Thursday, August 21, 2008

“Over my cold, dead, political carcass”

The words stand out for some reason. It's not that the rhetoric of the cold and dead is anything unusual in politics. We had Charlton Heston's "cold, dead hands" a long time ago, which certainly wasn't the first time. This post at Think Progress is littered with tough talking politicians going after McCain on his stance on the 1922 Colorado River Compact. But the above quote stands out from the rest for me.

“Over my cold, dead, political carcass” -Bob Schaffer (R-CO)
The issue in question is not important to me. What I find interesting is the use of the word political. The connection between the abstract, elitist, withdrawn realm of the political and the corporeal. Strauss, among other philosophers, talks about the political realm as being separate; a concern for the elite. Schaffer has made it a physical divide; a sort of dualism. Maybe he could have said "over my cold, dead political soul." Turning the political into the secular religion; not too big of a leap for a Republican.

In this metaphor Schaffer has two bodies; his physical body and his political body. His legislative accomplishments, his career, are given a physicality. If he were to lose his bid for the U.S. Senate to Udall it would be, in a sense, an actual death. He will cease to exist in the political sense, and his "cold, dead, political carcass" will be powerless in its attempts to stop anything. If he runs for another office in the future it will be the attempted reincarnation of his political corporeality. Like Nixon's pheonix, rising from the ashes of his failed California gubernatorial bid to run again for the presidency.

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