Jigsaw Politics

« October 2007 »

Memo to Larry Craig: YOU ARE, SOMEHOW, NOT DUMB.

But the rest of you are. Or, at the very least, you're being taken advantage of. To a certain extent, it's not your fault. You can't possibly have all the pieces.

Larry Craig has become the premier example of what I'm starting to think of as Jigsaw Politics. The idea behind Jigsaw Politics is to take advantage of the increasing complexity of life in America by ensuring that a critical mass of the population never has enough pieces of the puzzle to know what's actually going on.

The irony of the whole thing is that it's actually easier than it's ever been before for people to get pieces of the puzzle. Forty years ago, there were only three TV networks, news was only on a few hours of the day, there was no Internet, newspapers lacked infographics, talk radio was barely extant.

In those days, people got, oh, let's say fifty pieces. But it was of a seventy-five piece puzzle. These days, people get hundreds of pieces, but the puzzle itself has thousands. Everybody makes a picture out of the pieces they've got, but like the blind men feeling up the elephant, most people just think they've got a thick, wrinkly schlong. And when we think we've got the whole picture, we stop collecting pieces. And that's the key to Jigsaw Politics.

Which brings us to Larry Craig, and the ultimate instance of Jigsaw Politics. Because, as we all know by now, Craig got caught trying to get a guy to blow him. At the height of the controversy, he said he'd resign because he got caught. Then he said he might resign. Then he said he'd resign if he couldn't withdraw his guilty plea. And then he said he wasn't going to resign, even though he couldn't withdraw his guilty plea.

When he announced his resignation (actually his "intent to resign"), that completed a very familiar picture for the general population. Anti-gay Republican gets caught trying to get blown by a dude, resigns in disgrace. And since this picture seemed complete, and people stopped paying attention.

I guaranfuckingtee you if you polled the public right now, over half the population would tell you that Larry Craig left the Senate a month ago when he announced his intent to resign. Another quarter would tell you that he stepped down like he said he would after his guilty plea was upheld. And that's not even counting the people who never knew who Larry Craig was in the first place.

So Craig gets to stay in the Senate, and there isn't a huge outcry because, well, most people think he already left. It's the ultimate extension of the way politica has been going for a decade. The President says we'll do whatever it takes to rebuild New Orleans, and hey, we can put the picture away, comfortable in the knowledge that it will be taken care of. And hey, for all we know, it already has.

The worst part is, given how well it worked, the fake resignation could actually become a vital tool in American politics. I bet Tom Delay is fucking kicking himself for not thinking of it. Same with Alberto Gonzalez. Why go though the hassle of weathering the political storm for months and months? Why let the question of whether or not you're going to resign linger like a dark cloud over your office? Just say you're going to resign, then never leave. That'll keep you out of the news long enough for people to stop accumulating bits of your particular puzzle and just treat what they THINK happened as what actually happened.

It's so crazy, it just might work... again.