had a Hillary Clinton badge and found it interesting he wasn't being criticised for that. Oh dear, oh dear.
Belatedly he declared he found Trump's style of politics "appalling", which is a relief, and when he moved into the Opposition Leader's office he said he left the hat in a box because "it had become a distraction".
It was - and for me still is - a disturbing distraction. I don't understand how anybody with any respect for politics and government could have wanted to possess such a thing. Was Donald Trump just a joke to him? Why has he kept the cap on display in his office through the years of this embarrassment for America and setback for the world?
He says he aspired, as a child, to be President of the United States. That I can understand. US presidential elections have been the world's most gripping and edifying politics, distinguished by the civility of candidates on the stage as well as the smart tactics of professionals behind them.
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But the current president is not like any before him. He is a constant disgrace to the office, his party, country and to the very profession of politics. He observes few of the decencies and dignities of public life, does not recognise its reference points of facts and truth, makes up his own.
In this pandemic his delusions have become merely tiresome. At his televised press conferences we see White House reporters looking bored now. Their country is in a medical emergency and they want to hear from people who know what's going on.
So does the cap fit Muller? After the events of this week, obviously not. Had he not been haunted by that hat, he might have done better on his first parliamentary sitting day as leader when reporters tackled him on why no Māori were on his newly selected front bench.
He could have been bold and honest enough to answer that ethnicity was not his main criterion. That would have shocked Labour people and the media but not National voters. Many would find it refreshing if somebody finally challenged this notion that ethnic and gender diversity matters more than anything.
Instead National's new deputy, Nikki Kaye, intervened to say Paul Goldsmith was Māori, thereby demonstrating the dangers of gender promotion too.
Will this week's debacle hurt National in September? The election will turn on what happens over the next three months. The Government needs at least to get foreign students and Australian tourists returning by then.
By September we may know how badly the economy has been hit and what will be needed to bring public finances back into order. Right now the Government is acting as though all spending is virtuous and the Reserve Bank is fast turning our currency into confetti.
Muller was careful to challenge the quality not the quantum of the Government's spending when interviewed on TVNZ's Q and A, yet Jack Tame persisted in asking whether National would spend less. Muller needs to learn how to handle niggly little tests like that.
It will be interesting to see if somebody can come from obscurity to political success quickly. Possessing that damned cap was probably just dumb - but that's a worry.