Back in the 1960s, I read a book by writer Leonard Wibberly, The Mouse That Roared, part of his trilogy about the tiny duchy of Grand Fenwick, a nation which schemed occasionally – to put it bluntly – to con money of her richer brethren among the nations of the world.

In The Mouse That Roared, great umbrage is taken because a California winemaker has pretended to produce wine that is actually from Grand Fenwick. This can not stand, and so war must be declared.

The fact that they have not bothered to keep up militarily with the rest of the world does not deter them, and so, in short order, a longboat (ask a relative who has been in the Navy about these – or a historian) filled with men adorned with weaponry Richard the Lionhearted might well have recognized is on its way to New York City.

What these stalwart Grand Fenwickickians don’t realize, however, is that they haven’t been sent to conquer the United States at all; they have been sent specifically to lose the war.

The United States, you see, has a proud history of extending what is known as foreign aid to those nations which we have vanquished in wartime, to rebuild them. Think of Germany or Japan after World War II.

Okay, yes, through a series of circumstances which only the mind of Leonard Wibberly (and perhaps Rod Serling) could arrange, the army of Grand Fenwick – who haven’t been let in on the fact that they have been sent to lose a war – end up not only winning, but capturing the most powerful weapon in the world, to boot.

I have been thinking about the nation of Grand Fenwick a lot lately, as likes of Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, and a few other members of the GOP pop up on a regular basis, pretending they might actually have a chance of winning the nomination of their party.

And, to be fair, probably more than a few Democrats fall into the Grand Fenwick camp as well. Men and women whose hearts really aren’t in the race, who can barely block a punch in the ring, or can barely dribble the ball.

They haven’t thrown their hat in the ring to win delegates – indeed, the thought of actually winning might make some of them stay home with the bedcovers tightly drawn over their heads – but are are in the race (or at the various Liberty! Freedom! Grits and Gravy! forums) simply to make sure that the Facebook crowd, the DVD purchasing crowd and the book buying crowd does not forget their names. Gigs on TV or radio shows also beckon.

Running for higher office, or even pretending like you are thinking about it, is a wonderful way to sell your next book, in which you can insult everybody in America who doesn’t see the world the same way that you do.

There is no shame losing a race anymore – unless you actually get the nomination, and then the hopes of the entire party are on your shoulders. That’s kind of scary. Best to simulate running, and get those quips out while the free air time is still available.

Oh, what am I saying? There will still be air time a plenty after your next book is written. Just make sure folks don’t take you too seriously- actually running for office takes an awful lot of time out of your day.


Quote of the Day

In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are the masters. – Paul Gauguin