Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Campaign Against Bush: EPIC Style?
This part of the conversation is run-of-the-mill cocktail party chatter across America right now:
"It's completely unprecedented!" says I. "I mean, think about it, when has it ever happened that millions of people have paid money to see an in-depth anti-incumbent 2-hour movie? I mean, it hasn't! And in red states too!"

This part is new:
"Actually, it's not completely unprecedented. This is basically what the right wing did against the EPIC campaign," says CLCV So Cal Political Czar, David Allgood.

"EPIC?" screech I. "What's EPIC?"

Okay, so then he reminds me: EPIC: Upton Sinclair's radical comprehensive plan to End Poverty in California, upon which he built his race for Governor in 1933.

A modicum of insufficient internet research (found some USC grad's Ph.D. fascinating thesis called Going Negative: the Smear Campaign Against Upton Sinclair) reveals both more and fewer parallels between the campaigns than even Allgood, no doubt paralyzed by temporary alcohol and nicotine withdrawal, contemplated:

True, cinematic genius and studio controller Louis B. Mayer played a key role in defeating Sinclair and electing conservative Republican Frank Merriam by creating and widely distributing several fake newsreels purporting to show the disastrous results if Upton Sinclair were elected Governor.

But a closer look at that 1933 election reveals even more similarity to this Presidential race. The real reason Sinclair seems to have lost was an unravelling of his own base, his own party. He was, it seems, successfully portrayed at least, as so far out of step with the mainstream FDR Democratic party that large factions defected every day on the campaign trail. Throughout the campaign, Merriam seems to have laid relatively low and allowed Sinclair's many detractors to bring him down.

The apparently wild success of Fahrenheit 9/11, especially among middle American possibly previously apolitical types, coupled with ever-amazing outcries from the Republican oldguard elite (former ambassadors and admirals come to mind), show that Bush is in deep deep doo doo. And, frankly, ala Merriam, who can blame Kerry for standing steady while his opponent sinks ever lower into the Michael Moore raked muck?

Let's just hope the result is the same: the radical (Bush) defeated.

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