Thursday, April 5, 2012

Baltasar Gracian: thoughts on campaign tactics

The following is from Baltasar Gracian's The Art of Worldly Wisdom.


"Never the cheap rival. Every effort to outshine an opponent lowers the standing, for competition resorts at once to mudslinging, in order to besmirch. They are few who carry on war in fair fashion, for rivalry lays bare the flaws which courtesy has covered over: many lived in honor, as long as they had no emulators. The heat of combat calls up, and brings to life infamies long dead, and digs up stenches forgotten: competition starts with a manifesto of slander, and calls to its aid whatever it can, and not what it should, and when at times, nay mostly, insults prove not the arms of victory, these men find a vile satisfaction in their spite, and bandy it about with so much air, that the dust of forgetfulness is shaken from old scandals. Men of good will were ever men of peace, and men of honor, men of good will."

After observing the primaries, I wonder just how nasty the presidential election will be. No doubt the candidates will take the high ground while their supporters are busy slinging the mud.


  1. Oh it's definitely going to get ugly, Fred. No question about it. My question is thus: is this the best the Republicans can do? Is this their quality best?

    But there will be mud-slinging on both sides, as usual. Not that that's anything new, really. But these are very dangerous times and I can't help but wonder if a millionaire out of touch with reality is the best candidate money can buy. Maybe.

    I'm squarely in Obama's camp, but still I would love for it to be a good election.

  2. Yvette,

    I don't know of any Republicans who say there are better candidates around, so either these are the best or they refuse to criticize them.

    I don't think Romney is in touch with most Americans either, but he will get a lot of votes.

    I'm not as squarely in Obama's camp as I was four years ago, but I believe he is better than Romney.