09 February 2016

Precedential Material

For no other reason than it's Granite out there...

"Sincerity is the important thing on TV. A presidential candidate should at least seem to believe what he’s saying—even if it’s all stone crazy. McGovern learned this from George Wallace in Florida, and it proved to be a very valuable lesson. One of the crucial moments of the ’72 primary campaign came on election night in Florida, March 14, when McGovern—who had finished a dismal sixth, behind even Lindsay and Muskie—refused to follow their sour example and blame his poor showing on that Evil Racist Monster, George Wallace, who had just swept every county in the state. Moments after both Lindsay and Muskie had appeared on all three networks to denounce the Florida results as tragic proof that at least half the voters were ignorant dupes and Nazis, McGovern came on and said that although he couldn’t agree with some of the things Wallace said and stood for, he sympathized with the people who’d voted for 'The Governor' because they were 'angry and fed up' with some of the things that are happening in this country. [...]

"The root of the Wallace magic was a cynical, showbiz instinct for knowing exactly which issues would whip a hall full of beer-drinking factory workers into a frenzy—and then doing exactly that, by howling down from the podium that he had an instant, overnight cure for all their worst afflictions: Taxes? Nigras? Army worms killing the turnip crop? Whatever it was, Wallace assured his supporters that the solution was actually real simple, and that the only reason they had any hassle with the government at all was because those greedy bloodsuckers in Washington didn’t want the problems solved, so they wouldn’t be put out of work. [...]

"George Wallace is one of the worst charlatans in politics, but there is no denying his talent for converting frustration into energy. What McGovern sensed in Florida, however—while Wallace was stomping him, along with all the others—was the possibility that Wallace appealed instinctively to a lot more people than would actually vote for him. He was stirring up more anger than he knew how to channel. The frustration was there, and it was easy enough to convert it — but what then?"
- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72

"During the years of artificial plenty, New Hampshire was happy to sell off the intangible wealth of livably scaled towns, forests, and wide-open spaces for a quick buck, three or four extra K-marts within driving distance, and an idiotic abundance of worthless consumer goods. Now that people have to live in the debris, their fields and meadows long vanished under now-vacant malls and abandoned tract developments, they might reflect that this all happened once before, when the great Amoskeag Mills shut down earlier in this century, and that history has repeated itself as farce instead of tragedy. Of course people are 'hurting' — you usually do hurt after shooting yourself in the foot. And instead of yacking about wake-up calls and level playing fields and 'sending a message' to the rest of the planet that America intends to remain a vicious mongoloid among nations, first in everything but human reason, any candidate worth voting for, however hard the times, ought to offer people an appeal to their better natures, as well as to the part that eats. Nobody did."
- Gary Indiana, "Northern Exposure," Village Voice, February, 1992

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