Ask The Fiddler #21: Ducking the Political Wrecking Ball

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Filed under: Hype, Propaganda and Disinformation, Satire

fiddler-75Editor’s Note: Ask The Fiddler is a lifestyle advice column that aims to remedy more chaos and confusion than it creates. Questions may be submitted to us here at Art of the Prank, and good luck.


Dear Fiddler,

Media vultures are trying to make a meal of my political career. What should I do?

Chris in New Jersey

Dear Chris,

You are suffering from an attack of opposition research.

nixon-virusOpposition researchers know that human behavior often involves patterns. Meaning, if you did it once, there are probably other instances. So, they are digging.

You are in deep scat. As a former hard-charging anti-corruption prosecuting attorney who won convictions or guilty pleas from 130 public officials, you probably know that.

Opposition research does far more damage than is generally reported, whether it takes the form of anonymous whispers or professionally prepared dossiers. Its dynamics usually only come to light through insider revelations. Why so? Because reporters don’t want to admit that their earth-shaking stories were the result not of their own brilliance but of spoon-fed, un-sourced tips.

It used to be a shady, hush-hush, backroom activity that few admitted to. But today there are fancy firms devoted to opposition research, three-piece suits strutting down K Street with briefcases full of DUI reports and divorce records. For the amateur, there are handbooks and seminars led by private investigators.

What the diggers are looking for, as you well know, is further examples of dirty tricks.

Dirty tricks go back a long way in politics and have had serious impact on election outcomes. History News Network traces the first occurrence to the 1844 presidential elections when it was circulated, falsely, that Democrat James K. Polk sold slaves to finance his election.

Your problem, alas, is that the allegations are true. As a result you are being compared to such fallen-star celebrities as Lance Armstrong and Anthony Weiner. (The pundits add Bill Clinton of the Lewinsky era to the mix, but I don’t think they laid a glove on him).

But the worst may be yet to come. If it hasn’t happened before this column hits print, it’s only a matter of time before they bring up Tricky Dick.

Nixon, the Grand Master of Dirty Tricks, will ever haunt American politics. Obviously he’s a ghostly presence for comparison purposes, but quite possibly a genuine, real deal spook.

Don’t believe in ghosts? David Greenberg mentions in his book, Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image, that shortly after the former president’s death the LA Weekly reported that a guard at the Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda saw a phosphorescent green cloud hovering over the former president’s headstone, and then a specter entering Nixon’s boyhood house through locked doors, and at various times heard knocking sounds from inside the museum’s Watergate room. Several visitors mentioned similar spookiness.

There is further evidence that Nixon is yet among us. Hillary Clinton said Richard Nixon’s ghost was after her, and Michelle Obama wanted an exorcism done in the White House – but Barrack was having none of it, probably figured it would get him written up in Weekly World News.

In fact, Tricky Dick may be haunting some readers of this column. Your computer may already be infected with the ghost of Richard Nixon. If that’s the case, the ghost of Nixon is recording your keystrokes and Internet activity and sending it to the Republican National Committee. According to this source, “Your data will then be used by the RNC to vote multiple times on controversial ballot measures to outlaw same-sex book clubs.”

Fortunately, there is a cure.

Thankfully, the removal process is rather simple.

Here’s how: Get a shoe with a strong lace. Place in the shoe three AA batteries and a refrigerator magnet. Spin the shoe over your head so that it comes within two inches of your monitor. After 15 minutes of constant spinning the ghost of Nixon will flee your computer.

An afterthought from the site that exposed this ghastly threat: “Be sure you have followed the above instructions to avoid a re-infestation.”

But back to you, Chris. Pulling out of this nosedive will not be an easy task. You have to get out of the spotlight for a while. Disappear, take a sabbatical, go into a monastery, get incommunicado. Let the word spread that you are wrestling with self-forgiveness, struggling to achieve personal redemption.

Then, when sufficient time has passed, emerge renewed and redeemed, purified of political stench, stronger than ever, ready and able to America into a brighter, more glorious future. Or some such BS.

American political probability suggests you can count on a vast multitude of true-believer lemmings falling in behind you, eager to stampede to the cliff edge.

Yours Truly,

The Fiddler


Remember our motto here at camp: “If you take advice from The Fiddler, you need advice.” Send comments and questions to: Art of the Prank.


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The Fiddler is a creation of W.J. Elvin III