Monday, July 25, 2005

The Kingmaker and kingmakers

The Kingmaker has often been part of the political process since the beginning of time. A kingmaker refers to a group or an individual who is not a viable candidate but has the ability to influence the outcome of a political succession. The country is replete with Kingmakers and would-be kingmakers. But what makes a kingmaker a kingmaker. Well he supposedly has to have some sort of power. And power can be divided into three. Politics Means influence on the body politic. This can be control over people voting in the legislature. One of the more overt kingmakers is this and is personified by Japanese politician Kakuei Tanaka, who despite the political scandals hounding him was able to control a sizable bloc of legislators in the Japanese Diet, in effect having a stranglehold on the Prime Minister, without occupying a position in the Prime Minister's cabinet. Influence over the vote or perception of the masses. Religious groups, certain inviduals, the media and other instititutions can shape the succession. Religious groups and individuals can make stands against or for someone. Media can balloon or emasculate stories to the benefit or advantage of a politician. This can also mean influence or control over the poltical leaders of the land as well as control of the beaurocracy. Support of the incumbent leader can influence the political succession. At the incumbent's disposal is the strength and power of the government. And he or she can dispense this to suit their agenda. Monetary Money of course is the fuel that powers of the political war machines. In England there was a chap named Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick. Through marriage, skill and good fortune Neville was able to accumulate a great amount of wealth. Aside from the royal family he was the richest man in England. And through his wealth and power he was able to depose and support candidates to the throne. He was also known as Warwick the Kingmaker. Wealth alone was not enough but because of his wealth he was able to maintain a standing army, which he used often in the War of the Roses. In modern times wealth is being used not much to support standing army but to finance campaigns and the political machinery. Adolf Hitler would not have become Fuerher is he did not have the support of Germany's Industrialists. Big Bussiness is still doing it but the most succesful efforts are those that are not seen. Arms In the old days power it said came out of the barrel of a gun. The military establishment has often played a crucial role in the deposing and ascendancy of a king or a leader. Roman Emperors were supported or deposed by the Roman legions, or more directly the Praetorian Guards. Julius Ceasar became master of Rome when crossed the Rubicon with his troops. Fidel Castro and Mao Zedong came to power through the use of arms. It must be remembered though that the use of arms can be explicit or implied. One of the groups that supported Hitler's rise to power was Germany's military establishment, the Wehrmarcht. Hitler had to prove himself loyal to the German military. Part of their deal was the marginalization of the Nazi Party's SA or Storm Troopers. Shortly after Hitler came to power the top echelon of the SA were rounded up, charged and executed. The bulk of SA were then assimilated to Wehrmarcht. It was also called the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi members who were calling for a socialist revolution were also liquidated, along with political enemies of the past. In the end though the Kingmakers find themselves with an individual or a group they could not control. Warwick was consumed by the War of the Roses. The German Army fell to Hitler's madness. It would seem that it is the industrialists who survive but did they? How did the industrialists fare when the faction they backed came into power. In the case of Left-wing idealogues and supporters, one has just to take a look at Russia and Cuba to see the repression and redistribution of wealth that followed these so-called revolution for the masses. In our society a present are several kingmakers. They use money and political power to shore up their position and attack their opponents. Rallies fueled by money, loyalty, fanaticism and gullability are used ad naseum. News are sensationalised and even polls of what seem to be insignificant sample size are used to condition the mind. So at this point who is winning? Are any of the kingmakers' winning? The Kingmaker Scenario Or are we overlooking another type of kingmaker. The spoiler in a kingmaker scenario. This player is often seen in an endgame situation. A losing player who is unable to win but has the capability to determine which among the other players will win. She may make decisions to favor a player who kinder to her during the early part of the political game.


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