Wish Upon A Star

WThe illusion of authenticity – Steve Kelley | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial Cartooniste are all to some degree a reflection of the nurturing environment that surrounds us, adopting views, ideas, even mannerisms of family, friends, public figures. Politicians occasionally portray some excesses in this regard, paraphrasing, sometimes plagiarizing, material from heroic figures.

Jiminy Cricket, the anthropomorphic figure from the Italian fable, originated from a Latin phrase about 1664 as a meme for Jesus Christ. Later, an original story — Adventures of Pinocchio — was authored by Carlo Collodi in 1883, depicting the creation of the marionette by Geppetto.

When Walt Disney adapted the story for film in 1940, Jiminy was the conscience for Pinocchio who exhibited naughty and haughty behavior, including breaking promises and lying. Such behavior, displayed by a figure controlled from above (the definition of marionette), resulted in its nose growing four times its size.

In song, When You Wish Upon A Star, Jiminy seeks to persuade Pinocchio to reform and follow a more productive path. That appeal is couched in the opening lyrics, When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are.

Four score years since 1940, a GOP candidate for delegate in Virginia (District 9) seems to have not only wished upon a star but hitched his success to the current celestial body – Donald Trump – functioning as the gravitational center and conscience of the national Republican party. Wren Williams has already tasted electoral success in winning the primary contest in the district. His wish to be a delegate has been prominently postulated on his efforts to support the former president.

Four score years since 1940, a GOP candidate for delegate in Virginia (District 9) seems to have not only wished upon a star but hitched his success to the current celestial body – Donald Trump – functioning as the gravitational center and conscience of the national Republican party. Wren Williams has already tasted electoral success in winning the primary contest in the district. His wish to be a delegate has been prominently postulated on his efforts to support the former president.

Williams’s campaign material boasts of that service in terms of personal commitment:

After the election, I packed my bags and left my law practice and family to serve as President Trump’s Deputy Legal Counsel in Wisconsin. It was a sacrifice I had to make for our American democracy and I’m continuing that fight in Virginia. This new ad tells not only my story, but the story of our shared frustrations at career politicians, elections ripe for fraud and abuse, and always being left behind.

The reality of this claim is very difficult to verify. An extensive online search of materials, including some court documents and newspaper stories related to the Wisconsin legal challenges, fails to produce any mention of a “deputy legal counsel” for Trump in the Badger State. In fact, the complaint filed in one Wisconsin federal court lists an Indiana law firm as counsel.

In his primary campaign, Williams proclaimed:

As President Donald J. Trump’s Deputy Legal Counsel in Wisconsin, I can say that there was absolutely voter fraud in the 2020 election. I personally handled over 220,000 fraudulent and illegal ballots and Mr. Poindexter is at odds with the facts. I stood with President Trump then and I will now. It’s unfortunate that my opponent won’t.

Wisconsinites cast 3.24 million votes in the 2020 election. Recently, state prosecutors dropped charges against 16 alleged voter fraud incidents of a total of 41 identified. The candidate’s length of service in Wisconsin is not specified but an assertion that he “personally handled over 220,000 fraudulent and illegal ballots” would challenge the physical and mental capacity of any mortal human even with unlimited time to conduct such review. While it may be the ordinary course for candidates to puff up their service and accomplishments, facts tend to get in the way along with a tad of closer reading comprehension.

For this reason, perhaps, when an opportunity to appear on a national media outlet, puffery is narrowed. On July 6, Williams appeared on CNN addressing the 2020 election, stating that “he believes President Joe Biden was duly elected because his victory was certified by Congress.” There is no admission that Biden’s popular and Electoral College majorities were the reason for victory. Williams parsed his concession by adding that Congress certified on the basis of state certifications, which “are not exactly wholly accurate.” This narrow phrasing is the current mantra of the GOP nationally.

For this reason, perhaps, when an opportunity to appear on a national media outlet, prior puffery tends to narrow. On July 6, Williams appeared on CNN addressing the 2020 election, stating that “he believes President Joe Biden was duly elected because his victory was certified by Congress.” There is no admission that Biden’s popular and Electoral College majorities were the reason for victory. Williams, then,  parsed his concession by adding that Congress certified on the basis of state certifications, which “are not exactly wholly accurate.” This redacted phraseology is the current mantra of the GOP nationally.

To his credit, Williams admitted to the interviewer that the 2020 challenges have created a problem. He stated, “Now I have this huge issue show up that basically people aren’t willing to trust the system. And I’m like, ‘Look, we need you to vote.’”  The voter turnout in Virginia may offer some insight into the candidate’s acknowledgment of unintended consequences. The GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in the Commonwealth has promoted his intentions to pursue integrity in the state’s electoral process and procedures, including an audit of voting machines. The “election integrity” plank is the euphemistic substitute for a stolen election.   The turnout in Virginia will, to a degree, inform with respect to unintended consequences and dog whistle messaging.

More importantly and specifically, the electorate in VA-09 has to determine the character of the delegate to represent the district. Constituents generally accept the aspirations of candidates overlain with puffery. At bottom, however, it makes a difference who the candidate is, even one who is starry-eyed in admiration. It’s not the candidate’s wish that persuades choices; authenticity and honesty are crucial.

 

 

 



Categories: elections, Issues, legislature, National, political discourse, political parties, politics, republicans, State

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