Ghosts of campaigns past
To paraphrase Dickens in the immortal classic A Christmas Carol: “The Duke” was politically dead: to begin with. There is no whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. The Republicans signed it: and the Republicans name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put their hand to. “The Old Duke” was dead as a door-nail”.
And so it would seem: the man was passed. It appeared a surety. It was witnessed and attested to and even bespoken as a fact. There was nothing to change the facts: but…
Though seen to be a surety, the attestation is called into question and that which has been spoken shall now be set aside because the phantasm of the one becomes the Oracle of the other. What is thought gone miraculously appears and what is thought real becomes surreal.
“The Duke” was a mere specter of himself on his initial passing. He was borne across the great sea to haunt the caverns and subterranean grottoes noted for strange and ugly thinking by strange and ugly men and women sharing one unique strange and ugly, soulless existence directed by self-hatred extended outward toward others.
But, as is the case with all ghost stories, “The Duke” is back in the form of a pre-cursor of sorts, a spectral harbinger sent to warn the Republican Party attested to his passing and having sent him off with little fanfare of recognition for what he represented and what he accomplished in life. Now, with his reemergence as a Ghost of Campaigns past, we see the depth of horrors Republicans may come to know.
House of Representatives Majority Whip, Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) is feeling the effects of a “bit of undigested beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than the grave about you whatever you are!”
And as you may ask: “How now!” Scalise would say, caustic and cold… What do you want with me?” “Much!” “The Duke” would say. And , Scalise would ask: “Who are you?” To which the shaded spirit of “The Duke” would say: “Ask me who I was”.
“Who were you?”
“I am an old specter, the specter of things to come for you having been unwise, perhaps by accident, perhaps by failing to recognize what is present becomes past and as all things are cyclical in nature in this universe I have come full circle to show you your folly both past and present.” The cold steely eye of the shade pierced Scalise’s consciousness and he saw the reality he feared but refused to recognize beyond his petty protestations.
“You don’t believe in me,” said the ghost of “The Duke”.
“I don’t , “ said Scalise.
“What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?”
Scalise spoke of not knowing because of “the little things” affects those same senses as noted above. Scalise was not much in the habit of comedic enterprise, nor did he feel, in his heart any jollity then. Truth be known, he tried being smart as a means of distracting his attention and keeping down the terror turned his spit to paste and his throat Saharan because the ghost’s voice and presence disturbed the very weakening marrow of his bones.
After the ghost had wailed and shaken his chains as much in suffering as it was to strike terror he looked at Scalise, making him scream: “Mercy you dreadful spirit, why do you trouble me?”
“Oh man of worldly mind!” replied the Ghost” do you believe in me or not?”
“OH, I do” said Scalise. “I must. But why do spirits walk the earth and why do they come to me?”
And the specter became unkind, leaned forward until Scalise felt himself nose to nose with the phantom who spoke in a sibilant confidence more frightening than not: “because you or some of your campaign people are schmucks!”
“Because of their inattention to details and failure to vet the people you would speak before, you’re in this mess today. It’s required of every politician that his spirit should walk abroad among his fellowmen and travel far and wide to spread his word; but he must take care For if that spirit fails to take care it’s condemned to do so after death, in a time when it does no good. His spirit will wander through the world-oh, woe is me and woe be unto you that you may not witness what it shouldn’t have shared but should have avoided on earth and thus not stumbled into this tale of woe.”
Scalise was a young politician destined for higher plateaus in his career trajectory. But the Democrats have taken to wandering back through time to 2002 to enact the scourge of intolerance and white supremacy (WS) upon him because he ill-advisedly spoke before some Clown Car known as the European-American Unity and Rights Organization. The title is obviously code-speak for white supremacy activities of the time. I never heard of them but now the Democrats are jumping up and down because of the infamy they feel WS has infected Scalise with.
But there’s something more insidious in this because the Democrats are using their typical Alinskyist techniques to smear one politician while not mentioning the Democrats sponsored and employed the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War and all the way up to Selma and Memphis.
Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals © is a simple tract. It suggests these tactics:
* RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
* RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)
* RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)
* RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)
* RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)
* RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)
So I’d suggest you look at the field of battle in Scalise’s case and decide for yourself if this argumentative little revelation is a distraction a la Alinsky; or, is it real and therefore worthy of spending your time considering.
This is Scalise’s Ghost of Campaigns past. You can’t prevent all criticism but you can point out what’s spurious and false: then shut up and move on.
Thanks for listening