Yob: “The antithesis of what a good boy should be – rude, obnoxious, violent and stupid. …” Urban Dictionary.
Missouri Governor wannabe, the hitherto impeccably clean-cut, former Rhodes Scholar, Republican Eric Greitens, is evidently inspired by the head of his party ticket, Donald Trump. His campaign philosophy seems to be “go big, go loud, and to hell with facts.”
First, he released an ad that showed him blowing up “politics as usual” with a military-style assault weapon. His campaign has now followed up that opus with a fund-raising stunt offering campaign contributors bumper stickers that read “ISIS hunting permit 2016” for a $10 donation, and “stickers signed by a former Navy SEAL who claims he killed Osama bin Laden” for $100. So only two steps into the campaign and you’ve got all the elements of a fourteen year old boy’s wet dream: guns, explosions, intellectually lazy but very macho slogans. Just the ticket for the Missouri GOP base.
Like Trump, whose addiction to hyperbole and spectacle we suspect to be overcompensation for his very minimal gifts (not to mention his small hands), Greitens may be overcompensating for rumors about his earlier, more moderate leanings, and what seemed to be a brief flirtation with the Democratic party before he woke to the realities that govern political success in Missouri. And one has to admit that he’s a quick study. He got his head around the fact that real issues don’t matter; the show’s the thing.
The Greitens approach can be summed up by the comments of British big-money man and Brexit campaign funder, Arron Banks, who described the Brexit effort as an “an American-style media approach”:
What they said early on was ‘facts don’t work’ and that’s it. The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally. It’s the Trump success.
So Greitens doesn’t have to explain away his early shopping spree, looking for just the right dress-for-success political party to wear to an election in Missouri. Nor does he have to explain how a man with little political or managerial experience will run an entity that rivals most corporations in its complexity. All he has to do is go after a few easy targets – like political corruption – although not the type of corruption that comes in the form of unlimited campaign donations such as those from the out-of-state donors who have done very well for Greitens.
Greitens is out to win and his campaign makes it clear that he doesn’t care how he does it. Shoot, he was a Navy SEAL – even though many of his former SEAL colleagues were “irritated that Greitens was riding ‘on our coattails of our valor’ without ever having commanded a SEAL platoon” – and, for bonus points, he doesn’t just play with guns, he plays with big, positively yuuuge guns, and, he implies, he’ll not scruple to use ’em to kill those hordes of Muslim terrorists lurking at Missouri’s borders. What he’d do otherwise to make Missourians’ life better doesn’t matter, at least not with the voters who matter to Greitens.