The Roger Stone Playbook: ‘We want people to hate Birch Bayh without even knowing why’
Roger Stone post Watergate-in the Watergate election he delivered the (in)famous Canucks letter that sunk Edward Muskie, who was seen as Nixon’s likely toughest Democratic challenger in the 1972 race.
“After the apocalypse of Watergate, Stone had two noteworthy jobs. He would work as a driver for Bob Dole, who, he tells us, was “angry and horny”. More importantly, he would join the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC), a group made up of veterans of Barry Goldwater’s failed presidential campaign, which would score electoral wins by flooding a race with negative advertising that could not be tied to the candidate that it was intended to help out. “Groups like ours,” said Terry Dolan, a founding member of NCPAC and its most important player, “are potentially very dangerous to the political process. We could be a menace, yes. Ten independent expenditure groups, for example, could amass this great amount of money and defeat the point of accountability in politics. We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn’t have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean.”21 They would help Ron Paul win his first election in Texas; they would take down John Culver of Iowa, George McGovern of South Dakota, Frank Church of Idaho, and Birch Bayh of of Indiana. It was not about ideology, it was about you winning and the other guy losing. “We want people to hate Birch Bayh without even knowing why,” explained Dolan
Isn’t this exactly the-ultimately successful-2016 GOP strategy-that Roger Stone was a major player in? Before the election, Hillary was Obama’s very popular Secretary of State at 64%. Suddenly she emerged as the likely 2016 Democratic challenger and then a lot of people-who previously seemed to have nothing against her-suddenly talked about her as literally the worst person whoever walked the earth.
After all-those emails. People were furious with her for those emails and even thought they might require her going to prison. Lock her up. And they didn’t even know why.
Now it turns out that Mike Pence has his private email scandal. Michael Flynn has a far worse scandal in this department, that Trump’s whole WH staff uses a private email server at the RNC-just as Karl Rove did with those millions of emails destroyed in 2006. And yet no one is foaming at the mouth over it.
After all, it’s just email. And the bad email server management practices of the Trumpsters are the least of their problems.
Again, back to lock her up. What I will never forget is not just the Trumpsters at the RNC in Cleveland chanting this. No, what else would you expect? No what I can never forget nor forgive are the Berners who chanted it in Philadelphia next week.
“I don’t think Stone ever says what policy he is for in this memoir, and he might well consider a focus on policy a distraction.”
I think a big part of it is he’s a Republican. On some level Stone understands that the GOP can’t win in any ‘marketplace of ideas.’ GOP ideas: that Social Security and Medicare are evil socialist programs that must be destroyed, that there should be no minimum wage, there should be very low taxes for the rich, that maybe there even should be child labor, that there should be little environmental regulation,etc; these are political losers. Most don’t think they that abortion should be outlawed.
Since FDR the GOP’s ideology is one rejected by most Americans. So they have to play dirty. And they can’t win a straight debate over issues. Trump was a master piece in this. It turns out that he was always a Republican. But he and Stone very cleverly set him up for 2016 over the last 17 years or so.
Nothing helped Trump more than in the primary when the other GOPers accused him of really being a closet liberal Democrat.
This allowed many to assume he was a different kind of Republican. If you remember what he ran on in his brief 1999 Reform party tease, it was very clever:
1. He called Stone’s old fellow Nixonian Master Dirty Trickerster a ‘Nazi.’
2. He suggested he’d choose Oprah Winfrey as his running mate.
3. He claimed to support an almost 15% one time wealth tax.
This all would lead someone to think that Trump was
1. Not an anti Semite or fascist.
2. Obviously not a hater of African-Americans; ie, not a bigot like most Republicans
3. A nice rich guy willing to pay his taxes and eager to force his fellow billionaires to do the same.
He-and Roger Stone-was therefore able to create a real misimpression.
Indeed, he continued to pretend in this election to be for a wealth tax. Then he released it and won the plaudits of Stephen Moore. Enough said.
Anyway, Roger Stone-like Nixon, like Pat Buchanan, has always practiced the politics of fragmentation.
“There is only winning and losing an election, and five methods for achieving a victory recur again and again in races that Stone is involved with, four methods that create a mirror maze of confusion, misdirection, and elimination. The first is through association, by having a candidate receive an endorsement from a person or group who potential supporters of the candidate are predisposed to view as an opponent, or through association with something unquestionably malevolent made via protesters, pamphlets, or other means funded by Stone’s campaign but without any fingerprints. The second is by having a group, funded by allied interests, oppose a candidate or policy due to some larger moral principle that everyone can agree on – the issue is not candidate A versus B, but opposition to crime, gambling, or child abuse. The third is the smear, saying your opponent is corrupt, weak, racist, a rapist, a murderer, a pedophile, always helpfully done not through you, the opponent on which this tar might stick, but through a phantom proxy. This last is used very, very often by Stone. The fourth, and one of the most effective, is through fragmentation of the vote. There is, say, overwhelming support for candidate A, who will raise the minimum wage, versus candidate B, who won’t. You split this overwhelming vote by funding another candidate, who wants to raise the minimum wage even higher, and who chastises candidate A for compromising their principles and being beholden to business interests for not asking for a higher wage. Through a vote split, candidate B, the one who says he believes the condition of workers must be improved, but not through easy sounding solutions like a higher minimum wage, scores a victory. At the same time, you make great efforts to keep the votes for your own candidate or issue from being fragmented. The fifth is vote suppression, of black and latino voters, who tend to poll democrat.”
Think about it. When the Bernie Bros chanted ‘Lock her up’ Roger Stone saw his dream walking.
Basically if a third of the voters are Center Left, a third are Left, and a third are radical the Right, the Nixonian way, the Roger Stone way, is to get the Left to see their real enemy as not the Right but the Center Left.
And we see who know has all the power. The Bernie Bros were outraged that Hillary wanted a $12 MW while Saint Bernie wanted $15. Bernie so pure. Trump said there should be no federal MW and that wages are too high.
Guess who won? The Berners were far less outraged over no MW hike than one that was ‘only’ going to $12. Well played.
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