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Count me among the people that consider Notorious B.I.G. one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. His rapping had a certain flow and authenticity to it that seemed damn near impossible to replicate and his assassination in 1997 was a real tragedy to popular music. All that being said Biggie was a straight up criminal. Before he made it big in music he provided for himself by dealing drugs, but he never really gave up the drug dealer lifestyle even when he got rich and famous.

After the second presidential debate, Chris Hayes of MSNBC brought up Biggie's song "The 10 Crack Commandments" in his assessment of Romney's performance. Namely Romney violated Biggie's "Never get high on your own supply" commandment by showing that he genuinely believed his own BS (and Hayes needed a TV-friendly way to say that). This was further reinforced by the election postmortems that revealed that Romney and Ryan were "unskewing" their own internal polling and genuinely thought they would win comfortably.

This analogy got me thinking, why stop at that one commandment? Why not have a little fun and take a look through all of Notorious B.I.G's suggestions on how to be a better crack dealer and apply that to presidential politics. We'll see how well each candidate adhered to the commandments and see if there's a correlation to who ultimately won the election. If Obama wins this, Biggie's song can serve as guidelines for successful campaigns to follow in the future. If Romney wins, he can rest assured that he'd make a pretty good drug dealer should he decide to take up that profession in his retirement.

What follows is my assessment of how well both the Obama and Romney campaigns followed Biggie's advice in the Ten Crack Commandments.

First off here is the song itself and its lyrics in all its unvarnished glory go ahead and give it a listen:


I been in this game for years, it made me a animal
It's rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual
A step by step booklet for you to get
your game on track, not your wig pushed back
Rule nombre uno: never let no one know
how much, dough you hold, cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy 'specially
if that man fucked up, get your ass stuck up
Number two: never let em know your next move
Don't you know Bad Boys move in silence or violence
Take it from your highness (uh-huh)
I done squeezed mad clips at these cats for they bricks and chips
Number three: never trust no-bo-dy
Your moms'll set that ass up, properly gassed up
Hoodie to mask up, shit, for that fast buck
she be layin in the bushes to light that ass up
Number four: know you heard this before
Never get high, on your own supply
Number five: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don't care if they want a ounce, tell em bounce
Number six: that god damn credit, dead it
You think a crackhead payin you back, shit forget it
Seven: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely seperated
Money and blood don't mix like two dicks and no bitch
Find yourself in serious shit
Number eight: never keep no weight on you
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too
Number nine shoulda been number one to me
If you ain't gettin bags stay the fuck from police (uh-huh)
If niggaz think you snitchin ain't tryin listen
They be sittin in your kitchen, waitin to start hittin
Number ten: a strong word called consignment
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain't got the clientele say hell no
Cause they gon want they money rain sleet hail snow
Follow these rules you'll have mad bread to break up
If not, twenty-four years, on the wake up
Slug hit your temple, watch your frame shake up
Caretaker did your makeup, when you pass
Your girl fucked my man Jake up, heard in three weeks
she sniffed a whole half of cake up
Heard she suck a good dick, and can hook a steak up
Gotta go gotta go, more pasta bake up, word up, uhh
Now to break it down one by one:
Rule nombre uno: never let no one know
how much, dough you hold, cause you know
The cheddar breed jealousy 'specially
if that man fucked up, get your ass stuck up
What's left our campaign finance laws kind of makes this rule difficult to follow strictly at least for the campaigns themselves. Even post-Citizens United campaigns are still required by law to report how much money they've raised and spent on a quarterly basis. However, the superPACs on both sides were much better at not only keeping mum on exactly how much money they had, but also who was underwriting them and what exactly all of the money was being used for.

There is another angle from which this commandment can be broken down although you would have to change the word "hold" to "held". Mitt Romney refused to make public his full tax returns prior to 2010 while Obama did. If you attack it from this angle Mitt Romney followed this commandment to the letter while Obama failed miserably. While politically this suggests that you have something to hide, legally you don't have to share your taxes with anyone but the government you pay taxes to.

Who followed this rule better: Romney

Number two: never let em know your next move
Don't you know Bad Boys move in silence or violence
Throughout his political career Mitt Romney was pretty damn good at following this. In fact I would say that his performance in the first debate exemplified this and caught Obama off-guard. He's always been one to change his political positions when it suited him and I thought he had some success in doing that.

There's another angle you can approach this one from with Romney though. During Mitt's "47 percent" tape he told those donors a great deal of things he would do as president that he didn't say publicly during the campaign. For example, on the Arab-Israeli conflict he admitted that he would kick the can down the road instead of trying to actually solve the problem.

As far as Obama's campaign goes I think they were much more predictable than Romney. There weren't any real surprises that emerged from his campaign and any secret promises he made to his big donors we're kept under wraps.

Who followed this rule better: Draw

Number three: never trust nobody
Well this one doesn't really apply to political campaigns. A successful campaign needs to be run by competent team of people and their trust in one another is essential for the whole operation to function. If you want a good example of this read the book or watch the movie "Game Change". One of the biggest problems the McCain campaign had in 2008 was that they couldn't trust Sarah Palin to stay on message (well other than the fact that she was in way over her head and it showed). Drug dealing on the other hand is more lonely and there is a much greater chance of people trying to double cross you. This one will get a pass.

Who followed this rule better: Not Applicable

Number four: know you heard this before
Never get high, on your own supply.
This is the one that's received the most discussion so I won't elaborate too deeply on this one. Romney did indeed get high on his own supply and seemed to believe the Fox News version of reality hook, line, and sinker. This was most apparent in that incredibly awkward exchange that he had with Obama in the second debate about when Obama called the attack in Libya a terrorist attack.

We didn't see much of this from Obama. Much like 2008, his 2012 campaign seemed pretty grounded in reality. In terms of governing though, I think we've seen him get high on the Republican supply a little too much especially by appointing people like Tim Geithner and Larry Summers, and re-upping Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman. Don't even get me started on him using Bowles-Simpson as the starting point in his negotiations with House Republicans on the debt ceiling fight and the current fiscal cliff talks...

Who followed this rule better: Obama

Number five: never sell no crack where you rest at
I don't care if they want a ounce, tell em bounce
For this one I'm going to equate selling crack with campaigning and fundraising. Obama is more guilty of this one than Romney is but that's because Obama rests at the White House, a political building for a political figure. We know that both candidates didn't campaign at their homes but I'm sure they were on the phone with their sugar daddies when they were at home. However, unlike a drug deal, donating to a campaign or a superpac doesn't require you to be within any kind of physical proximity of the candidate you support.

Who followed this rule better: Draw

Number six: that god damn credit, dead it
You think a crackhead payin you back, shit forget it
I had to do a little digging to find out the outstanding campaign debt that both Obama and Romney still hold. According to the most recent fundraising reports filed by both campaigns on October 17, the Obama campaign had 5.5 million dollars of debt while Romney had 3 million dollars of debt. The amount of money that both campaigns raised was more than enough to pay off those debts but I'm sure that there was far more debt accrued on both sides between 10/17 and election day.

It seems as though campaign debt is a much bigger problem for the losers of the presidential primaries than the eventual nominees because many of them can no longer effectively fundraise. The combined campaign debt for all of the losing candidates in this year's Republican primaries is about 7 million dollars. Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign still had several hundred thousand dollars of outstanding debt earlier this year. Hell even Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign still owes the city of Seattle $174,000 and he won the damn election.

So I guess this commandment is much more applicable to candidates when they are contesting the primaries. The less debt accrued in the primaries, the better, both for the winner and the losers.

Who followed this rule better: Romney (based on the 10/17 numbers)

Seven: this rule is so underrated
Keep your family and business completely separated
Obama has shown himself to be quite good at doing this. Barack and Michelle have been quite good at keeping the public eye focused entirely on them and not Sasha and Malia. It seems like they've tried to help them live as normal a life as possible in the White House. Michelle was quite involved in campaigning, but her image was very carefully managed. There were certain subjects that she would avoid at all costs when she was speaking.

That certainly wasn't the the Case with Mitt Romney and his family. All five of Mitt's sons were on the trail in earnest for their dad and Tagg Romney in particular was said to have wanted to punch the president in the face after the second debate. Ann Romney didn't campaign nearly as much as Michelle Obama did but that was because health issues forced her to keep a lighter schedule than everyone else.

Comparing the activities of their children is like comparing apples with oranges though. The Romney children are all grown up and have wives, children and jobs. The Obama girls are both in their early teens and are therefore aren't expected to do much of anything for their father's campaign. Also politics has been a family business for a long time from the old hereditary dynasties across the globe to the more modern elected families like the Kennedys and the Bushes.

Who followed this rule better: Obama

Number eight: never keep no weight on you
Them cats that squeeze your guns can hold jobs too
This is a tough one. Biggie is saying that you should never carry crack on your person unless absolutely necessary because you can get robbed/arrested and lose it all. However, in the context of presidential politics this can be interpreted as "Try not to seem like you're a typical politician even though you totally are." In my opinion both candidates didn't do too well with this commandment although Obama did do better than Romney.

There were very few times during the campaign where we actually saw Mitt Romney's real personality. During his on-the-record appearances you can tell he was choosing his words carefully and we saw the reason why that was the case. The times it seemed like he was speaking genuinely he came across as a rich, entitled, asshole. For example, offering to bet $10,000 during a primary debate or the whole 47 percent tape." There's a reason why Ann Romney had to give a speech at the Republican convention about how great a person Mitt was when the cameras are off. He could never be the person she described when the public was watching.

Obama on the other hand did better in this regard despite having an inherent disadvantage of being the incumbent seeking reelection. It's hard to be seen as not just a typical political hack when you're the big politician presiding over the status quo. Despite that, I think voters had a better sense of the type of person that Obama was and Obama had better favorable rankings throughout the campaign. Remember this picture?

We didn't see any pictures of Romney that conveyed the same effect.

Who followed this rule better: Obama

Number nine shoulda been number one to me
If you ain't gettin bags stay the fuck from police (uh-huh)
For this exercise I'm interpreting this one as "Don't get caught breaking the law." Romney scores high marks on this one and I believe the reason why is because of his flat out refusal to release his full tax returns for the past decade. If he was dodging taxes (legally or not) for the past decade that would be interpreted as doing something that is or should be illegal. Indecently both Biggie and Romney agree that this crack commandment is very strongly related to the first crack commandment.

Obama didn't fare too well in this one due to some of the things he's done as president but luckily for him, the electorate didn't really seem to care. He's kept Guantanamo Bay open, greatly expanded Bush-era drone strikes and indefinite detention, and has even had an American citizen abroad assassinated. All of these things are illegal under our Constitution and things that both the Bush and Obama administrations should be held accountable for.

Who followed this rule better: Romney

Number ten: a strong word called consignment
Strictly for live men, not for freshmen
If you ain't got the clientele say hell no
Cause they gon want they money rain sleet hail snow
I'm interpreting this as "don't make promises you can't keep." In the end we can only truly judge if the winner of the election keeps their campaign promises when they govern. We will never know if Mitt Romney would have followed through on all of the promises he made during his campaign because he lost the election. I do suspect the first promise a President Romney would have reneged on would have been labeling China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office because I think Mitt realizes that a trade war with China wouldn't benefit the interests of the people underwriting his campaign.

As for Obama, we'll have to wait and see. There are certainly promises from 2008 that he didn't keep during his first term like making genuine progress on climate change for example. I think that Obama was a bit more realistic in what he was promising this time around because he knew he would most likely have to deal with a Republican House instead of huge Democratic majorities in Congress following 2008. Ultimately as far as this one goes, we will have to wait and see.

Who followed this rule better: No way to truly judge both candidates equally.

So let's tally it up and come up with a final score:

Obama: 3
Romney: 3
Draw: 2
N/A: 2
Oh boy! A tie, much like the majority of the pundit class was predicting. Granted, one of the Romney wins can flip to Obama if new fundraising data proves otherwise. But still, this was closer than I expected. Perhaps this can be a winning set of guidelines for future campaigns AND Mitt Romney can be a reasonably successful crack dealer simultaneously! I'll leave you with this: IF either Mr. Romney or President Obama want to take up drug dealing in their retirement, I'd tell them not to sell crack. Crystal meth seems to be more popular these days.

(I don't know the exact rule regarding this but just to be safe: Full Disclosure: I worked in an unpaid position for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008)

Poll

Should Mitt Romney pursue a new career in drug dealing?

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