Friday, March 04, 2011

American Degeneration II:
The Vicious Artists

As each representative will be chosen by a greater number of citizens in the large than in the small republic, it will be more difficult for unworthy candidates to practice with success the vicious arts by which elections are too often carried; and the suffrages of the people being more free, will be more likely to centre in men who possess the most attractive merit and the most diffusive and established characters.

(James Madison), The Federalist Papers

Unfortunately, Madison plainly didn't foresee that "unworthy candidates" would be able to hire whole armies of such "vicious artists" with monies paid to them in anticipation of return (every "campaign donation" of any size at all represents either a political debt or a political payoff).

Presumably, he would've thought that the very news that a candidate had hired such "vicious artists" to ply their "vicious arts" on his behalf would be enough to stain that candidate irreparably in the eyes of the American people, and cause that candidacy to fail.

And, presumably, he could hardly have foreseen, or heard with other than total dismay and disgust, that such "vicious artists" would be celebrated—made "celebrities" of—by the American people.

Keywords: demagogues, Dick Morris, Ed Rollins, election-manipulation, focus groups, FoxNews, James Carville, Lee Atwater, opposition research, political consulting, propagandists, Roger Ailes, sophists, spin doctors, The Selling of the President 1968

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


An elective despotism is not the government we fought for.

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1781-2)