Media Note: I have a new post up at Taki Magazine about the effect of narrative on the ruling class. No, I did not write the head line. I also have a post about a modern classic on the pay site. I will be doing regular content on the SubscribeStar site for the donors going forward. That will be almost exclusively pop culture commentary. I’m working on a way to do the same for PayPal and P.O. Box people.
One of the more famous political dirty tricks is attributed to Lyndon Johnson, who allegedly spread false rumors about an opponent’s life-long habit of enjoying sexual relations with his barnyard animals. When told by one of his campaign aides that no one would believe such a crazy rumor, Johnson allegedly said, “I know, but let’s make the sonofabitch deny it.” That’s the key to a good political trick. It forces the other guy to select between two bad options.
That comes to mind with the Biden scandal. Joe Biden is famously on tape bragging about how he bullied the government of Ukraine. He threatened to withhold a billion in aid money unless they fired a prosecutor Biden did not like. It was the classic bullshitter moment, in which the story is supposed to make the person telling it look like a tough guy who really knows how to handle his business. The audience was supposed to come away thinking that Biden was a man of action that other men feared.
The problem at the time was that there was never any context to the story. Why did the administration think this prosecutor was such a problem that Rambo Joe had to be choppered into to deal with it? Because Biden only appears in front of slobbering sycophants, no one bothered asking any questions at the time. No one in the press looked into the background to see if the story was true. Instead, the media promoted it thinking it helped their guy in some way.
Now we get the leaks from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Those e-mails answer the question that no one bothered asking back when Rambo Joe was bragging about his bullying the Ukrainian government. That prosecutor was investigating Biden’s son, who was in a no-show job paying fifty grand a month. Suddenly, that video of Biden bragging about his prowess takes on a new meaning. He’s not Rambo Joe, righting wrongs around the globe, but Klepto Joe, shaking down foreign governments.
That’s what makes this October Surprise so good. Like the LBJ opponent forced to talk about bestiality rumors, there is no way for the Biden campaign to engage this story that does not look bad. They can say Biden’s bragging about getting the prosecutor was just Joe bullshitting people about his prowess. Or, they can say Biden was just helping his drug addict son avoid jail, but Joe Biden did not get paid to do it. The other thing they can do is go underground and try to avoid the story.
There is another angle to it that shows real skill. The story was teased with the salacious images of Hunter Biden high on drugs. People love seeing famous people in a bad way, so it was sure to get a lot of attention. Then you get the details about the Ukrainian shake-down scheme and the juxtaposition of the guy we see in the media and the guy getting the $50,000 per month contract becomes stark. Joe Biden’s motives suddenly become obvious to everyone.
The organized effort to bury the story by social media made it something more than just the typical political scandal. People naturally assume the effort to cover it up is proof that there is some truth to it. It reveals once again that the woke army is not populated with great minds. Within living memory the left-wing media would have known how to knock this down without looking like vinegar drinking scolds. Instead, the response reminded lots of people of what is really at stake.
It also reminded people why they rolled the dice with Donald Trump back in 2016, when all the best people said otherwise. The FBI has had this material for months. They were asked by the House and Senate about it and stonewalled them. In other words, the reason it is coming out now and through the tabloids is the best people tried to hide it, rather than do their job. It reinforces the underlying narrative of this election. It is us against them and they are not good people.
Perhaps the best part of this caper is that Bannon had this material for a long time, but held onto it for just the right moment. The best dirty tricks are done when people are ready to pay attention. Before a big debate or in the final days of the campaign is when it is best to do it. Not only are people paying attention, the other side does not have to time to create an alternate reality. Unleashing this stuff now means the story the rest of the way is about the air of scandal around the Biden family.
A bit of true genius or maybe just dumb luck is that the Bannon was the guy behind this, according to his own testimony. Giuliani, on the other hand, was the surrogate sent out to discuss it with the media initially. The Left then pounced and claimed that anything that comes from Giuliani is invalid by default. Now we see it is Bannon behind this caper, so the original denouncing looks extra stupid. Again, it could be dumb luck, but the way this has ben rolled out is looking brilliant.
That’s another indication that the Inner Party is short of talent. They had the Trump tax returns, which had some salacious stuff in them. Nothing really all that bad, but they required a response. They also had the Melania recordings. Instead of dumping this stuff in the summer when no one cares, it should be coming out now. They could have exaggerated the contents and forced Trump to shift gears to address it. Instead, it has all been forgotten as old news.
The question about these capers is whether they change minds. After all, if you are sure Trump is a punishment sent by the gods, then you don’t care about this. If you are a Trump fan, then maybe it makes you a bit more enthusiastic and a bit more confident, but it did not change your vote. That said, voter enthusiasm is a very strong undercurrent in every election, which is why campaigns work so hard to get their side super-excited for their guy. See for yourself.
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