Bob Stannard: Don't get me Roger Stone
If you're reading this, odds are that at some point in your life you've had a splinter. A small piece of wood off that log you put into your fireplace peels off and jabs right into your finger. Ouch. If you're lucky you can get it out carefully with a pair of tweezers. If you're not so lucky the foreign object can remain in your body for a long time, and the consequences can be devastating. You can incur an infection, which if not treated, can wreak havoc.
Roger Stone was born August of 1952 and destined to become a splinter. In 1980 the "splinter" would pierce America and it would be decades before the country would be able to remove this deeply embedded foreign object. Along with Charles Black and the very guilty Paul Manafort, Stone started a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm. This was not just any lobbying firm. This may very well have been the dirtiest, most underhanded, sleaziest lobbying firm ever, and that's saying something.
Netflix has a documentary on the life of Roger Stone called "Get Me Roger Stone." You can learn about his well-deserved reputation as a "dirty trickster." What does that mean, exactly? It means that he will say or do anything to discredit an opponent; anything. He lies as easily as you breathe. He is arguably one of the least trustworthy people on the planet. He has worked on mostly Republican presidential campaigns going back to Richard Nixon; a president who resigned in disgrace to beat being impeached. Stone, who dons a tattoo of Nixon on his back, cut his teeth working for one of America's sleaziest presidents.
Over the years he worked hard to wiggle his way into presidential campaigns. The candidates were grateful to have a morally bankrupt master of disinformation working for them. It wasn't that he broke the law (although he may very well have), so much as he was willing to say anything about an opponent. In the 2016 presidential campaign, the media reported that Hillary Clinton was fatigued, weak and perhaps even had a stroke. Clinton's opponent, and now our current president, Donald Trump, took that message and ran with it. The totally fabricated story was the brainchild of Roger Stone.
On one level Stone could be seen as a genius. He has razor-sharp political instincts and knows exactly what he's doing when he's slaughtering another individual. Then again, Hitler was considered by many to be extremely intelligent. If you're driven only by winning and making money then the means justify the end. It matters not what you say or do as long as you win.
In the 1990s Stone worked for Donald Trump as his lobbyist for Trump's casino businesses. They've been friends and associates ever since. If the traits of Roger Stone sound familiar it's because they are. Donald Trump has prescribed to the Roger Stone school of sleaze for many years. If it takes empowering racists, bigots and the lunatic fringe and/or lying to win, then, by all means, do so. If it takes chanting a fabricated mantra, like "Build the Wall" then chant away. (NOTE: "the wall" was nothing more than a mnemonic for Trump to remember to talk about immigration).
Today the man who has become the infected and inflamed splinter of America over the past forty years may about to be removed. He's been indicted by Robert Mueller on seven counts. To use Stone's own words "It might be his time in the barrel". After a life of spreading lies, hate and fear it looks like we are about to be relieved of this infection; and we'll be much better off as a nation when he's gone.
Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Journal.
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