Student Body Right

Hall of Fame Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi explains the ‘Power Sweep’

The Green Bay Packers of the ’60s ran the “Lombardi” or ‘”Power Sweep.”

The Washington Football Team (formerly known as a racist slur) ran the “Counter Trey.”

The University of Southern California (USC) ran a play called “Student Body Right,” most notoriously for halfback O.J. Simpson.

You know they’re going to run that play.

They know you know they’re gonna run that play.

They run the play again and again because you don’t stop it.

They’re going to run that play until you do.

The GOP approach to politics is as a death struggle to possess total power and they don’t give a fuck how they do it.

From a purely Machiavellian perspective, the Republican strategy of taking the opposition’s greatest strength (usually their character and/or ideals) and dragging them down into the mud, the blood and the beer has been a winning strategy for decades.

One of the first candidates in my memory to fall to this strategy was Senator Gary Hart of  Colorado, who in 1987 was pretty much the presumed Democratic nominee for the 1988 election, although he was a bit of an enigma.

Tom Fiedler, once political reporter (and executive editor) of the Miami Herald , now dean of Boston University’s College of Communications, said, “Candidates were picked by party bosses, and it was their responsibility to evaluate character and check for scandals. The press thought the only thing it should be doing was following the candidates, reporting what they were saying and doing. Once candidates started being chosen by voters in primaries, the press had to change the way it operated. If the press didn’t ask these kind of questions, who would? The voters needed a way to test the abilities and the character of the candidates.”

For Hart, character became a major question even before rumors of him running around began to surface. He had changed his name from Hartpence around the time he entered the political world and he had gone from being a Christian fundamentalist to a more mainstream Presbyterian. As his star rose in the political firmament, he began to fall under closer scrutiny, especially considering he was hanging in the notorious world of Miami in the mid-’80s. Think the drug- and sex-fueled world of Miami Vice.

“And now you had him running around and involved with the crowd on Turnberry Isle, which in the 1980s was a dangerous place where you would find drugs and fast women and fast men,” Fiedler said. “What is a presidential candidate doing hanging around there?…“I don’t think the story was about his sex life. It was really a test of Gary Hart’s authenticity. It went to the heart of his credibility: Who was he?”

Turns out he was a guy of incredible hubris who, in response to questions about rumors of infidelity, inexplicably told reporters to follow him around and watch who he hung with and where he went. It was the political equivalent of taking out a hit on himself, because the infamous image of Donna Rice sitting on his lap was taken before he told reporters to stalk him. When that photo surfaced it was if Hart dared the media to catch him doing something, and they did.

The whole episode most likely was an epic ratfucking engineered by Republican operative Lee Atwater to sink Hart and pave the way for the eminently beatable Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis to secure the Democratic nomination. 

Dukakis was defeated in the 1988 election by Vice President George H.W. Bush largely on the strength of the blatantly racist ‘‘Willie Horton “ ad created by Lee Atwater. Atwater, along with his partners Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, were a notorious team of Republican dirty tricksters who honed their trade under Richard Nixon.

A couple of years later Atwater was dying of inoperable brain cancer, and his pending mortality moved him to make rounds of phone calls confessing his sins and trying to make amends.

He can burn in Hell because the bastard wrote the GOP playbook, and they use it to this day. 

When power-struck intern Monica Lewinsky acted like a groupie with President Bill Clinton, it most likely would have been another lurid chapter in the history of executive branch scoundrels and scandals that goes back to the days of Thomas Jefferson. There would have been asides and snickers to go along with the stories of Cleveland, Harding, FDR and JFK: powerful men who abused their power, for as Henry Kissinger once said, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Lewinsky really thought her rock star would sweep her off her feet and not just under his desk. Commiserating with a “girlfriend,” Linda Tripp, Ms. Lewinsky gave the details of her unrequited love. Ms. Tripp promptly sold her pal out to conservative literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, who passed on the info to the lawyers for Paula Jones.

Ironically, Clinton was more popular after impeachment, but was nonetheless held at arm’s length by the Gore campaign, and we all know how that turned out. No one wanted to drink a beer with Al Gore.

John Kerry was a bona fide war hero AND anti-war protester. When he accepted the Democratic nomination for the 2004 presidential election he said he was “Reporting for duty!” He was a senator, he was rich, and after he married Teresa Heinz of the Heinz 57, he was rich AF.

Good luck catching the guy stepping out on his woman. So the GOP straight up lied about his service and turned his greatest asset into a liability, and did it so well the method became known as ‘Swift boating.’ Which is not to be confused with “Borking,” which is when the truth is told about someone and that sinks their nomination… unless you’re Brett Kavanaugh.

John Edwards? Nah. He did it.

Barack Obama was the embodiment of the American Dream. I remember sharing a New York Times article with my then fiancée, Francel, about this guy who had just been named president of the Harvard Law Review. Years later, on the night he was elected, I told my mother-in-law, Maggie Belle, we had a new president and he was a Black man. I used to talk to her very often, but it was rare for her to respond because she had Alzheimer’s and dementia, but that night I saw the spark come into her eyes and she said, “I never thought I’d live to see the day… oh, but I fear for his life,” and then she was gone, back into the depths of her consciousness.

Suddenly I realized the lie I thought I’d been telling my kids was actually the truth. “You could grow up to be President.”

Outside my house that night there were people dancing in the intersection at 13th and Fairmount Streets, NW. 

That didn’t last because it couldn’t be true. No way this guy for real. He couldn’t just  be an above average Black man because no nigger is that good. He was a foreigner, an imposter, a sleeper agent put in place to destroy America. Donald Trump, whose only true personal accomplishment in life was being the fastest sperm in a load his old man dropped in 1945, led the charge to prove Obama wasn’t a real person.

“Show us your birth certificate! Prove to us YOU ARE AN AMERICAN!!”

“Wait, that’s not a long form birth certificate.”

LBJ knew what he was talking about when he said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” And if you give him someone to blame he’ll lick your pecker and diddle your bung hole!* 

*There is no record of LBJ actually saying that, but I bet he would agree!

Trump peddled that conspiracy theory, and the media ran with the birth certificate “scandal” without demanding proof from Trump, but instead insisted Obama “settle the issue.” Trump skillfully played the media while he successfully delegitimized the first Black president and rode a wave of white racial resentment into the White House. 

Hillary Clinton was marked for death the second she said she wasn’t about staying home and baking cookies, 

One of the most accomplished people (period) of the 20th and 21st Centuries, Hillary Clinton was probably the most qualified person to ever run for president, but was condemned by the GOP party of “Family Values” for not divorcing her spouse (see above), but instead salvaging her marriage.

She’s been accused of everything from drinking babies’ blood in Satanic rituals (AFTER raping them and eating their flesh!) to leaving a trail of the bodies of dozens of political rivals. One of the consistent complaints I heard about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign was, “I just can’t trust that bitch.”  That sentiment came from Black, white, male, female, left and right. Emails, huh? 

“Russia, if you’re listening…”

One thing about Joe Biden the field of primary candidates and the GOP underestimated was that he had no need to introduce himself to the BASE of the Democratic Party. Black people KNOW Uncle Joe. The Church ladies know he was Obama’s confidant and wingman.

We know about the 1994 Crime Bill; we also know you can’t lay all that on Biden. Those of us of a certain age know the way the GOP took every non-punitive aspect out of that legislation in return for the assault weapon ban. “Midnight Basketball? That’s a laughably ridiculous piece of pork!”

Everyone knows “Uncle Joe” Biden, the avuncular, affable, plain-spoken guy who is not afraid to show empathy toward folks in distress, because if there is one thing he knows, it is the pain of personal loss. It’s not so much Biden wears his heart on his sleeve; it’s that he has a heart.

Enter the GOP version of “Creepy Uncle Joe” in the age of #MeToo. “Let’s turn Biden into a ‘Perv’ who touches women inappropriately, sniffs hair and kisses girls on top of their heads.”

Matthew Yglesias wrote in Vox:

“The allegation isn’t that he has dark secrets, but that the stuff we’ve seen on camera and laughed off should be taken seriously as making public life hostile to women. Critics fear this will bring to life their long-held nightmare of #MeToo overreach, in which the idea of long-public behavior by a well-known and well-liked Democrat is suddenly unfairly castigated.” 

The first accusers and their assertions flickered out as even they said Biden hadn’t done anything sexual or criminal, but had made them uncomfortable. Biden owned up to being a touchy- feely kind of guy and said he was more aware and would calibrate his behavior.

Frustrated people on the  right began calling Biden “Teflon Joe” as all their efforts to tarnish him fell by the wayside. Everything about Joe Biden was already out there, and the frustration became more acute when they tried to use Biden to troll the #MeToo movement (Believe ALL Women) after Tara Reade  became their latest weapon.

However, the intense scrutiny flamed out quickly, and they had to fall back to all the previous tropes about Biden’s “cognitive decline.”

By mid-July that issue had pretty much fizzled as Trump declared he had “aced a cognitive test” by rattling off “person, woman, man, camera, TV.” 

Joe Biden, who was a pretty good football player in his youth, crashed into the offensive backfield and stuffed the play.

He stopped “Student Body Right.”

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