“Make Me Do Right or Make Me Do Wrong, I’m Your Puppet”

Nicholas Chiaroscuro is one of the most important men in American politics.  Not that he is a politician.  Mr. Chiaroscuro does not aspire to the lofty position of political puppets whose only qualifications are an insipid face, a case of hair spray, and an infinite capacity for self-gratification.  Chiaroscuro looks upon such creatures much as an experienced coach regards the brainless meat machines that are, alas, indispensable to the game he loves.

Like his rival, the late Karl Rogue, Nick Chiaroscuro was a protégé of the legendary Grant Blackpool, who pioneered the new science of hardball politicking.  Blackpool was as wily and as mean as a snake, and, if Nick inherited his wiliness, Rogue got the meanness.  “Why waste time being clever,” Karl used to ask, “when an anonymous slander or blackmail threat can get the job done just as well?”

Nick is just the opposite and views electioneering as an art in itself.  Results are only secondary.  He is like the professional gambler who will never win honestly—a sucker’s game—so long as he can cheat.  It is a question of pride.  He devised an approach to campaign commercials that he described as “subtextualizing.”  Friendly critics called the method “subliminal implants.”  His legion of enemies preferred “voodoo.”  As the names...

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