The late Gore Vidal, interviewed by Playboy in 1969:
Politics today is big money. X can be stupid or a drunk or a religious maniac, but if he has the money for a major political career and enough political flair to make a good public impression, he will automatically attract to himself quite a number of political adventurers, some talented. With luck, he will become the nucleus of a political team that then creates his speeches, his positions, his deeds, if any Presidential hopefuls seldom do anything until, finally, X is entirely the team’s creation, manipulated… in much the same way that the queen bee is powerless in relation to the drones and workers.
And while we’re on the subject:
[O]nly in America do we pretend to worship the majority, reverently listening to the herd as it Gallups this way and that.
(I actually posted these quotes ten years ago, but Vidal’s perspicacity in these matters remains undiminished.)