In Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Hunter Thompson’s book on the 1972 presidential election, he relates a story from the 1968 presidential campaign where Lyndon Johnson told his manager to “start a massive rumor campaign about his opponent’s lifelong habit of enjoying carnal knowledge of his own barnyard sows.” The manager protests that no one would believe that his opponent was a “pig fucker”. To this, Johnson replied, “I know, but let the sonofabitch deny it!”
So here we are in 2010, with everyone still denying they fuck pigs. Of course, “fuck pigs” is a euphemism for any of the following: stimulus money, Obama, Pelosi, masturbation, gay rights, Afghanistan, taxes, war on terror, Guantanamo Bay, BP, lobbyists, renewable energy, jobs, whatever. In 2010, your affiliation, real or imagined, with anything makes you a target – or rather – leaves you denying something. I am starting to think that if you run for political office, fucking pigs may be the least of your concerns.
My kids have become very astute, as twelve year olds are, at knowing what sucks. High on their list these days are professional athletes and politicians. So when Chris asked me the other day, “Why are all these commercials only about what the other guy did? Why don’t they ever say what they are going to do?” I was tempted to answer, “Well son, because politicians would rather make the other guy deny he fucks pigs.”
Of course, I didn’t say that. On the other hand, I was left giving him some other bullshit answer that sounded, again, like I was trying to explain away the pathetic behavior of adults.
I do believe that people who enter politics generally do so for the right reason. They choose that vocation out of a desire for public service and probably believe that they can help change things. Then, they get elected. The sucking sound they hear is their values. Before long they are swept into the wide vortex of ducking for political cover, alliances of dubious origin and the sweatshop factory of party politics.
Ever think that one of the reasons there can be so much resistance in some countries to a democratically elected government is not because of money or tyranny, but maybe they can’t bear the thought of campaign ads? I may be willing to give up my right to vote in exchange for not listening to months of how someone’s political opponent voted against, before they voted for, a bill that provided funding for an ant farm renewable energy bill that sent jobs overseas while raising the middle class tax rate to cut offshore drilling and increase bank regulation – all for their “friends on Wall and Main Street.”
Okay, I will not give up my right to vote. But I am still waiting for the year when I look forward to voting someone it, not voting someone out. Oink, oink.