Friday, May 11, 2012

James Carville cites Cicero in The Guardian


"I thought that the advice I was giving my clients was special. Little did I realize that pretty much everything I've said was old news 2,000 years ago, covered expertly in Quintus Tullius Cicero's strategy memo for the campaign of his brother, Marcus, for consul in Rome in 64BC. The Commentariolum Petitionis, or "Little Handbook on Electioneering", is remarkable."

I find it extremely funny that Carville is writing about a classical source. Carville, Clinton's campaign manager, represented an infuriatingly bad strain of politics in the pre-Bush era. It might be hard to imagine  how that could be the case now, considering how Bush shredded civil liberties and brought us into two unnecessary wars, but Carville and company did their share through an utter disregard for any higher principles in politics in the '90s. It wasn't that they pursued authoritarian policies, but that they viewed politics as a student government game existing in a content free world ruled by a centrism that demanded government do little or nothing to improve the country. This, coming from the Democrats, the party of FDR, was extraordinarily frustrating. They seemed to be tone deaf to what real politics is about--not horse trading but addressing the fundamental issues and concerns of society. 

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