Monday, September 20, 2004

More of the Same 

The previous note about elections parallels my reading -- a lengthy biography of Alexander Hamilton. Aaron Burr, it turns out, was the first effective campaign manager in New York City. He routed Hamilton's Federalists in state assembly elections through appealing to target segments and by breaking down a campaign into a logical exercise.

Hamilton, on the other hand, was a brilliant polemicist who answered every charge with more in return. He was a maker of noise and often, a successful one. In his defense, the Republicans, led by Jefferson and Madison, made as many irresponsible charges as Rush Limbaugh. They were shameless in their accusations, many of which they made up in their prolonged paranoia over Hamilton and his push for a strong Presidency.

The early years of the United States saw more vitriol than at any other time in American History except the Civil War. Indeed, both sides thought a civil war was about to occur.

Modern campaigning with its hellish noise and corrupted messaging has a precedent.


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