Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

Back to main blog

RSS thingy

Jane's Blogosphere: blogtrack for Natalie Solent.


( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

The Old Comrades:

November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 August 2007 October 2007 February 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 October 2009 January 2010 March 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 April 2011 June 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Friday, October 22, 2004
Operation Clark County and the Murchison Letter. I am sure someone must have suggested by now that Operation Clark County was actually a black op by Karl Rove. My regular correspondent ARC wrote to remind me of a Republican dirty trick of long ago:
In the hilarious and so-predictable collapse of operation Clark county, has anyone pointed out yet that if the Guardian staff had known their history they could have predicted the outcome. (O.K. they could also have predicted it with an atom of common sense or understanding of human nature, or just with a little less arrogance - but although we already knew they lacked those qualities, are intellectuals not supposed to be educated?)

Back in the 1890s [1888 - NS], a Republican who was more clever than scrupulous sent a letter to the British embassy in Washington. The letter purported to be from a British-born man, now resident in California, who wished to know how to cast his vote for presidential candidate so as best to aid his native land. In that more innocent age, the ambassador quite failed to smell a rat. After a very proper introduction about how her Majesty's government would be happy enough with either candidate, he suggested that perhaps Grover Cleveland (Democrat) would be marginally preferable for British interests. The Republican who sent the letter exploited this to good effect in the election and (probably not because of it) their candidate won.

It was Benjamin Harrison, and the letter was known to history as the Murchison Letter. Interestingly Harrison won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote. Although the Murchison Letter was an effective ploy, particularly with voters of Irish extraction, the issue that was probably decisive for the Republicans was their support for high tariffs. In those days the Democrats were the free trade party.

ARC made two more points. The first:

When Kipling asked Theodore Roosevelt how he would create public support for the massive naval expansion he planned, he replied, "out of you", explaining that Britain's large navy would have to be the 'threat' in public oratory. Kipling, who was far-sighted enough to see the need of American military involvement in the old world in the 20th century, took all this in good part - but then, he wasn't a Guardian reader.

Kipling himself tells the story in Something of Myself. One final point from ARC:
The phrase 'Guardian reader' occurs in 'The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy'; I remember wondering whether it was one of the British idioms they would have to translate for a transatlantic audience. If they didn't know what it meant then, I suspect they do now - in Clark county at least.