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Sarasota News Leader January 11, 2013 Page 66 OPINION ognized leadership or discernible organiza- You got to be trained up to it or you're sure to fail. Suppose a man who knew nothing about tion." How do you herd cats? You don't. the grocery trade suddenly went into the busiHaving achieved their 2010 goals, Tea Party ness and tried to conduct it according to his activists wandered into the political sunset own ideas? Wouldn't he make a mess of it? He down the same road taken by their kindred might make a splurge of it, as long as his monpredecessors: the Mugwumps, Teddy Roos- ey lasted, but his store would soon be empty. evelt's Bull Moose Party, Charles Lindberg's It's just the same with a reformer. He hasn't America First and Strom Thurmond's Dixie- been brought up in the difficult business of crats — as well as by the more recent spoil- politics and he makes a mess of it every time." er presidential campaigns of George Wallace, (William L. Riorden, Plunkitt of Tammany Ralph Nader and Ross Perot. Hall, 1905. Reprint, New York: Signet ClasGeorge Washington Plunkitt (1842-1924), a sics, 1963) New York politician, sachem of the Tammany Hall political machine and skilled practitioner of the art of "honest graft," understood better than most the inability of reform movements to sustain themselves and their works over time. "The fact is," Plunkitt said, "a reformer can't last in politics. He can make a show for a while, but he always comes down like a rocket. Politics is as much a regular business as the grocery or dry-good or the drug business. In his sonnet, Shelley wrote of finding in a desolate, sand-swept desert a crumbled statue of an ancient king. The inscription on the plinth read, "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" Surrounded only by waste and decay, his works and memorial had long since been buried under the sand and forgotten, together with the name "Ozymandias" … and that of "Mugwumps" and soon that of "Tea Party" as well. ""The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn." — David Russell QUICK TIP For the best viewing experience on a computer click the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. icon in the

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