October 4th, 2006

Willie Nelson’s Covert Plan to Stop Rich Tarrant (And Joe Lieberman — And Pete Ricketts, Just For Good Measure)

by Philip Baruth

The Chronic Solution:
Willie Nelson’s Covert Plan to Save American Democracy

Let’s face facts: The much-celebrated McCain-Feingold campaign reforms have been a spectacular bust. How does VDB know this? Because we read the Rutland Herald religiously.

And the Herald reported a jaw-dropping statistic: “Tarrant’s largely self-funded campaign has prepared 25 separate advertisements that have run a combined 2,800 times since Jan. 1, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG.”

Think of it: 2,800 separate broadcasts in just nine months.

At that pace, Tarrant isn’t advertising at all — he’s making a decent bid to replace viewers’ actual lived reality with his own interlocking fictions, televised a minute at a time. And McCain-Feingold can’t do a damn thing about it.

Now faced with this sort of abject political failure, some proponents of campaign reform would fall into apathy, fatalism.

But not Willie Nelson.

What follows is a theory necessarily based on conjecture and sharp deductive reasoning, rather than fact. Still, VDB stands four-square behind it, as well as its obvious and far-reaching political ramifications.

But before we turn to hard-core theory, let’s briefly examine the so-called “stash” extracted from Nelson’s tour bus during a September 18 traffic stop (photo courtesy of The Smoking Gun):

willie nelson's stash

First of all, that’s an absolutely obese bag of weed. Seriously, no joke.

Now, granted, this hefty sak was designed to take Willie and the entire band to Vermont and back down South again — no small undertaking. But VDB would venture to say that half the marijuana exhibited here would have made the nut.

So why the overkill? Why take the risk? You don’t stay alive and out of jail as long as Nelson has by being stupid.

Ipso facto, the weed laid out on this hood had another, less obvious purpose. A higher purpose, if you will.

Second, note the ratio of shrooms to chronic here. Clearly, Nelson planned to pursue what the medical literature refers to as a “smoke up/smoke down” strategy, bracketing the mushroom experience with a more standard and familiar marijuana high.

But again, for Willie and the band, psychoactive mushrooms are themselves pretty comforting and familiar. “Smoke up/smoke down” is a defensive strategy pursued primarily by newbies — and here we begin to stumble onto the truth of Nelson’s visit to Vermont.

According to press reports, Nelson came to Vermont to raise money for Tarrant’s opponent, Bernie Sanders. But VDB has a source high up in the Louisiana Police Department — so high up he needs a sherpa and bottled oxygen. And this source claims what everyone else has denied: along with the stash, troopers searching Nelson’s bus found an itinerary scribbled in smudged eyebrow pencil.

In order the itinerary listed three names and addresses: Rich Tarrant of Vermont, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

And in the margin, underlined twice, were two unexplained words: “Mellow Out.

What do those names have in common? According to the Herald, Tarrant, Ricketts and Lieberman lead the nation in terms of commercial broadcasts this campaign season, though Tarrant easily outpaces the others. Ricketts has run 22 individual ads against Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, but then his name is synonymous with a severe vitamin D deficiency that causes the bones of impoverished children to weaken and break — so maybe he needs the help.

But Lieberman, for his part, has run 19 different campaign ads thus far, all in a desperate attempt to camouflage his support for the Bush team on Iraq. And that’s not just sad, it’s more than a bit suspicious as well.

Where does a man get the energy to attack so relentlessly, around the clock?

Fortunately, the pharmaceutical literature is clear on this point: no one can create 25 separate ads or air those attacks 2,800 times without significant chemical help — uppers, stimulants, it goes without saying.

And since meth production has been set back by recent disclosure regulations on cold remedies — and since Tarrant, Ricketts, and Lieberman are wealthy enough to go for the gold — grade-A pharmaceutical amphetamines seem like the culprit.

Maybe even authentic “black beauties” marketed to aging executives for the nostalgia factor. In any event, something potent enough to snap even Lieberman’s hound-dog eyes fully open.

VDB’s comprehensive theory, then? Nelson is a grass-roots progressive and a drug aficionado from way back, and he realized in a heartbeat that Tarrant and company had not only evaded McCain/Feingold, but had then leveraged that financial advantage with high-quality amphetamines — they had put some serious chemical shit into the game, as it were.

And so Nelson decided to neutralize both these advantages: first by fundraising for Bernie, and then — after the concert — buddying up to Tarrant just long enough to talk a little college basketball, smoke Rich up, smoke him down, and give all the rest of us in the state of Vermont some peace.

And of course once Tarrant had been mellowed out, then would come Ricketts, and finally Big Joe himself. Joe-mentum indeed.

angry Tarrant shillTo the chronic short-comings of McCain-Feingold, then, Willie Nelson set out to apply the Chronic Solution.

Additionally, VDB suspects that once Tarrant was really tripping balls on the mushrooms, Willie planned to screen Tarrant’s own infamous George Cuusella ad, for no other reason than to mess with the guy’s head.

But this last point, of course, is pure conjecture.

[This piece appeared first in The Vermont Guardian.]