This, from a (typically) excellent politics column by Charles P. Pierce goes some way to explaining why I feel such disdain for the dishonest political ‘operators’ whose activities I observe and highlight here now and then, and whose reptilian coarsening of political ‘debate’ I have come to see as so irredeemably negative.
The second basic philosophical tenet of ratfucking is that it is essentially bullying. It is essentially about ridicule and deceit as ends in themselves. Segretti’s activities were meant to bring embarrassment and public scorn upon his targets. They were not aimed at proving to voters that the opposition was wrong. They were aimed at making it look ridiculous.
I’ve presented Pierce’s second principle first, because it suits my point, but so you’re not disconcerted by the open loop, here’s his first … which folds neatly into the point David Frum made so eloquently about Andrew Breitbart (‘The attack is everything, the details nothing’) cited recently in relation to some local yokels.
There are two basic philosophical foundation stones to ratfucking. The first is that political sabotage for its own sake is a worthy enough goal. There doesn’t necessarily have to be an obvious purpose or obvious logic behind it. Everything is simply tactics. Those tactics either work or they don’t. To believe this, of course, one must first believe that all politics is a essentially a zero-sum game of power; you win and the other guy loses. Who rules? Period. One cannot for a moment contemplate the notion that politics — and therefore, government — has anything to do with the public good.
This is very good analysis. Read Charles P. Pierce’s article at Esquire.
You may also be interested in reading: Richard Nixon’s dirty dirty tricks alive and well.