Hillbillies - Propaganda Props

It would be interesting to have a look at the playbooks of the campaign managers of the democrat president wannabes (republicans, too, for that matter). One would expect the usual stuff – so-called "town meetings" in small New Hampshire villages, where boredom trumps some silly voter wailing about the children starving under the current administration; a photo-op of the candidate sitting on the floor of some first-grade schoolroom reading something from "Dick and Jane" (or maybe in today's liberated society, "How Dick Makes Out with Jane") and exhibiting physical pain in the process; or in some forsaken barnyard milking a cow, sitting amidst the stuff of campaigns.

The manager of John Edwards' campaign is a plagiarizer, just as guilty as Joe Biden was in 1988 in stealing that Irishman's speech while…yep…running for prexy. He's taken a page from the managers of Lyndon Johnson, Bobby Kennedy, and Bill Clinton, probably among others. Already noted for his "Bobby Kennedy" haircut (last priced at $1,350 – $400 for the snipping and the rest for his barber's transportation), Edwards has further emulated the man who made buying a New York Senate seat while living somewhere else fashionable…the latest is Senator Clinton, she of the yellow pant-suit and the stentorian tones of John Kerry.

He's made the trek to east-Kentucky ostensibly to call attention to the poverty problem, but actually as a campaign ploy, since everybody knows about east-Kentucky poverty already, just by reading the newspaper and viewing the TV commentators, slack-jawed at realizing that some people drive pick-ups that are 30 years old, dip RedMan and make themselves into pre-atrophied-lung machines by smoking unfiltered Marlboros – the old cigarettes-before-food-for-the-kids thing.

Lyndon Johnson did the east-Kentucky barn-dance 'way back in campaign-year 1964, ostensibly pushing some sort of "poverty program," but, as everyone knew, just creating a nearly magical series of photo-ops. What catches the eye more stunningly than a row of falling-down shacks on a dusty road leading to Paintsville? Okay, the prexy patting the heads of little children on rickety porches while moseying as fast as possible to somewhere – anywhere – the AC is working.

Robert Kennedy's campaign guy opted for Prestonsburg in the election year of 1968. He added a visit to a – get this – one-room schoolhouse (Vortex, Ky.), certainly among the last in the nation, complete with coal-stove, metal non-asbestos-covered chimney (gasp – a definite fire-hazard) and a general atmosphere of February coolness, not the "hip" kind. The school had five students, all members of the same family – quite a statement…but Kennedy conducted a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower and Poverty there…all those suits and ties and those five poor kids. Cruelty!

Like Edwards now, Clinton did the one-year-before-the-election-thing for soul-mate and vice president Al Gore in 1999, not long after his impeachment by the House and merciful deliverance by the Senate. He showed up in the dog days of July and assaulted Tyner, Annville and Hazard with a loosened tie, sweat, and that "I feel your pain" look that most folks didn't catch, since they were having a big time, a lot of them (especially imbibers of spirits) feeling no pain at all, with the men just fantasizing about Monica. Also in the crowd was Jesse Jackson, maybe to advertise a boycott of all coal operators who didn't kick in a million or so for his organization, Rainbow-Push, or its forerunner. Great theater!

Having launched himself on this trip from a backyard in New Orleans, his announcement venue of last winter (instead of the state that sent him to the Senate), Edwards added a new wrinkle by listening to tales of prescription drug-abuse apparently endemic only to Kentucky…what a laugh! Even though the makers of the most villainous drug, OxyContin (actually a miraculous pain-killer), have just paid over $600 million in fines (a millionaire liability-lawyer's daydream of glory that Edwards can appreciate), Edwards might have suggested that folks just say "no," or does he think east-Kentuckians are too dumb for that solution?

Edwards started out, with New Orleans as the backdrop, by blaming the government for not rebuilding the city in less than two years, a doomed crime-ridden cesspool residing right on the Gulf of Mexico – but at least six feet below it – and under the level of Lake Pontchartrain, with 23-foot levees that the Right Honorable, Reverend, Doctor, Imam Louis Farrakhan claimed the U.S. Government dynamited in 2005 to kill all the black folk. He then used Whitesburg and Prestonsburg in Kentucky as the backdrop for his "Bobby Kennedy Act." Now, it's back to that hovel in North Carolina – some two-thirds of an acre under roof. Shades of fellow millionaires Johnson, Kennedy and Clinton – cynicism and opportunism carried to the depths!