Thursday, October 18, 2007

How Much Attention Needs To Be Paid To An Unethical Political Trickster and His Dirty Tricks?

Those of us who understand both the history and day-to day workings of political campaigns can't help but chuckle a little when we see a modern-day political trickster named Dennis Lennox using modern tools to play nasty tricks on some of our Democratic friends.

Some of us know the history of Dick Tuck a political operative of questionable ethics who devised what were in his time some clever political strategies that confused and confounded the opposition because they were unaware of his goals. Some of what Dick Tuck did was unethical and perhaps bordering on illegal, but Tuck was unique and clever.

Today here in Mount Pleasant right in the hallowed halls of Central Michigan University we have a clever young man who is employing an old strategy with some high tech tactics that is confounding university officials, our local prosecutor, students and others, but he is not fooling everyone, thank goodness.

The young man in question is allegedly a junior student at CMU named Dennis Lennox. We do know he travels a bit and has an unknown source of funds or means of support. He knows quite a bit about video techniques, how to use his skills to embarrass people in front of his camera, and how to get them posted on the Internet. He also knows how to manipulate the media a bit and he is regularly being underestimated, just like Dick Tuck and Karl Rove.

One can only conjecture that he may be a good chess player as well, because Dennis is always thinking two steps ahead of the people he confronts. And he knows it and often laughs when others think his laughter comes at inappropriate times. But he may be chuckling at how well his dirty tricks are working. He has a level of awareness of political trickery that most Michiganders are not used to. Nasty politics is well known in many, if not most parts of Michigan, but here in Michigan's heartland, politics are still a bit on the naive level. There are many Democrats and Republicans in our area who still shake hands with each other and believe that the national Republican party couldn't possibly be as sinister and corrupt as some folks are saying.

Young Dennis may think he is onto something new, but the tricks he is pulling are not unique at all, in fact there is some evidence to indicate that Republican dirty tricks and worse are going on in many places in our country right now. Is Dennis just one of many politically dedicated young ideologues who have been trained and paid for by some right wing group? Or is he just a clever young man copying what Dick Tuck did many years ago with some new technology? There is so much we don't know.

What we do know is that what Dennis is doing is not ethical in the way most experts understand ethics today. Is it illegal? Well, it certainly confuses our current local prosecutor who just happens to be a Republican. Of course, many things confuse him. He can't figure out, or maybe, doesn't want to figure out. what Dennis is doing is illegal.

There is also that crazy little thing called the First Amendment that needs to be dealt with and because some excellent teachers taught him at CMU about that marvel of American justice, Dennis fully understands how he can use it to his benefit.

So pardon me, if I just sit back and chuckle a bit more about a young Karl Rove wannabe as I watch him practice his craft. The kid knows stuff. Not as much as he thinks he does though.

If anyone is interested I learned a few things about how to deal with the people named Dick and Dennis, but I am not sharing those secrets cheap except to smart Democrats I like and whose values I share.

Do we have to stoop to their level of ethics? No.

Can we ignore Dennis Lennox? That may not be wise.

Is it smart to get mad at Dennis? No, provoking is part of his strategy.

So what do we do? Learn more about political strategy and tactics and what is legal, ethical and the best way to deal with politics we don't understand. Politics and campaigning is not rocket science but it does have a body of knowledge that may be helpful to understand.

So what are dirty tricks? Wikipedia has a good definition and some wisdom about political dirty tricks. If you want to know more you may wish to check it out here.

And who was Dick Tuck? Again Wikipedia is helpful right here.

Is Dennis getting much attention? Yes, too much.

In the local campus paper see here.

In the Detroit News see here.

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