Conversations Frozen In Time: Movement Campaigns In Disarray

Together over the years we have discussed among ourselves the fundamental nature of political movements beginning on the Continent and their often unrecognized manifestations here. While this version of the Bunker captures some of it, STSOZ 1.0 probably has the more complete analysis. You can find it at the links above and search.

All of which is to say that we together have understood that political movements require amorphous natures and to survive must ignore formal organization (even when proffered for show). So it’s no surprise to see so many Rightist Movement campaigns stumble and flail – at least according to the considered professional judgments of political pundits unschooled in political philosophy and deploying the smirk certitude of assumed American participatory pluralism. Or the “Republican” professional campaign mercenaries.

We’ve had conversations with long time Movement operatives close to two such campaigns (no, we’re not including Newt). Long story short, you’ve probably already grokked the basics – new media ensures there are no confidences anymore, just delayed Tweets. In one case, a formerly high flying candidate rejected objectively sound advice and we’re told embraced a modern day Rasputin for final advice. Some of the instances shared with us sound unusually idiosyncratic. The candidate, however, remains in the game, continuing to send Movement dog whistles. It’s frankly hard to imagine when this candidate announced that a movement campaign in this environment would somehow subject itself to the discipline and boring work such as planning and budgeting. So, in that sense, everyone involved made their own beds.

A separate conversation involved a still leading campaign (currently struggling with a brutal news cycle). The ask was for contributions on themes heretofore ignored by the campaign. As typical in a Movement entity, despite the existence of a formal Vice President for X, Vice President for Y was seeking advisors and information about X to give to the candidate. It’s true that some duplication and rivalry is inevitable when a stunt campaign inexplicably finds itself forced to become (or at least pretend) the real thing. But the underlying process of ‘working towards the leader’ for favor and face time ignoring formal organizational tables is inherently a trait of ideological movement entities. So we weren’t surprised or put off. It’s just how these things roll.

There does seem to be a growing resignation that Romney will be the nominee among the professional Movement operatives. Much talk about how damaged Rubio is by implosion of his immigration mythos. Which gives the tattered remnants of the professional “Republican” class some relief. What they see in all of the above is a glimpse that the radical tide of 2001-2011 finally might be spent, and having reached its crest, begin to recede. Which poses the interesting question of who is the most out of touch?


  1. DrLeoStrauss says

    Compulsion to make everything horse race politics rendering Daily Show irrelevant. Newt being touted as ‘comeback’ on CNN and John King because in one poll he ‘surged’ from 3% to 10%.

  2. DrLeoStrauss says

    Agree with you – the tide isn’t going to recede anytime soon. That notion more wishful thinking and perhaps a conceit of D.C. ‘Republican’ mercenaries.

  3. Sam Lowry says

    “Which gives the tattered remnants of the professional “Republican” class some relief. What they see in all of the above is a glimpse that the radical tide of 2001-2011 finally might be spent, and having reached its crest, begin to recede.”

    If I’m reading this correctly, we may start witnessing positive developments in the overall scheme of things? Soooo….call off the long retreat? Or re-schedule it for 2016?

    It just seems hard to see how the radical tide recedes, though. (Although I’m sitting way out here in the cheap seats if you will.) Not that I wouldn’t welcome it. But just within my own circle of friends and family I’ve seen people who never really paid much attention to politics come to believe the most paranoid, ridiculous, delusional things over the past 3 years. I suppose that since those people were duped so easily into believing such nonsense by Fox “News” and talk radio that they can just as easily be lead to believe something else less radical. Re-patriating the wingnuts to the Reality Based Community doesn’t seem as lucrative an endeavor as creating the “conservative” alternate universe has been.

    So while I’m still resigned to some form of counter-intelligence police state future, complete with some variation of feudalism/plutonomy/oligarchy no matter which party is in power, it would be nice to see the Republican Party return to being a political organization instead of a counter-Enlightenment religious/cultural movement. That way at least we get to keep some vestiges of Western civilization around.

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