Fooling Voters: There’s no school like the old school

Cicero won his consulship much like politicians today win their own posts. (from image by Glauco92)

Sadly, it doesn’t look like things have changed much with democracy in 2000 years. Even if you never read the book itself, read this review by the Wall Street Journal about the advice Cicero’s brother gave him on winning his election to Roman Consul, and see if it doesn’t strike you as depressingly applicable today…

Book Review: How to Win an Election –

8 thoughts on “Fooling Voters: There’s no school like the old school

  1. The more things change the more they stay the same! Keeping in with those who count is one of the keys to electoral success. An elderly man, now 87, but mentally alert – a friend of mine too – who has been a political campaigner for all of his adult life for the major party in the current Irish government told me this story: He had been at a well-attended funeral for a person who was from the same political stable. The local elected representative from that political party also attended, but he wasn’t as well-acquainted with some of his own supporters as he needed to be. The elderly supporter was and as he left the graveyard having spoken to his elected representative he greeted many of those whom he knew well. The elected representative followed in his wake taking note to whom his supporter spoke and he did likewise, speaking to them in a hail-fellow-well-met fashion and familiar manner. Those people he greeted would not have beern aware of what was happening and were impressed that their elected representative had remembered their names and a public relations coup went off without a hitch. Sad, but true!

  2. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    (Ecclesiastes 1:9 RSV) What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.
    (Ecclesiastes 1:10 RSV) Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us.
    (Ecclesiastes 1:11 RSV) There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen among those who come after.

    But this is one of those occasional historical stealth bombers that get under the radar of Solomon’s general rule. If I didn’t already have too many unread books piled up, I’d buy this. And I may yet.

  3. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Michael O’B. and everyone else (I believe) should enjoy this story. It’s supposed to be true, but I don’t remember the facts precisely – only that a British reporter (female) and a British political candidate (male) were involved. I believe he was an MP candidate, but I could be “misremembering”. 🙂 The punchline I do remember exactly, word for word.

    Reporter: Mr. Blank, did you succeed in attaining your objectives?
    Candidate: I won the election, if that’s what you mean by success.

    Nothing quite like British humor, is there? 😀

  4. John Wheeler, You are absolutely right -British humour is certainly unique and enjoyable. Thank you for that story.

    I should have added that the politician mentioned in my comment is now a Junior Minister in the current Irish government, but the elderly man has been disillusioned with him for a number of years and was less than impressed with his behaviour at the funeral.

  5. Well, that book is a pretty strong argument for the genuineness of Roman democracy, or the corruption of ours. If correct as an analogy, it places America in the last generation of its Republic. That seems suitably ominous.

  6. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Yes, it does. And I forgot to tell another zinger, in a recent edition of the Shoe comic strip:

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me.
    Fool me three times… I’m a voter.

  7. John Wheeler, fool me three times and them some . . . . oh! . . . . for so many years, but eventually I got to know better. Worldly politics . . . . the realm of knaves and fools!

  8. John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav)

    Don’t vote, it only encourages them. – Robert A. Heinlein, through the lips of his character Lazarus Long

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