Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Tale of Puss-in-Boots

No one should be surprised by this, its basically the tale of Puss-in-Boots except there is no master, on Puss whisking around shouting "My Master, the Marquis of Carabas!"

And so it was that McCarron became baked in Washington's convection oven of credibility. You meet somebody, they introduce you to somebody else, and so on and so forth, until you've secured your future legitimacy among those you will meet, and improved your stock retrospectively among those you've already met. All you have to do is find a way in. And the new, digital Washington, Washington 2.0, is more porous and accessible than ever; no suit or tie required, no proof of degree or driver's license necessary. Glibness is currency enough—and McCarron, say those who worked with him, had that in spades. He could talk the talk, and in multiple Beltway dialects: digital ads, politics, foreign policy, you name it. In describing him, Kieloch invoked a phrase once used to describe the charisma of Steve Jobs, saying he created a "reality distortion field."
There is really nothing at all new about this--no one ever asked to see your actual, physical, degree or if they did you could buy one from someone else. "No suit or tie required?" What does that even mean? Those were cheap signs of membership even back in the day--people could even buy them, and wear them, deceptively!   People are always more authenticated and legitimized by people who know them vouching for them than by anything else.  And there has always been plenty of room for people on the make, at the fringes of power (that is, without an actual named position in government) to run their scams through networks of friends of friends.  This is no different from Ralph Reed and Abramoff's influence peddling or Madoff's confidence scam.  (It didn't last long enough to evolve into Abramoff but it could have gone in that direction given time). Madoff, especially, worked a version of the affinity con where you target people who think of themselves as belonging to your group--so did this kid--and where you seduce the victim into giving you his confidence, and giving you what you want rather than you actually asking for it.  Madoff, famously, pretended to refuse to acept new clients and let the victims do the work of persuading each other to join, or persuading him to let them in.


Ten Bears said...

There's a sucker, a rube, born every minute.

No fear, only contempt.

Carol Ann said...

No one flim flams cons like other cons

Victor said...

Ten Bears,
Nowaday's, it's more like several suckers born every second.